Bruno's informative fiche technique recounts some rather bloodthirsty dates in our history, all ending in '15. Quite what the relevance of Agincourt, Waterloo, the Great war and the mindless act of terrorism in Paris have to do with this 'exceptional' vintage, we don't really know... Anyway, confused but intrigued we pressed on. The grand vin is an impressive 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and just 5% Merlot. Its inky colour shimmers and reveals a complex bouquet of sweet pipe smoke, flowers, graphite and swathes of decadent black cherry liqueur. This is unbelievably sleek and sumptuous with a real sense of polish. It has curves in all the right places; creamy and black fruited, this effortless and seductive Ducru really is rather complex and glorious. It builds and builds into a crescendo of fine tannins and pure suave cassis, mocha and Asian spice. Impressive!
Ducru Beaucaillou has emerged as one of the most iconic wines from St Julien. In a commune literally bulging with celebrated estates, Ducru Beaucaillou, under the stewardship of Bruno Borie has hit the front of the pack. A true ‘Super Second’, the estate’s vineyards occupy some 215 hectares although only 75 hectares are used for Ducru. These are largely situated to the east of the D2, running almost all the way to the Gironde and some further inland towards Gruaud Larose. The soils around the chateau are dominated by Gunzian gravel and Cailloux. The estate is not all planted with vines and much of the production is used in the second label, La Croix de Beaucaillou and a separate label, Lalande-Borie. The style of the grand vin is flamboyant, polished and is built for long-term aging.
St-Julien may not have any first growths like its neighbour Pauillac but has a raft of high-performing Châteaux in its ranks, second through to fourth growths, Including Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville Las Cases, Léoville-Poyferré, Léoville-Barton.
Gruaud-Larose and Talbot. For many St-Julien is quintessential claret, robust, powerful but refined subtle and poised. Gravelly soils dominate, hence wide plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot.