2023 Château Larcis Ducasse, St Emilion, Bordeaux

2023 Château Larcis Ducasse, St Emilion, Bordeaux

Product: 20231012185
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2023 Château Larcis Ducasse, St Emilion, Bordeaux

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Description

Blend: 86% Merlot; 14% Cabernet Franc.

This is Nicolas Thienpont and David Suire’s 22nd vintage here together. David considers 2023 one of the finest expressions of the château’s limestone soils that he has seen. The wine’s attraction is immediate, with expressive juicy fruit, laced with heady Asian spice. The palate is perhaps less dense than expected, but that is the limestone illuminating and energising the palate. This luminosity allows greater examination of the nuances of the palate, where quartz-like minerality is bound into interesting textures and flavours of dark medlar and plum fruit.

Drink 2030 - 2048

Our score: 16.5/20

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson95/100

Excellent quality, this is clearly going to age extremely, has depth, intensity and sculpted tannins, fine grained and sappy. Sweet character to the brambled damson and black cherry fruit, sage, rosemary, lavender, a great benchmark wine as ever, with salinity and grip. Tasted three times, once at the estate with owner Jacques-Olivier Gratiot. 43hl/ha yield, Nicolas Thienpont and David Suire celebrating their 22nd vintage together at the estate. 3.55ph, 50% in new barrels for ageing.

Drink 2030 - 2045

Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux (April 2024)

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About this WINE

Chateau Larcis Ducasse

Chateau Larcis Ducasse

Traditionally Ch. Larcis Ducasse, a St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, was regarded as a property with exceptional terrior but a constant underperformer. This has changed, mainly thanks to the talents of a new winemaking team headed up by Nicolas Thienpont (of Ch. Pavie Macquin repute) and Stephane Derenoncourt (the mercurial 'flying wine consultant') who have managed to unlock the potential of this sleeping giant.

The estate is located on one of Bordeaux's finest strips of terroir - the Cote Pavie in St Emilion. Here, this 25-acre property abuts the 1er Grand Cru Classé Ch. Pavie estate. The vines are planted on an eclectic range of soils - alluvial sand deposits, clay, chalk and limestone. The vines, as one would expect for that part of the world, are predominately Merlot (some 75%) Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The new winemaking team arrived in 2002 and since then, the wines have gone from strength to strength. Look out especially for the 2005 Ch. Larcis Ducasse (98/100 Parker), 2006 Ch. Larcis Ducasse (91-94 Parker) and 2007 Ch. Larcis Ducasse (92-94 Parker), as these are the manifestation of all the hard work undertaken at the château over recent years.

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St Émilion

St Émilion

St Émilion is one of Bordeaux's largest producing appellations, producing more wine than Listrac, Moulis, St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux put together. St Emilion has been producing wine for longer than the Médoc but its lack of accessibility to Bordeaux's port and market-restricted exports to mainland Europe meant the region initially did not enjoy the commercial success that funded the great châteaux of the Left Bank. 

St Émilion itself is the prettiest of Bordeaux's wine towns, perched on top of the steep limestone slopes upon which many of the region's finest vineyards are situated. However, more than half of the appellation's vineyards lie on the plain between the town and the Dordogne River on sandy, alluvial soils with a sprinkling of gravel. 

Further diversity is added by a small, complex gravel bed to the north-east of the region on the border with Pomerol.  Atypically for St Émilion, this allows Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser extent, Cabernet Sauvignon to prosper and defines the personality of the great wines such as Ch. Cheval Blanc.  

In the early 1990s there was an explosion of experimentation and evolution, leading to the rise of the garagistes, producers of deeply-concentrated wines made in very small quantities and offered at high prices.  The appellation is also surrounded by four satellite appellations, Montagne, Lussac, Puisseguin and St. Georges, which enjoy a family similarity but not the complexity of the best wines.

St Émilion was first officially classified in 1954, and is the most meritocratic classification system in Bordeaux, as it is regularly amended. The most recent revision of the classification was in 2012

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Merlot/Cabernet Franc

Merlot/Cabernet Franc

Merlot and Cabernet Franc are grape varieties commonly used in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in the Bordeaux region of France. When these two grapes are blended, they can create a wine that combines the best characteristics of each variety.

Merlot is known for its smoothness, soft tannins, and ripe fruit flavours. It often contributes black cherry, plum, and chocolate flavours to the blend. The grapes are relatively easy to grow and ripen earlier than other Bordeaux varieties, making them versatile for blending.

Cabernet Franc, on the other hand, adds structure, depth, and complexity to the blend. It typically brings aromas of red fruits such as raspberry and strawberry, along with herbal notes like bell pepper and tobacco. These grapes have thinner skins and can be more challenging to cultivate, requiring specific growing conditions to reach their full potential.

When Merlot and Cabernet Franc are combined, the result is a well-balanced wine with various flavours and aromas. The blend often exhibits a Bordeaux wine's medium to full body, along with a smooth texture and moderate tannins. The specific flavour profile can vary depending on the proportions of each grape in the blend and the terroir and winemaking techniques employed.

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