As usual Bruno Borie provides a typically idiosyncratic but totally apt overview of the 2016 vintage. He sees it in biblical terms. First there was the ‘flood’ – the extremely wet conditions in the first four to five months of the year. Then the plague – the attacks of odium and mildew. This was followed by time in the wilderness – the exceptionally dry and hot summer. Finally they arrived in the ‘Promised Land’ – a late harvest in an Indian summer which has produced exceptional wine. 2016 certainly completes a remarkable trilogy of back to back vintages here at Château Ducru-Beaucaillou. Qualitatively I feel it pips 2014 and even 2015.
The weather conditions in 2016 produced the longest vegetative cycle in the property’s history. This year, in additional to manual selection in the vineyard and optical sorting at the chais, Ducru proceeded to harvest as they do in Sauternes, doing several passes in the same vineyard parcels, harvesting the ripest fruit first but then returning to pick other bunches later.
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou is truly exceptional in 2016, a perfect wine in the making surely. It has the most voluptuous fruit and soft, textured tannins. The length is amazing. Judging from the balance I reckon it will be enjoyable early on but it is certainly built to last. These pleasures don’t come cheap but they surely won’t disappoint. La Croix is a coquettish beauty that will give a lot of pleasure. It has more fleshy Merlot in the blend and comes from the portion of Ducru vineyard situated inland, on Gunz gravel that faces the Mouline stream.
Lalande Boire was created by Jean-Eugène Borie in 1970. The vineyards occupy 25 hectares on the western plateau of St Julien adjacent to cru classé Château Lagrange. This perfumed beauty will give a lot of pleasure early on and is a great introduction to the pleasures that come from the hedonistic cellars of Bruno Borie.
The following wines were tasted on Monday April 4, 2017.
Lalande Borie, St Julien, 2016
Lovely colour; deep at the centre; lovely fruit here; bright; some perfume; finesse; some cherry and plum; really good; lively fruit; perfume; extract; and matter; wood is bit present in the sample but will doubtless settle; extra matter and stuff; quite oaky note. Twenty-five acres of vineyards close to Talbot and Lagrange on sandy soil; good balance and nice acidity. [55% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% new oak, 13.7% alc, TA 3.41, pH 3.67, IPT 77]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2021-2028. 90-92+
La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou, St Julien, 2016
Deep colour; saturated; purple at edge; creamy cassis aromatics; bright; spicy notes from the Petit Verdot; very seductive fruit; lovely sweet entry; fruit envelops the palate; caressing; plenty of depth but a joyful perfumed quality; lovely. A beauty. Extract and matter – lots of finesse. [64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 66% new oak, 13.4% alc, TA 3.51, pH 3.65, IPT 78]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2021-2030. 93-95
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, Grand Cru Classé, St Julien, 2016
Lovely bright, saturated colour; really deep and saturated; beautiful cassis notes; very layered; a voluptuousness here; blackcurrant; a wonderful, vivid seam of blackcurrant fruit; purity on the palate; lovely entry to the palate; full and caressing; lots of layers and depth. Bloody good! Fruit texture goes on – and the palate doesn’t tire. Really lovely wine. Great length. [85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 100% new oak, 13.6% alc, TA 3.44, pH 3.71, IPT 80]. Tasted 3/4/17. Drink 2024-2046. 98-100
Verdant gardens at Ducru