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Bordeaux 2015: Château Ducru-Beaucaillou

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_0879Bruno Borie has presided over a bevy of excellent wines from the Ducru stable in 2015. All show vivacious beauty this year. The fruit tones are seductive and delicious. Across the board the wines show harmony and balance. It kick’s off with a vibrant Château Lalande-Borie, followed by a gloriously perfumed La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou. The Château Ducru-Beaucaillou grand vin looks exceptional. This is an almost entirely Cabernet Sauvignon blend [95%] and shows just how voluptuous this variety can be in the right hands, from the right terroir, in the right year. 2015 is definitely an exciting vintage here, and not a million miles from the great successes of 2009 and 2010.

The property describes a vintage pattern in 2015 that will be familiar to readers of this blog. Conditions during flowering were perfect. Early and mid summer were hot and dry. August temperatures were more moderate and characterised by ‘rainy episodes.’ September was defined by cool nights and sunny spells with showers. This rain [more than in say the Margaux appellation further south] doesn’t appear to have been especially negative for the Cabernet Sauvignon at Ducru, rather allowing it to achieve proper phenolic ripeness.

What comes across here once again is the balance and harmony of the wines in this vintage. It will be interesting to see how these develop. At this stage they don’t have the flamboyance of 2009 or the concentration and density of 2010, but they do have genuinely exceptional balance. Given this, allied to the freshness and beauty of the fruit, I’d not be surprised that after elévage we see these 2015s closing in, qualitatively, with the very great years [‘05/‘09/’10].

By way of explanation, Château Lalande-Borie is a twenty-five hectare vineyard that was established by Jean-Eugène Borie in 1970. It lies on the western plateau of St Julien. La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou comes from the centre of the property’s vineyard close to Léoville Barton. The fruit that goes into Château Ducru-Beaucaillou itself comes more from the eastern part of its terroir, from the vines closer to the river and that of the chateau itself.

Visiting Ducru is always a treat. Bruno Borie is a lively presence, an original thinker and full to the brim with enthusiasm for life. His vintage reports are laced with wit. The last three have drawn variously upon Winston Churchill, the Pointer Sisters and six hundred years of bloody European history.

The following notes were taken after tasting the wines at Château Ducru-Beaucaillou on Monday, 4th April, 2016.

Château Lalande Borie, St Julien

Bold colour; vibrant edge; pretty wine, violet lift with ripe cherry and black fruit tones; fresh Bordeaux; supple palate; fresh and alive; harmonious with nice texture; good stuff! Appetising and balanced St Julien. This will drink well from the off. [55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5% alc, TA 3.01, pH 3.8, IPT 65, 30% new oak]. Drink 2021-2028. 90-91+

La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou, St Julien

Lovely colour; lots of depth; dark at centre; healthy vibrant purple; lovely perfume in the glass; cream; blackcurrants; ripe plum; wonderful mouthful too; concentrated yet supple and harmonious; this is extremely attractive young Bordeaux with a voluptuousness to the mid palate. Lovely. [52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, TA 3.18, pH 3.77 IPT 70, 60% new oak]. Drink 2022-2030. 93-95

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Grand Cru Classé, St Julien

Deep and attractive looking in the glass; purple at edge; lovely pure Cabernet aromatics – simply adorable; perfumed and virtually perfect aromatically; creamy palate; full and voluptuously styled yet again; lovely ripe Cabernet here; beautiful wine; caressing and yet fresh; great length too. Considerable power and ripe tannin. Wonderful. One of the wines of the vintage on the left bank for me. [95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 13.4% alc, TA 3.07, pH 3.89, IPT 75, 100% new oak]. Drink 2023-2045. 95-97

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