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En Primeur: 2020 Ch Ducru-Beaucaillou

May 10, 2021

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou is to Saint-Julien what Château Lafite Rothschild is to Pauillac – the quintessential femininely-styled claret that packs power within the proverbial velvet glove. Founded as early as 1720 when the squire Jacques de Bergeron married Marie Dejean, heiress of the vineyard, Ducru-Beaucaillou has been owned by the Borie family for three generations since 1942, now helmed by Bruno-Eugène Borie. Sited on the “correct” side of the D2 highway with the Gironde estuary to the east while its vines merge seamlessly with those of Château Léoville Las-Cases to the north, its terroir is truly the envy of many. The name Beaucaillou alludes to the “beautiful pebbly” soil that, paradoxically, is nutritionally poor because of its high quartz content, forcing the vines to dig deeper for nutrients, thus ideal for cultivating the best grapes. For this en primeur tasting on 08 May 2021 organised by the wonderful people at Wine Clique, Singapore, I was sent samples of the 2020 wines made by the Château. Barely six months in barrel, I am amazed that these wines are already so ready and complete, very well proportioned and balanced with power and refinement in equal measure.

2020 Madame de Beaucaillou. From vines of the Haut-Médoc largely owned by Madame Eugène-Borie. Comprising a merlot dominant blend, this wine is usually aged in barrel for twelve months with about 20% new oak, the inaugural vintage being the 2019. This 2020 barrel sample shows a very impressive deep purple, exuding deep dark plummy tones, dark roses and black cherries with a sense of heated earth that is faintly delicious, developing a more brambly Médoc character after some time. Medium-full. Fleshy and highly supple, imbued with very good fruit density. Well extracted but not overdone. Shows good definition and integration, settling down with fine intensity and harmony though it doesn’t quite possess that dimension of depth and layering. However, this is a perfectly good drop on its own merit with a decent finish.

2020 Le Petit Ducru de Ducru-Beaucaillou. Effectively the third wine of the stable from the Château’s vines, usually cabernet-merlot with the occasional petit verdot aged in one-third new oak for twelve months. Again showing a deep dark impenetrable purple, the 2020 barrel sample is somewhat reticent at first though eventually yielding notes of dark roses. Rather open with good concentration and density. Gently layered with minerally and earthy traces, displaying lovely suppleness with subtle acidity that produced good mouthfeel and freshness. Just a tad short.

2020 La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou. The Château’s second wine, usually cabernet dominant with some merlot noir and petit verdot, aged for twelve months with two-thirds new oak. Dark purple, the 2020 barrel sample boasts an effusive floral fragrance that is most alluring, leading to an excellent concentration of dark fruits and black currants that gripped the medium-full palate with good length and linearity, displaying lively seamless exuberance with understated intensity. This can proudly occupy any table. Excellent.

2020 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou. Deep purple. The 2020 barrel sample of the Château’s grand vin opens with a layered glowing bouquet of dark floral fragrance and currants amid traces of vanillin. Medium-bodied, this wine displays an open presence with refined concentration of fruit, yielding some bright minerally inner detail as it mellowed down in the glass with superb seamless integration. Very naturally balanced with plenty of sophistication. Almost aristocratic. Very lovely. Great potential.

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