Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien Deuxième Cru

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien Deuxième Cru, 2018

  • icon-type Type

    Red

  • icon-year Year

    2018

  • icon-style Style

    Dry

  • icon-country Country

    France

  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level

    13.5%

  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Cabernet Sauvignon 85%, Merlot 15%

Deep, intense, brilliant purple-black colour. Vivid and attractive. Aromas redolent of black fruits, hint of graphite and violets.Powerful and elegant structure, fleshy, rich, polished tannins, remarkable length risen by a wonderful freshness. A new standard.

About Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou is a winery in the Saint-Julien appellation of the Bordeaux region of France. Château Ducru-Beaucaillou is also the name of the red wine produced by this property. The wine produced here was classified as one of fifteen Deuxièmes Crus (Second Growths) in the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855.

The estate Château Ducru-Beaucaillou was purchased by Francois Borie in 1941 and has remained in the family since then. The family also owns other estates, Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Château Haut-Batailley.

In the mid-1980s the estate battled an infestation of TCA in their cellars that marred several vintages including the 1988, 1989, and 1990. The Chateau has since corrected the problem, and today the wines are fermented and aged in a new underground cellar created in the late 1990s. Today the estate is managed by Bruno Borie.

Ducru-Beaucaillou's vineyards consist of 50 hectares of well-drained gravel with stones up to 2.5 inches in diameter (beaucaillou means "beautiful stones").

The vineyards are planted in Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) and Merlot (30%); previous plantings of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot having been uprooted. The vines' average age in 2005 was 38 years.

Ducru-Beaucaillou produces two wines. The grand vin called Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, and a second wine produced since 1995 to which lesser-quality lots are relegated, La Croix de Beaucaillou. The wines are aged for 18 months in 50% to 80% new oak barrels according to the richness of the vintage, fined with egg whites, lightly filtered, and then bottled. Wine writer Jay McInerney wrote "Ducru has always been a wine of finesse rather than sheer brute power, a kind of Burgundian Bordeaux."

Grape variety
Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognised red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon became internationally recognised through its prominence in Bordeaux wines where it is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. From France and Spain, the grape spread across Europe and to the New World where it found new homes in places like California's Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Napa Valley, New Zealand's Hawkes Bay, South Africa's Stellenbosch region, Australia's Margaret River and Coonawarra regions, and Chile's Maipo Valley and Colchagua. For most of the 20th century, it was the world's most widely planted premium red wine grape until it was surpassed by Merlot in the 1990. However, by 2015, Cabernet Sauvignon had once again become the most widely planted wine grape.

Despite its prominence in the industry, the grape is a relatively new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc during the 17th century in southwestern France. Its popularity is often attributed to its ease of cultivation - the grapes have thick skins and the vines a re hardy and naturally low yielding, budding late to avoid frost and resistant to viticultural hazards such as rot and insects - and to its consistent presentation of structure and flavours which express the typical character ("typicity") of the variety. Familiarity and ease of pronunciation have helped to sell Cabernet Sauvignon wines to consumers, even when from unfamiliar wine regions.

The classic profile of Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that contributes to the wine's aging potential. In cooler climates, Cabernet Sauvignon tends to produce wines with blackcurrant notes that can be accompanied by green bell pepper notes, mint and cedar which will all become more pronounced as the wine ages. In more moderate climates the blackcurrant notes are often seen with black cherry and black olive notes while in very hot climates the currant flavours can veer towards the over-ripe and "jammy" side. In parts of Australia, particularly the Coonawarra wine region of South Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon wines tend to have a characteristic eucalyptus or menthol notes.

The style of Cabernet Sauvignon is strongly influenced by the ripeness of the grapes at harvest. When more on the unripe side, the grapes are high in pyrazines and will exhibit pronounced green bell peppers and vegetal flavours. When harvested overripe the wines can taste jammy and may have aromas of stewed blackcurrants. Some winemakers choose to harvest their grapes at different ripeness levels in order to incorporate these different elements and potentially add some layer of complexity to the wine. When Cabernet Sauvignon is young, the wines typically exhibit strong fruit flavours of black cherries and plum. The aroma of blackcurrants is one of the most distinctive and characteristic element of Cabernet Sauvignon that is present in virtually every style of the wine across the globe. Styles from various regions and producers may also have aromas of eucalyptus, mint and tobacco. As the wines age they can sometimes develop aromas associated with cedar, cigar boxes and pencil shavings. In general New World examples have more pronounced fruity notes while Old World wines can be more austere with heightened earthy notes.

Alternative Names: Bidure, Bouche, Bordo, Bouchet, Burdeos Tinto, Lafite, Vidure

Merlot

Merlot is a dark blue-coloured wine grape variety, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French name for the blackbird, probably a reference to the colour of the grape. Its softness and "fleshiness", combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin.

Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz Cabernet, Malbec and Petit Verdot, Merlot is one of the primary grapes used in Bordeaux wine, and it is the most widely planted grape in the Bordeaux wine regions. Merlot is also one of the most popular red wine varietals in many markets. This flexibility has helped to make it one of the world's most planted grape varieties. As of 2004, Merlot was estimated to be the third most grown variety at 260,000 hectares (640,000 acres) globally. The area planted to Merlot has continued to increase, with 266,000 hectares (660,000 acres) in 2015.

