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2017 Saint Julien

Grapes Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cab Sauv
Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Saint Julien

The 2017 La Croix de Beaucaillou sees 60% new oak for 12 months, with a fairly high IPT of 75. It has a ripe and generous bouquet of blackberry, fresh fig, cedar and crushed violets that blossom in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a fine bead of acidity, that structure making its presence felt towards the finish that exerts an insistent grip. As such, this will probably require three or four years in bottle just to soften the edges. Drinking range: 2021 - 2035 Rating: 90-92 Neal Martin, (May 2018)

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No frost – protected by the river. 58% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot – usually majority Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot is on gravel and it had great freshness, says owner Bruno Borie. pH 3.74, TA (sulphuric) 3.46 g/l, IPT 75. Will be aged 12 months in French oak, 60% new. Deep crimson. Again that scented cherry fruit that I tasted in Lalande Borie with just a hint of char. Savoury as well as sweet-fruited – definite red fruit on the silky mid palate. Firmer on the finish but lots of fruit in the middle and a long, juicy, fresh finish. Fine tannins and just a hint of chocolate-sweet tannins on the finish. (JH) 13.68% Drinking range: 2024 - 2035 Rating: 16.5 Julia Harding MW, 2018)

The Merlot here is grown on sandy-gravel soils and brings both freshness and structure. There's good balance, plush autumnal berry fruits and lovely spice, supported by well placed, delicate tannins. It's a clear Médoc twist on the varietal, even though this is a little lusher and more approachable than in recent years where Cabernet Sauvignon has been higher in the blend - last year it was at 66%, but vintage conditions in 2017 affected some of the crop. It's a little different in expression from 2016, but is an extremely high quality, great drinking wine. 3.74pH. IPT 75. Drinking range: 2025 - 2038 Rating: 91 Jane Anson, Decanter(Apr 2018)

A blend of 58% Merlot, 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Petit Verdot, 60% new oak, the deep ruby-colored 2017 La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou from the charismatic winemaker Bruno Borie is another elegant, seamless wine from this vintage. It’s certainly a high-quality second wine. (It’s more like a second cuvée as it comes from a designated sector of vines.) Crème de cassis, crushed flowers, violets, and forest floor notes all flow to a medium-bodied, silky 2017 that has fine, fine tannin and plenty of length. Drink it while you wait on the Grand Vin. Rating: 90-92 Jeb Dunnuck, 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.

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