Fabulous aromas of crushed berries such as blackberries and blackcurrants, not to mention spices. Wet earth and cedar, too. Complex. Full-bodied, yet agile and complete. A dense center palate. Ultra-round tannins. Everything in the right balance. Wonderful to taste but better to drink in 2022.
Very deep garnet in color, the 2014 Ducru-Beaucaillou springs from the glass, offering vibrant notions of fresh black currants, black cherries and black raspberries with touches of spice box, licorice and fragrant soil plus a waft of lavender. Medium-bodied, the palate bursts with lively, crunchy black fruits, supported by ripe, grainy tannins and finishing on a lingering spicy note. 2020 - 2044
Tasted blind. Not much on the nose. Light, minerally and treacly but without much density. Rather dry tannins on the end. The tannins seem to slightly outweigh the fruit. Lightly salty. Need to wait for this very classic wine – which will never be a blockbuster.
Ducru is on top form these days. Bruno Borie has made some very serious wines at Ducru in recent vintages with many vats previously destined for the grand vin now being used for the second label. From 2003 onwards production of the first wine has been reduced from 15,000-20,000 cs to 9,000-11,000 cs. There is now more second wine - La Croix de Beaucaillou - than there is Grand Vin. Bruno's policy is now to only select fruit from the heart of the Ducru vineyard, overlooking the estuary for the Grand Vin. Ducru is clearly back where it belongs at the top of the super-second league. 32hl/ha in 2014, with less wine than 2013. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, aged in 100% new oak for 18 months. Deep ruby with a purple hue. Lovely purity and focus on the nose. Laser like precision, with graphite and blackcurrant showing a concentrated Cabernet aroma. Silky entry, with an opulent core of black fruit. This wine is concentrated, gorgeous, plump and generous. Lots of soft tannins means there are no hard edges, and the toast from the oak is subtle and well used, layering complexity in the mid-palate. The acidity adds freshness to make this elegant, precise and beautifully excecuted. This is a brilliant Ducru.
I just love the style of this estate and the 2014 Ducru-Beaucaillou is an undeniable success in the vintage. Made from 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot brought up in 100% new French oak, it offers a deep purple color as well as both elegance and power in its crème de cassis, raspberries, cedarwood, graphite, and floral bouquet, with its background oak smothered in fruit. Possessing a classic elegance, full-bodied richness, sweet tannin, and stunning length, it one of the wines of the vintage and will drink nicely for another two to three decades. 2020 - 2050
This is opulent, with layers of warmed fig, boysenberry and blackberry confiture that loll along, yet are kept going by a graphite note that is well-buried throughout. Alluring black tea, singed mesquite and bittersweet cocoa accents add to the panache. A head-turner. Best from 2020 through 2040.
A hint of vanilla, a touch of pepper and spice, black fruits there is a lot happening on the nose. The start of the palate has freshness, focus, precision the mid palate rich with brooding black fruit plump, ripe and sweet, supple and rounded. The richness gives way to freshness the finish vibrant long and streamlined. 2027-40
The gap between the second wine and the Grand Vin is not as great as it usually is, but maybe it's just me. Plush and ripe, with masses of colour, bags of oak and a comparatively high pH for the vintage, this is impressive rather than enjoyable, a wine that imposes a style on the vintage, not vice versa.
The 2014 Ducru Beaucaillou showed extremely well when I tasted it with Bruno Borie during en primeur. Now in bottle, it delivers on that promise with beautifully defined blackberry and raspberry fruit infused with cedar and pencil box aromas. Quintessentially Saint Julien. The palate is very well defined with fine tannin, pitch-perfect acidity, a palpable sense of energy and frisson from start to finish that delivers plenty of tobacco-infused fruit. It is not the perfection-flirting legend that I have read elsewhere; it is just a damn good Saint Julien that is going to drink beautifully over the next 25 to 30 years. Drink date 2020 -2050
The Château Ducru-Beaucaillou 2014 is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot that was picked between 25 September and 15 October and matured in 100% new oak as usual. The IPT is 81, the pH 3.81. Compared to recent vintages the nose is more backward, sultry and less explosive although there is still impressive concentration here. It's just "buttoned down" at present. (A second sample showed a little more sous-bois, more complexity than the first.) The palate is medium-bodied and masculine, a little chalky in the mouth with a firm backbone. Bruno Borie has overseen a more classic Ducru-Beaucaillou, one that I suspect will be less approachable than the last three vintages, boasting a Pauillac-like, graphite-infused finish that just needs to gain a little more persistence during its élevage. This is one wine that actually showed better on my second visit, demonstrating more élan and brio, but nuances notwithstanding, it is another magnificent Ducru-Beaucaillou to add to the roster.
Drink: 2019 - 2040
Stunning aromas of licorice, blackcurrants, minerals, dried rose petals and wet earth. Full body, incredibly intense fruit yet this remains compacted and toned with tannins. Long, long finish. What a wine.
Very dense crimson. Cedary nose. Scented and more grounded with more density than the other wines from this stable. Firm finish with lots of fine velvety tannin. Masses of tannin (IPT 81). One of the most backward wines. 13.5%