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Château Ducru-Beaucaillou (Second Growth) Saint-Julien Grand Cru Classé, Bordeaux, France 2017

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou (Second Growth) Saint-Julien Grand Cru Classé, Bordeaux, France 2017

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90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot

Deep, dark purple. A stunning and tight bouquet, very compact, which opens into fine fruit, floral notes, and then a touch of graphite. The palate is juicy, with black fruit and berries, spice, and chocolate, supported by a fine freshness. Full bodied, with remarkable length. The wine spends 18 months in mostly new oak barrels.

A revered Saint-Julien producer classified as a Second Growth in 1855, Château Ducru-Beaucaillou's wine is so stunning and superb that it certainly could be deserving of First Growth status, were such a reclassification to be explored.

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou was founded as a winemaking estate in 1720, and grew to fame after Bertrand Ducru bought the château in 1797. The winery thrived under the Ducrus for decades. Betrand's daughter's father-in-law was a member of the French Parliament, and legend says that he replaced the customary glass of water held by parliamentary orators with a glass of Ducru-Beaucaillou, to honor his daughter-in-law's excellent wine.

One unique aspect of the estate is that the other part of its name, Beaucaillou, is a reference to and literal translation of the large, "beautiful pebbles" that make up the terroir of the vineyards. Called Gunz gravel, these stones give rise to poor soil, forcing the plants to draw nutrients at depth. In the summer, the pebbles retain daytime heat and return it to the vines at night, facilitating the ripening of the grapes. This serendipity of nature guarantees an excellent quality of wine; each new cuvée and vintage reflects a new evolution of the synthesis between the grapes and the beautiful pebbles underneath.

After the Ducru's stewardship, the château was sold in 1866 to Lucie Caroline Dassier, wife of the famous négociant Nathaniel Johnston. Johnston had a passion for the Médoc and was a brilliant winemaker whose instincts were always turned towards modernity and evolution. He developed what we call "Bordeaux Soup," a mix of lime milk and copper sulfate, used to cure the mildew that so many vines in Bordeaux suffered from at the time. The solution is still used to this day.

The current owner is Bruno Borie. A legendary figure in Bordeaux, the focused and passionate Bruno brings his knowledge and perfectionism to Château Ducru-Beaucaillou. He solved a cork taint problem in the early 90s, and has in recent years started the conversion to 100% organic viticulture.

The attentive care that Bruno gives to the grapes and the winemaking process as a whole leads to wines of superb quality, texture, and longevity. His wines develop over time and are well worth the wait. Powerful, opulent, complex, and deep — Château Ducru-Beaucaillou's wines perfectly illustrate the grand silky style of Saint-Julien.

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