In 2013 for Bruno Borie at Château Ducru-Beaucaillou the inspiration was the Pointer Sisters, in 2014 it was Winston Churchill. For him, Churchill’s refrain ‘Never, never, never give up’ epitomised the effort needed in the vintage – though it could equally have described the dedication required in 2013 too. After a mediocre summer, it was, as elsewhere, 2014’s beautiful Indian summer that allowed the grapes not only to ripen fully, but also retain enticing freshness and balance, the result of the cooler than average summer. This is a very strong vintage for Ducru. The wine has beautiful, pure Cabernet tones on the aromatics and the palate. Second wine Croix de Beaucaillou is lifted and vibrant and Lalande Borie offers fresh, enticing St Julien at a more affordable price.
It was certainly a long growing season – 125 days between flowering and harvest – a historical record at the property. September that was extremely hot and dry [only 4mm of rain, compared with the average of 80mm]. Yields, therefore, were relatively low [32hl/ha], and the volume of the grand vin is less than 2013. For me Ducru leads the appellation in 2014, though it is a close call as a number were truly excellent in St Julien – one of the vintage’s most consistent and rewarding appellations.
The wine was released at 79 euros a bottle [offered by UK merchants for £750/$1200 per case]. Liv-Ex price analysis can be found here. My notes are below. I hope you find them useful!
Château Lalande Borie, St Julien, 2014
Deep and saturated look; lovely Cabernet aromatics; stalky blackcurrants but some strawberry notes; really positive and fresh with some perfume; blackcurrants on the palate; really vibrant; crunchy acids and textured palate; plenty of flesh and matter here – perfumed and blackcurrant. This is excellent and classic. [50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 13.45 alc, TA 3.57, pH 3.76, IPT 74, 30% new oak]. Drink 2019-2028. Tasted at Ducru 30 March, 2015. 88-90+
Grande Réserve Croix de Beaucaillou, St Julien, 2014
Deep and saturated colour; depth; vibrant colour at edge; blackcurrant perfume; lively; aromatic; lifted; very bright fruit on the nose; lots of flavour and matter and extract on the mid-palate; lots of fruit here; good concentration and lively freshness. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 13.25alc, TA 3.59, pH 3.76, IPT 78, 60% new oak]. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted at Ducru 30 March, 2015. 90-92
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Grand Cru Classé, St Julien, 2014.
Deep and saturated colour; tight to the rim; purple at edge; lovely Cabernet fruit; blackcurrant, cassis; lifted and very attractive; black cherry notes too; plenty of fruit on the palate and considerable depth; concentration here but also acidity and vibrant fruit; blackcurrant and cassis tones; some spice; very fresh; chewy finish but ripe tannins. Complex wine. Substantial. [90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 13.5alc, TA 3.65, pH 3.81, IPT 81, 100% new oak]. Drink 2022-2035. Tasted at Ducru 30 March, 2015. 94-96+