While Merlot is made across the globe, there tend to be two main styles. The "International style" favoured by many New World wine regions tends to emphasise late harvesting to gain physiological ripeness and produce inky, purple coloured wines that are full in body with high alcohol and lush, velvety tannins with intense, plum and blackberry fruit. While this international style is practiced by many Bordeaux wine producers, the traditional "Bordeaux style" of Merlot involves harvesting Merlot earlier to maintain acidity and producing more medium-bodied wines with moderate alcohol levels that have fresh, red fruit flavours (raspberries, strawberries) and potentially leafy, vegetal notes.

As a varietal wine, Merlot can make soft, velvety wines with plum flavours. While Merlot wines tend to mature faster than Cabernet Sauvignon, some examples can continue to develop in the bottle for decades. There are three main styles of Merlot - a soft, fruity, smooth wine with very little tannins; a fruity wine with more tannic structure; and, finally, a brawny, highly tannic style made in the profile of Cabernet Sauvignon. Some of the fruit notes commonly associated with Merlot include cassis, black and red cherries, blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry, mulberry, olallieberry and plum. Vegetable and earthy notes include black and green olives, cola nut, bell pepper, fennel, humus, leather, mushrooms, rhubarb and tobacco. Floral and herbal notes commonly associated with Merlot include green and black tea, eucalyptus, laurel, mint, oregano, pine, rosemary, sage, sarsaparilla and thyme. When Merlot has spent significant time in oak, the wine may show notes of caramel, chocolate, coconut, coffee bean, dill weed, mocha, molasses, smoke, vanilla and walnut.

Alternative Names: Alicante, Alicante Noir, Bégney, Bidal, Bidalhe, Bigney, Bigney rouge, Bini, Bini Ruzh, Bioney, Black Alicante, Bordeleza belcha, Crabutet, Crabutet Noir, Crabutet Noir merlau, Hebigney, Higney, Higney rouge, Langon, Lecchumskij, Médoc Noir, Merlau, Merlaut, Merlaut Noir, Merle, Merle Petite, Merleau, Merlô, Merlot Noir, Merlot black, Merlot blauer, Merlot crni, Merlot nero, Merlott, Merlou, Odzalesi, Odzhaleshi, Odzhaleshi Legkhumskii, Petit Merle, Picard, Pikard, Plan medre, Planet Medok, Plant du Médoc, Plant Médoc, Saint-Macaire, Same de la Canan, Same dou Flaube, Sème de la Canau, Sème Dou Flube, Semilhon rouge, Semilhoum rouge, Semilhoun rouge, Sémillon rouge, Sud des Graves, Vidal, Vini Ticinesi, Vitrai and Vitraille

About Saint-Julien

Saint-Julien is a small but important red wine appellation of the Haut-Médoc district on the Left Bank of Bordeaux in south-western France. Its reputation is based on its status as a reliable source of consistently elegant, age-worthy wines.

Sandwiched between the more famous appellations of Pauillac and Margaux, Saint-Julien is sometimes unfairly overlooked because it does not have a first growth chateau in the 1855 Bordeaux classification. Pauillac has three of the five Médoc first growths and Margaux has one.

Saint-Julien makes up for this by being home to 11 classed growths, which generate three-quarters of the appellation's output. Five of these are highly rated second growths: Châteaux Léoville-Las Cases, Léoville Poyferré, Léoville Barton, Gruaud-Larose and Ducru-Beaucaillou. The first three were once a single estate, which would have been extremely large for its time. The third growths are Langoa-Barton and Lagrange; the fourth growths are Châteaux Beychevelle, Branaire-Ducru, Talbot and Saint-Pierre. All but the latter property are likely to be familiar to most collectors; Château Saint-Pierre is relatively small with 17 hectares (42 acres) of vineyard which supply a wine made at the unclassified Château Gloria.

Almost every acre of the Saint-Julien commune is covered with vines, except for a strip about 500 meters (1600ft) wide on the silted banks of the Gironde estuary to the west. The châteaux which own them can be split into two neat groups: those around the village of Saint-Julien-Beychevelle and those around the village of Beychevelle. These two similarly named villages are only 2 kilometres (1.5 miles) apart, which illustrates the smallness of scale that operates in the Médoc. In fact, the vineyards in the north of Saint-Julien back directly onto the vineyards of Château Latour in Pauillac, yet the wines they produce are different in both status and style.

The appellation laws for Saint-Julien - established in 1936 with many other regulations in Bordeaux - state that its wines must be made from grapes grown in the commune of Saint-Julien Beychevelle, or very specific parts of the communes of Cussac and Saint-Laurent. The document lists the plots (parcelles) eligible for the title.

The grapes permitted for use here are Cabernet-Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Carmenère, Petit Verdot and Malbec. They must come from vineyards planted to a minimum density of 6500 plants per hectare (2631 per acre), with specified vine-management techniques.

Saint-Julien is bordered to the west by the Saint-Laurent commune, whose wines are eligible only for the wider Haut-Médoc appellation. An example of the effect of this can be found in Saint-Laurent's Chateau Belgrave. It lies just a few hundred meters from Château Lagrange, which can claim the valuable Saint-Julien name, yet Chateau Belgrave cannot.

As is the case with many other prestigious Bordeaux appellations, national and foreign investment is common in Saint-Julien. Châteaux here are owned by a combination of wealthy individuals and international companies.

Regular price $1,736.00

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