Wine Advocate 88 points - The selection process under proprietor Bruno Borie is so severe at Ducru Beaucaillou that readers should be giving serious attention to the second wine, Croix de Beaucaillou, which sports a dramatic black and gold label. The 2011 exhibits attractive black currant and black cherry fruit, medium body, silky tannins and a lush, round, up-front appeal. Enjoy it over the next decade. (Apr 2014)
‘Appellation d’origine controlee’ of Saint-Julien. This is the second wine of Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, a ‘grand cru’ classified in 1855. The La Croix de Beaucaillou wines come from the Château Ducru Beaucaillou vineyard.Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou is named after the beautiful, stones found in its unique wine-growing terroir. This exceptional ecosystem produces fine, elegant, tasty wines, with a long finish – in short, archetypal Saint-Julien wines.
Croix de Beaucaillou is subjected to a reasoned blending aimed at producing a wine which will of course reveal its assets earlier than Ducru B but also the characteristics of a great Saint Julien: elegance, finesse and of course its ability to age. It is worth noting that this wine is far superior to the connotation of ‘second wine’. It is a great, noble wine, which we are sure will play a prominent role in the Saint-Julien appellation. La Croix de Beaucaillou has been bottled on the property since 1995. Until then, it was sold in bulk to Bordeaux wine merchants.
|Wine maker notes
|The grapes are all harvested manually. They are sorted in the vines on mobile tables to avoid contact between unhealthy and healthy grapes during transport to the vat room. The vinification of each plot is done individually to optimise the choice of blends.
Moreover, the fermentations are carried out separately and customized to take account of terroir, grape variety and vintage characteristics. We generally operate gentle extraction and keep the must at traditional temperatures with moderate lengths and frequencies of pumping-over. The press drains off continuously into barrels to facilitate the selection of the press-wine batches.
Malolactic fermentation is managed in vats for optimal control.The wine is barrelled in duly identified individual batches immediately after malolactic fermentation. Blending takes place during the first racking operation; for La Croix de Beaucaillou, between 20 and 40% of new barrels are used according to the richness of the vintage.
The barrels (225L Bordeaux barrels, French oak) are supplied by 5 carefully selected cooperages giving every guarantee. The wine is matured for 12 months.
Bottling is performed with special care in regard to both oenological controls and homogenisation of the overall batch. The 5 cork makers supplying the estate have signed a detailed and stringent quality charter.
|The high plantation density (10,000 vines per ha.) has many advantages. It reduces the production of each plant while creating competition between the vines that will search deeper down into the soil to find their nutriment ("vines must suffer in order to produce"). It also generates a microclimate with many an advantage :
*Maximizing the leaf surface per hectare and therefore the rainwater consumption which are particularly profuse in our Atlantic climate
*Creating ideal conditions for the grapes
*Vine management, while traditional (double Guyot pruning etc.), includes the latest viticultural techniques (manual leaf-thinning, green harvests in summer etc.).
In short, the four golden rules are: plot-based management, controlled yields, optimised vine stocks lifespan and sustainable phytosanitary treatments.