There is no doubt that St Julien has made extremely good wine in 2015. Purity and balance are the hallmarks here. Whether this vintage eventually serves as the best vintage since the 2009 and 2010 combination, will depend on the progress in barrel of the 2014 vintage. This was a vintage that impressed me last year in St Julien. It is certainly better value compared with 2015 given this year’s release prices. While 2015 definitely has the edge in quality, does it command the 20%-50%+ mark up over the previous vintage here? I’m not so sure. Only time will tell. Let’s just say that prices this year are decidedly firm!
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou’
Bruno 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.
So what are the principal characteristics of the Bordeaux 2015 vintage? Firstly there is a real beauty to the fruit tones in the red wines this year. Time after time, especially on the Right Bank but also on the Left I kept writing ‘beautiful,’ ‘pretty,’ and ‘delicious.’ There is freshness, despite pretty high alcohols in the main. The vintage is almost a hypothetical blend of 2009 and 2010, but with less evident structure and weight than those vintages. For me it recalls 1985 in terms of that vintage’s early beauty and freshness – and ‘85 remains in great shape today. But the 2015 vintage is by no means homogeneous. In fact there is considerable variability. What is in no doubt is that ‘15 is terrific in St Emilion. There is concentration and delight in so many wines there this year. It has also been strong vintage in the surrounding Côtes de Bordeaux appellation, especially Castillon and Francs.
Day two on the primeurs trail covered the top properties in St Julien, St Estèphe and Pauillac. The brief but significant September rain on the eve of harvest here affected estates differently and there is variation in the wines. Amongst the top growths on the finest terroirs beautiful wines have been produced. Perhaps these are not quite at the very top like 2009 or 2010, or perhaps even 2005, [though in certain cases they are close] but nevertheless there is real magic and beauty in the best wines. There is an accessibility too that almost hides their power. Château Mouton-Rothschild in Pauillac stood out as exceptional, along with Château Montrose and Château Cos d’Estournel in St Estèphe. Château Ducru Beaucaillou, Château Léoville-Las-Cases and Château Léoville Poyferré were all very impressive in St Julien. Ducru has made exceptionally attractive wine this year. It is a beauty – a term that is constantly turning up in my tasting notes in 2015.
St Julien offers purity and clarity in 2014. The wines show beautiful blackcurrant tones and are fresh and vivid. The best have very good length and structure. Tannins are sophisticated and ripe. Some properties are comparing the vintage to 2005 and 2006, and, while the wines don’t quite have the weight and concentration of 2009 and 2010, they are nevertheless vivacious and appealing. Top of the list are Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Château Léoville-Las-Cases, Château Léoville Poyferré and Château Saint-Pierre. Right behind are Château Gruaud Larose, Château Branaire-Ducru, Clos du Marquis and Château Léoville Barton. Château Gloria and Château Lalande Borie are excellent and offer good value for the consumer.
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.