The 2017 Ducru Beaucaillou was picked from 18 to 23 September for the Merlot, and from 25 to 30 September for the Cabernets. It is matured in 100% new oak over 18 months. It offers copious black fruit, violets, bay leaf and Asian spice notes on the nose that gathers momentum in the glass after a deceptively understated opening. The palate is medium-bodied with quite firm tannin, the oak nicely integrated, not quite as harmonious as the 2016 but then again, few 2017s are. There is a rigid structure to this Ducru Beaucaillou underneath the carapace of ripe black fruit with touches of tobacco and spice lingering on the aftertaste. It is probably going to require more cellar age than many of its peers but it will be worth the wait. Drinking range: 2024 - 2045 Rating: 93-95 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2018)
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90% Cabernet Sauvignon (picked 25–30 September), 10% Merlot (18–23 September). TA (sulphuric) 3.47 g/l, pH 3.79, IPT 78. Will be aged 18 months in new oak. Very dark with black core. Super-refined dark fruit on the nose, ripe but not overly. Just a touch – and nicely – smoky. Chewy, deep tannin texture shot through with lovely juicy fruit, red and black. Lots of energy and the oak well in the background. Firm and chewy tannins and needs time but has a long fresh finish – lovely fresh fruit to the end that is entwined with the tannins to keep them moving across your palate. (JH) 13.51% Drinking range: 2027 - 2040 Rating: 17.5 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2018)
There was no frost at Ducru-Beaucaillou in 2017 due to its proximity to the estuary. This barrel sample comes from the final blend, which was made in early 2018. Composed of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot and sporting a deep garnet-purple color, the 2017 Ducru-Beaucaillou is intensely scented of blackcurrant cordial, blackberries and lavender with hints of crushed rocks, iron ore, rose hips and Provence herbs plus touches of wood smoke and sandalwood. Medium-bodied, very firm and grainy in the mouth, it possesses lovely freshness, lifting the intense flavors, finishing long and minerally. Sporting an incredible core of muscular mid-palate fruit, this wine should age incredibly. Rating: 95-97 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, RobertParker.com (Apr 2018)
A little less intense and concentrated than the 2016, this focusses more on rich, smoky, finessed aromatics. The overall feel is gourmet and well textured, with some welcoming rich spice. A serious contender for the top St Julien in 2017, this has wonderfully fleshy blackberry fruits, a screech of graphite adding some mineral overtones, and a great dash of grilled oak. 7,500 cases of Ducru this year instead of 10,000 - they weren't affected by frost, but the Cabernets were just less generous this year, down to around 30hl/ha. This is accomplished winemaking, with great energy and poise. 100% new oak. 3.79pH. Drinking range: 2027 - 2040 Rating: 96 Jane Anson, Decanter (Apr 2018)
Unquestionably one of the successes in the vintage is the 2017 Château Ducru Beaucaillou, which reminds me of the 2014, with perhaps a touch more oomph. As always, it’s a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blend (90/10 Cabernet and Merlot) brought up in new barrels. Its vibrant purple color is followed by a terrific bouquet of crème de cassis, blueberries, violets, and exotic flowers. It has medium to full-bodied richness, plenty of mid-palate, and fine tannin as well as a great finish. It’s going to need 3-5 years of cellaring and keep for two decades. Count me in as a huge fan. Rating: 94-96 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Apr 2018)
Holy.... This is so powerful and dense with amazing depth of fruit and beautifully ripe tannins tannins. Full body, layers of fruit and tannins. It’s has a long finish but then kicks off at the end. Remains classic in style. Rating: 97-98 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Apr 2018)
This has a warm and inviting feel, with mocha, Christmas pudding and blackberry and plum compote aromas and flavors flowing through atop fleshy, velvety structure. There’s a graphite edge along with some alluring spice accents, and this stays polished and lengthy in the end. Rating: 93-96 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Apr 2018)
Bruno Borie's focus at Ducru-Beaucaillou is, as always, on Cabernet Sauvignon. The frost did not bother the vines of the grand vin, which are located closest to the estuary. After a generally early vintage, with budbreak, flowering and véraison all well ahead of schedule, the harvest was equally well ahead of the norm. The picking of the Merlot ran from September 18th until the 25th, and as was also the case elsewhere there was no rest as the Cabernet Sauvignon harvest commenced immediately afterwards. In order to maximise quality the Cabernet Sauvignon was, for the first time, picked in two tries, the first for the plateau vines starting on September 25th and the second running up to rain on September 30th. The pickers finished with the last Cabernet Sauvignon and the Petit Verdot on October 3rd. The blend is strong on Cabernet Sauvignon, which accounts for 90%, with 10% Merlot. While this reflects the comparative success of Cabernet Sauvignon in this vintage, it is nothing out of the ordinary for Ducru-Beaucaillou, which often includes between 85% and 95% Cabernet Sauvignon. The alcohol is 13.51%, total acidity 3.47 g/l and the IPT is an impressive 78. On the nose it presents dark, savoury, almost brooding fruits, black cherry with a desiccated concentration. It has a smoky and curranty richness, but also a perfumed, white-flower, white-pebble, limestone freshness. All in all this is an incredibly expressive aromatic profile. The palate feels just so complete, fresh, polished and plush with notes of black cherry, damson, currant and black olives, around which the tannins are wrapped like a velvet jacket, ripe and significant in their presence, but also integrated and complete. It is very long in the finish, with just a little toasty oak showing here. This is a real tour de force, and is clearly a magnificent Ducru-Beaucaillou in the making. Rating: 96-98 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com (Apr 2018)
Château Ducru Beaucaillou
St Julien Deuxième cru 1855 When the Beychevelle estate was broken up in 1642, in order to pay off the debts of the deceased owner, it gave birth to three Châteaux - Beychevelle, Branaire-Ducru and Ducru-Beaucaillou. Château Ducru Beaucaillou was so named because of the quality lent to the wine by the large pebbles in the soil - the "good pebbles" being "beau caillou" (although it was originally "Maucaillou", "bad pebbles" not being much use for any other kind of agriculture). In 1795, the estate was purchased by Bertrand Ducru, and the name was complete. The early years on the 20th Century were not kind to Ducru-Beaucaillou, but salvation was on hand with its purchase by Francis Borie in 1941. Apart from some problems with TCA during the late 1980's, the tenure of the Borie family has been a time of continuing improvement at Ducru-Beaucaillou. Today, Francis' grandson Bruno Borie heads up the estate. The Borie family also own Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Château Haut Batailley. The 75ha of vineyard are planted to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot have, apparently, left the blend. The Grand Vin spends 18 to 20 months in wood, with the proportion of new wood varying between vintages. A second wine was introduced in 1995 - La Croix de Beaucaillou. Also produced at Ducru-Beaucaillou is Château Lalande-Borie from vineyard purchased from Château Lagrange in 1970 which, although it could perfectly legally be absorbed into Château Ducru Beaucaillou, has always been produced as a seperate wine.