The 2021 La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou has a very seductive bouquet of plush black cherry and raspberry preserves and a touch of Earl Grey. This is very nuanced and poised, showing a touch of cedar in the background. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins, and again, a little stricter than previous vintages thanks to the higher Cabernet Sauvignon. Classic in style, displaying fine sapidity, a touch of piquancy toward the finish and a persistent saline aftertaste. Very fine.
Drink 2026 - 2046
Neal Martin, vinous.com, (May 2022)
Clear graphite, pencil lead, finessed black fruit that is lean and precise. Impressive, more structured than the past few years of La Croix, more vertical rise through the palate, and will benefit from softening not only over ageing but with a few years in bottle to tame the severe tannins. Higher levels of Cabernet Sauvignon, because the Merlot did less well over the growing season, and it makes it feel more in the spirit of the 1st wine. 60% new oak, 27hl/h yield.
Drink 2024 - 2038
Jane Anson, janeanson.com (May 2022)
Complex aromas of dark berries, sweet spices, licorice, cigar wrapper and loamy soil introduce the 2021 La Croix de Beaucaillou, a medium to full-bodied, seamless and layered wine that exhibits promising depth, concentration and structure in this challenging vintage. It's a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot—in other words, it contains at lot more Cabernet than usual.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (Apr 2022)
Ripe, dark and very pure with a certain opulence due to the core of generous fruit. Structured and fresh, though, with plenty of fine tannin giving punch and length on the finish.
Drink 2028 - 2038
James Lawther, jancisrobinson.com (May 2022)
Medium body with a compact core of dark fruit, blackcurrants, pine cones, cloves and chocolate. Beautiful depth. Firm, creamy tannins. Dark and firm, yet cool at the end. 64% cabernet sauvignon, 32% merlot and 4% petit verdot. Serious second wine.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (May 2022)
About this WINE
Château Ducru-Beaucaillou is a St-Julien property that today is one of the leading Super Seconds. It is owned by the Borie family and is situated in the south-east of the St-Julien appellation. Ducru-Beaucaillou's 50 hectares of vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon 65%, Merlot 25%, Cabernet Franc 5% and Petit Verdot 5%) lie on deep, large-stone gravel beds enriched with alluvial soil deposits and with a high clay content. The wines are matured in oak barriques (50-60% new) for 18 months.
For many, Ducru-Beaucaillou is the quintessential St-Julien - deep-coloured, powerful, ripe, exquisitely well-balanced and perfectly harmonious. It requires a minimum of 10 years of bottle ageing before it should be approached and the best vintages will continue improving for many more years. Ducru-Beaucaillou is classified as a 2ème Cru Classé.
St Julien is the smallest of the "Big Four" Médoc communes. Although, without any First Growths, St Julien is recognised to be the most consistent of the main communes, with several châteaux turning out impressive wines year after year.
St Julien itself is much more of a village than Pauillac and almost all of the notable properties lie to its south. Its most northerly château is Ch. Léoville Las Cases (whose vineyards actually adjoin those of Latour in Pauillac) but, further south, suitable vineyard land gives way to arable farming and livestock until the Margaux appellation is reached.
The soil is gravelly and finer than that of Pauillac, and without the iron content which gives Pauillac its stature. The homogeneous soils in the vineyards (which extend over a relatively small area of just over 700 hectares) give the commune a unified character.
The wines can be assessed as much by texture as flavour, and there is a sleek, wholesome character to the best. Elegance, harmony and perfect balance and weight, with hints of cassis and cedar, are what epitomise classic St Julien wines. At their very best they combine Margaux’s elegance and refinement with Pauillac’s power and substance.
Ch. Léoville Las Cases produces arguably the most sought-after St Julien, and in any reassessment of the 1855 Classification it would almost certainly warrant being elevated to First Growth status.
Cabernet Sauvignon Blend
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.