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  • Country ranking ?

    910
  • Producer ranking ?

    17
  • Decanting time

    4h
  • When to drink

    2020-2035
  • Food Pairing

    Beef

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The Story

The wines of La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou come from the vineyard of Château Ducru-Beaucaillou. This exceptional Médoc terroir is situated between the Gironde River to the east, the centre and the west of the Saint-Julien appellation. The estate owes its name to its “beautiful pebbles” ("beaux cailloux", in French) which, because of their high quartz content, make for soils that are poor in plant nutrients. 

It is precisely this “agrological” paucity, as the late Bordeaux professor and geographer, René Pijassou, described it, that makes them so well-suited to the production of fine wine. In the east, the plots are planted along the rolling Médoc ridges, just above the estuary, while those at the epicentre benefit from a microclimate nurtured by the little La Mouline stream that meanders through the middle of the appellation from west to east before disappearing into the Gironde.

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Vintage 2019

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.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

Opaque purple with exuberant notes of crushed cassis, blackberries and bing cherries accompanied by exotic spices of liquorice, dark chocolate, all spice, and a hint of incense smoke. The full-bodied palate explodes with juicy and sweetly aromatic black fruits, framed by a backbone of finely grained, beautifully polished tannins, and lifted by a tantalizing freshness. The kirsch-cassis juice flavours lead to a long, graphite laced finish. Bold, energetic, and very refined.

 

Weather: mild winter/spring conditions prompted early budburst. Cooler temperatures in April and May delayed flowering, though a rise in
temperatures in mid-June resulted in a successful fruit set. Summer was hot, with temperatures higher-than-average from June 23 through to October giving small, concentrated berries. Late July brought welcomed rains, rejuvenated the vines. August and September saw light rains and cooler night temperatures, which helped to retain acidity and prolong the ripening phase, yielding wines with sophisticated tannins and intense, yet elegant aromatics.

Tasted in June 2020.  50% Cabernet Sauvignon + 46% Merlot + 4% Petit Verdot, 14.3% alcohol. Dense blackcurrants/cherries on the nose, full-bodied on the palate, fine acidity and structure, creamy fruit well-supported by velvety tannin. Delightful second wine of Ducru Beaucaillou.

  • 93p

Dark purple colour with violet hue and black core. Densely woven nose, multi-layered and fragrant fruit, blackberries, hins of blackcurrants, flowery components reminiscent of wisteria, dark chocolate, fine toasting aroma. On the palate well structured, excellent freshness in combination with ripe tannins, lush fruit, very persistent finish, an excellent wine in absolute purity.

  • 94p
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Origin

St.Julien, Bordeaux
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