Saturday, August 14, 2021

Croix De Beaucaillou 2009

Croix De Beaucaillou 2009 

I picked up our allocation of the Château Ducru Beaucaillou 2018 and wanted to partake in something from the Borie brand for casual sipping with artisan cheeses. I wanted to introduce son Alec to the brand and recount and revisit our memorable visit to Château Ducru Beaucaillou and tour of the chateau and estate during our visit to St Julien Beychevelle Bordeaux two years ago this month. Alec and Vivianna were with us during the first half of that trip but we parted ways from Chateauneuf-du-Pape as we went on to Bordeaux while they headed to Paris, for the remainder of the trip.

I recently picked up a six pack of this label, which we discovered and tasted during our visit to the estate. Looking at some of our earlier tastings of this vintage, I noted I rated the 2009 Ducru 95 points, so I was eager to try and compare this second label against the grand cru. While the ultra-premium super second growth label is reserved for special occasions, this second label is more appropriate for times such as this, and I was eager to try the '09 release of this label given the lofty rating of the grand cru. 

When we toured the estate and were introduced to this wine, they exclaimed the Croix de Beaucaillou is produced from a specific section of the estate’s vineyards up on the plateau, and is truly a second wine at the estate, rather than a second label for the younger vines from Ducru-Beaucaillou. It was first introduced in 2005. We tasted the 2012 label (right) during out tasting at the Chateau, a different label and branding than this one which carries the colors of the grand vin.

As I have written often in these pages, typically when there is an extraordinary vintage, the second labels of a producer are also superb, 'as all boats rise the tide', as the saying goes. In such years, the second and subsequent labels can offer exceptional values, QPR - Quality Price Ratios. 

The grand vin is the result of an increasingly strict selection process, with approximately 50% of the production going into the final wine, and the balance used in the Croix de Beaucaillou. Robert Parker's Wine Advocate wrote that "the 2009 may be the finest example of this cuvee I have yet tasted." 

Decanter wrote of this release, "A brilliant yet softer reflection of the grand vin in this vintage."

Croix De Beaucaillou 2009

This label was awarded 94 points by  Decanter, 93 points by James Suckling and Wine Enthusiast, and 91 points by Robert Parker's Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator. John Gilman gave it 89-91 points.

Decanter wrote, "The 10-year barrier is just about perfect for such a great second wine in an exceptional vintage, and I highly recommend that you start opening and enjoying it soon."

Dense dark garnet purple colored, medium full bodied, rich concentrated textured black berry and black cherry fruits, notes of creme de cassis, exotic spices, tobacco leaf, black tea, black truffle and hints of green pepper, wood, smoke and earth that tend to be offsetting a bit on the finish, detracting from the overall experience. 

Jancis Robinson noted a similar experience, "Maybe a very slight bitterness on the finish, hence the minus."

This diminution from the funky layer was less so the second day and perhaps could've been avoided with decanting and aeration some time before tasting. I purchased a six pack so we will have more opportunities to determine the optimal tasting approach and whether this was simply a bottle variation from that first bottle.

RM 89

Visit to Château Ducru Beaucaillou -