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Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou is named after the beautiful, large stones found in its unique wine-growing terroir. This exceptional ecosystem produces fine, elegant, tasty wines, with a long finish – in short, archetypal Saint-Julien wines.
Perched on an exceptional site with incomparable views over the Gironde estuary, in the centre of a hundred-year-old park, Ducru-Beaucaillou is a majestic, Victorian-style castle, which has, over time, become one of the great symbols of the Médoc. Unusually for Bordeaux, it is built directly above the barrel cellars, enveloping its owners, who have lived here for over sixty years, in the sumptuous aromas of their wine.
Today, the estate is managed by the company Jean Eugène Borie SA, which is owned by Mrs Borie, her daughter Sabine Coiffe and her son Bruno-Eugène, CEO since 2003, the third generation of the Borie family to head the estate.
There are very close links between this estate and the five families who have been its successive owners.
The grapes are all harvested manually. They are sorted in the vines on mobile tables to avoid contact between unhealthy and healthy grapes during transport to the vat room.The vinification of each plot is done individually to optimise the choice of blends. Moreover, the fermentations are carried out separately and customized to take account of terroir, grape variety and vintage characteristics. We generally operate gentle extraction and keep the must at traditional temperatures with moderate lengths and frequencies of pumping-over.The press drains off continuously into barrels to facilitate the selection of the press-wine batches. Malolactic fermentation is managed in vats for optimal control.
The wine is barrelled in duly identified individual batches immediately after malolactic fermentation. Blending takes place during the first racking operation; for Ducru Beaucaillou, between 50 and 80% of new barrels are used according to the richness of the vintage. The barrels (225L Bordeaux barrels, French oak) are supplied by 5 carefully selected cooperages giving every guarantee. The wine is matured for 18 months in accordance with Medoc traditions for classified growths. Bottling is performed with special care in regard to both oenological controls and homogenisation of the overall batch. The 5 cork makers supplying the estate have signed a detailed and stringent quality charter.
BORDEAUX VINTAGE 2019
When I visited Bordeaux in early March, Corona was a threat on the horizon and France was more concerned about an air traffic control strike. However, I was traveling to Bordeaux and had the chance to get a first taste of the 2019 vintage. I was looking forward to the en primeur tastings which were scheduled for March 26, 2020 but the tastings were canceled mid-March . I immediately contacted the different associations and wineries in Bordeaux and asked for samples.
The result was a small number of wines that arrived in Essen before France's lockdown made shipping rather difficult. These first samples of the 2019 vintage were tasted in impeccable conditions to ensure a fair and equal evaluation of all qualities. In fact, the samples proved that the opinion of certain Bordeaux personalities was right. Bruno-Eugène Borie of Château Ducru-Beaucaillou sees 2019 in line with the excellent vintages of 2016, 2010, 2009 and 2005.
Henri Lurton talks about his best vintage, as well as 2016, that he has ever vinified at Château Brane-Cantenac. Philippe Dhalluin of Château Mouton-Rothschild believes that the vintage is rich and abundant in quality and also in quantity. After a few smaller harvests, they returned to average production.
Emmanuel Cruse of Château d’Issan sees that 2019 has a lot in common with 2016 while preserving more freshness. It is a very good vintage but appearing at a very difficult time on the market. In fact, the start of this vintage was very positive. Soils like chalk and clay retained enough precipitation during the winter. Vineyards on these water-retaining soils had a huge advantage in the future growing period. With the exception of a wet June, the vintage benefited from a rather dry climatic situation, which made it possible to largely avoid diseases in the vines. No chance for powdery or downy mildew. Even the heat waves did not really harm the vines as the rain set in, always at the last moment but always early enough to avoid massive water stress and a slowdown in maturity. The late physiological maturity brought a lot of alcohol, but the wines show more freshness than in previous years.
Fabien Teitgen, Winemaker from Smith-Haut-Lafitte, associates this freshness with the good acidity “due to the cool night temperatures during the ripening period”. This fact is also good news for white wines. “They are the big surprise,” confides Olivier Bernard of Domaine de Chevalier.
At Château Coutet de Barsac, Philippe and Aline Baly harvested in three passes totaling 19 days of harvest. They judge the conditions to be rather ideal: “These climatic conditions generated a harvest whose quality is undeniably present. » The same samples made their way to Essen and I tasted them. More samples are being announced and will hopefully arrive during the current week. There will be a weekly update of my tasting notes, whenever the samples arrive.
Unfortunately, 2019 is coming in a difficult time, the Corona virus is scaring the world and making business more and more difficult. Commercial bays and new customs duties create a difficult environment for this vintage. However, we must not forget one thing: magnificent 2019s await us, wines with aging potential and charm that will survive all crises.