Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou 2eme Grand Cru Classe, Saint Julien 2018


This vintage has a very pure, elegant nose. The attack is clear, and the wine progressively gets bigger, reaching a very sophisticated balance between the magnificent quality of the tannins, substance, tension and freshness. There is 50% Cabernet Franc in the blend, which elevates the elegance of the wine’s tannic structure and makes the finish complex and long.

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“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. In 2018 the “”hang time”” of 120 days was the longest ever and it also recorded the highest level of alcohol (14.5) and tannin with the smallest berries. Bruno describes this as “”the richest Ducru ever”” and compares it to 1945 and 1961. The blend is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot with 18 months maturation in 100% new oak.



“The 2018 Ducru-Beaucaillou is currently halfway through its barrel maturation, the usual 18 months in 100% new French oak. It was picked from 25 September until 10 October. The bouquet is very intense and needs a lot of coaxing from the glass – more so than previous vintages. It eventually, almost reluctantly reveals tightly-wound black fruit laced with violet petals and touches of wild mint. It feels quite Margaux-like. The palate is silky smooth on the entry with layers of black fruit infused with graphite and minerals, a crescendo of flavours towards the powerful and quite grippy finish. Compared to the Croix de Beaucaillou, I find the alcohol more contained (14.5%), and it delivers lovely spicy notes that tingle on the tongue after the wine has departed. It will need at least a decade in bottle. Drink 2029-2055.

Score: 95/97
Neal Martin,, November 2019