2012 Ducru-Beaucaillou, St-Julien

SKU #1209205 95 points James Suckling

 Mesmerizing aromas of blackberries, licorice and mint. Wet stones too. Full-bodied and tight with super-refined and polished tannins that are pinpointed and elegant. It caresses your palate. Savory and salty on finish. Electric for the vintage. Better in 2018.  (2/2015)

95 points Wine Enthusiast

 This is a wine with big tannins and big fruit. You can feel the wood rather than taste it, certainly smell it initially before the black currant aromas kick in. Impressive and sumptuous, it has a solid density that layers with the smoky character of the fruit and wood. Rich and complex, it needs to age. Drink from 2025. *Cellar Selection* (RV)  (5/2015)

94 points Vinous

 A big wine for the year, the 2012 Ducru-Beaucaillou possesses striking depth and intensity from start to finish. Sweet tobacco, cedar, smoke and savory herb overtones add intrigue to this deep, fleshy Saint-Julien. I imagine the 2012 will age for several decades based on its fruit density. Whether the tannins ever become noble is another question. Still, it is impossible not to admire the wine's pure depth. (AG)  (1/2016)

90-93 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Dark ruby-red. Perfumed aromas of blackcurrant, violet, licorice and graphite, plus a whiff of minerals. The flavors of blackcurrant, graphite and minerals are delicate, pure and refined. Finishes fine-grained, suave and firm, with excellent breadth. It's also one of the longest wines of the vintage, and for my money one of the top four or five from the Left Bank in 2012. When I asked Bruno Borie how this could be, given the very high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend, he mentioned the intensive work required to achieve this result: he added two sorting tables directly in the vineyards and installed an optical sorting system in the cellar. He also noted that the Cabernet Sauvignon vines are very precocious in his terroir (gravelly clay right next to the river, where daily temperatures can average roughly 3°C more than vineyards in Saint-Julien's interior. Moreover, he harvested between October 3 and 5 and from October 6 through 10, escaping the brunt of the rain showers. According to Borie, the 2012 reminds him of the estate's 1964, an excellent vintage for those properties that harvested before the rains. (ID)  (6/2013)

93 points Wine Spectator

 Offers an almost lavish feel, with layers of warmed fig, blackberry paste and raspberry coulis lined with ganache, anise and fruitcake flavors. A rock-solid graphite note lines the finish, showing just the slightest twinge of the vintage's austerity. A very admirable effort. (JM)  (3/2015)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Tasted blind at the Bordeaux 2012 Southwold tasting. The 2012 Ducru Beaucaillou was broody and stubborn on the nose: the fruit remaining off-stage while earthy, leathery notes take the limelight. The palate is medium-bodied with quite a tart entry, a keen line of acidity here that lends this energy, a sense of frisson. It settles down as it approaches the finish, gaining harmony all the time with a smooth, lightly spiced finish that lingers in the mouth. It needs time but it will repay you. (NM)  (10/2016)

K&L Notes

Located in St-Julien, the appellation between Pauillac and Margaux, the second growth Ducru-Beaucaillou vineyards are planted soil of gravel and stones, and overlook the estuary, providing a more moderated climate than much of Bordeaux. The 2012 vintage blend is 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot. It spends 18 months in mostly new French oak.

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.


Specific Appellation:

Saint Julien

- St. Julien, the smallest of the four famous appellations of the Haut Medoc, is known for highly extracted, finely structured, Cabernet-based reds. It is nestled between Pauillac to the north and Margaux to the south. Like St. Estephe, there are no first growths in this area. Leoville-las-Cases, Leoville Poyferre, Leoville Barton, Ducru Beaucaillou, and Gruard Larose are the second-growths of St. Julien followed by Lagrange which is the only third-growth. Beychevelle, Branaire Ducru, St. Pierre, and Talbot, which are all fourth-growth wines, round out the grand cru classe chateaux. In the last several vintages, wineries from this appellation have been out-performing their traditional rankings making many of the wines from this region some of the best values in red wine today.