Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 2016

Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou 2016

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Once part of the Beychevelle estate, it takes part of the name from the rocks found in the vineyards. Beau = Beautiful and caillou = stones. It was sold to Betrand Ducru in 1795 and he added his name to the estate. The Ducru family sold it in 1866 for the wife of a Bordeaux wine merchant. She died 2 years later. Nathaniel Johnson (the widower) remarried the daughter of Prince Constantine of Turkey and began to expand the Chateau itself. The economic crash of 1292 forced the Johnson family to sell the chateau to another Wine merchant family, the Desbarats. 12 years later, Francis Borie purchased the estate and it remains in the family ever since. Today Bruno Borie runs the estate plus a couple of other family properties.
The property is planted with 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30%Merlot. Severe parcel selection has reduced the amount of the Chateau Beaucaillou produced each year. In the 1980s, they produced 20,000 to 25,000 cases and currently the only produce 9,000 to 11,000 cases.
Wine Spectator: 100
Offers a scintillating display of roasted apple wood, incense and warm ganache before the core of cassis, plum preserves and raspberry reduction starts to step forward. The finish, loaded with grip but remarkably polished, pulls everything together. A huge, undeniable wine, overt in style.
Wine Advocate: 98
The 2016 Ducru Beaucaillou is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot cropped at 36 hectoliters per hectare between 24 September and 14 October and matured in 100% new oak barrels (for a total of 18 months). The alcohol level comes in at 13.63% with a pH of 3.71. The bouquet is very closed at first, and so I aerated the Grand Vin by transferring from one glass to another. It gradually unfurls to reveal scents of blackberry, bilberry, cedar and a touch of pencil lead. The palate is medium-bodied with a firm backbone cloaked in layers of black fruit. The new oak is probably more present here than some of its peers, but there is more than sufficient substance to absorb that. The mineralit surfaces right towards the persistent finish, completing what is a Ducru Beaucaillou built for the long term.
Decanter: 97
Another exceptional success for St-Julien in 2016, following the longest growing season in the recorded history of the property. Reasonable alcohols, because of the slow maturation, emphasise the juiciness of the fruit. Hugely intense and concentrated black brambly fruits, with layer upon layer of stunning liquorice, dark chocolate, rich black cherry and graphite. This is an utterly beautiful wine and it approaches the essence of what owner Bruno Borie must want for this estate, I am sure. It is easy to imagine uncorking this with excitement in 10 or 15 years. The final blend is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, with a high tannin index of 80IPT and a 3.71pH, aged in 100% new oak for 18 months.
Wine Enthusiast: 99
This wine is so stylish, with a great future that is all balance and elegance. There are structured tannins as well as ample acidity that will allow the wine to age gracefully. A great Ducru with restrained power for long-term aging.
Vinous: 97
One of the highlights of the vintage, the 2016 Ducru-Beaucaillou is simply magnificent. Vertical structure and intensity in all of its dimensions make a strong opening statement. Dark blue and black fruit, spice, new leather and smoke run through this superb, spectacularly rich, voluptuous Saint-Julien. The tannins are present, but they are nearly buried by the sheer intensity of the fruit. Nothing really stands out. In the end, the 2016 is a wine of spectacular balance and pure class. The natural richness comes through in the gravitas and profoundness of the finish. Even with all of its intensity, the 2016 comes in at just 13.5% alcohol. Tasted two times.
James Suckling: 98
Very focused and reserved with a mineral, blackberry, licorice and blackcurrant character. Full and refined. Walking a tightrope between steely tannins and and dark fruit. This is highly intellectual and unique. Great finish. Remake of the extraordinary 2014? Stronger than the 2015, for sure.