Bordeaux Uncorked: 2009 La Croix de Beaucaillou, St-Julien

"A man will be eloquent if you give him good wine." --- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Diving deep into the archives, I pulled this article from 2013, a year of great reward and deep sorrow, set-backs, aspirations achieved and having to say goodbye. I've grown from that year, had many new experiences since then, worked with some great people, made an impact on the wine world, and enjoyed the ride. I can only wonder what else lays before me in 2018, I'm hoping to work harvest this fall and start on a new path in the wine business.  

After a period of great mourning; an invitation can shine like a light in a dark place. That invitation, an opportunity to sample wine from one of the very best vintages of the eighties; in fact one of the best come along since 1970. The Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou 1982, which would be uncorked later that evening. I had no idea what a treat laid ahead, but I knew it was going to be a wine-tastic evening full of firsts. 

Leading the batting order, it would be the outstanding 2009 La Croix de Beaucaillou, St-Julien, a wonderfully approachable Bordeaux, that has enough structure [don't miss this point] to go the long haul in your cellar, but the way this wine is drinking at the very moment, why wait. And that is the point of this wine, made in a style that will appeal to the California "palate" fleshy, fun and flush with flavor. Personally, I'd buy a half dozen and, drink one each over the next six years to see how they mature. 

Reportedly; a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot [pH 3.69] and rested in 60% new oak for what I’m guessing was some 12 months. This wine is a seamless beauty, very generous black and red fruit, subtle licorice, cedar, rich earth, which comes nicely wrapped in supple, well-honed tannins. Now take a gander at the color in that glass, via the image below, gorgeous right? 

Just nosing the wine alone is impressive, a plume of rich Cabernet perfume runs to greet you right away, welcoming the first sip. A boat-load of head-turning aromas; cherry fruit intertwined with hints of wood smoke, sweet-vanilla, and fresh earth. I scored this wine 93 points and highly recommend it to you. 

In light of the fact, that it does not have a first-growth chateau, it’s sometimes an unfairly overlooked region. But that lack of claim to first-growth fame can make for some tasty bargains. 

Reportedly, the owner Bruno Borie in speaking with Stephen Tanzer of International Wine Cellar fame said that "starting with our 2005 vintage, that the La Croix de Beaucaillou would become a wine of terroir." Now he [Mr. Tanzer] scored this wine 87-90 points, but he also said "this looks to be the best Croix ever" which seems to contradict the low score. 

"So rather than only including grapes from Ducru's youngest or less favorably situated vines [fruit that now goes into private labels], "the Croix is made only with the grapes of certain specific parcels.” ~ Stephen Tanzer

As you can see my low-light image of the bottle did not turn-out as well as I hoped it would, but this fantastic wine was none-the-less a shining star of flavor and finesse, after some near 30 years in the bottle. 

You’ll find Saint-Julien, sandwiched in-between the more famous appellations of Pauillac and Margaux, but also nicely balanced. Many vino-sapiens know Saint-Julien as one of the smaller but still significant appellations of the Haut-Medoc an area found in south-west Bordeaux. Sad to say, but the importers of this great wine  Woltner and Co. appear to have gone out of business. 

Hovering over the glass a moment; beautifully aged aromas escape slowly from the glass, filling the air just above with a sweet cedar box and forest floor aromas. Bumping up against the wall of the glass plum colors give away to garnet and brick colors and, sediment lies lazily in the glass. 

Meanwhile, after the first slurp; spice box, more cedar, and dark licorice, dried dark plum and other red fruits entice you. What at time of bottling must have been a full-bodied, a solidly structured wine has beautifully matured over the decades; becoming a bottle of wine which readily shares it pure sweet tannins. A fantastic and unforgettable experience to say the least, regarding score, it's awarded 94 points. 

I will leave you with the words of Mr. Leonard Cohen who said; "Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash." Until next time folks remember life is so short, sip long and prosper cheers!


Great article Bill, and a 1982 is always a welcome treat with Bordeaux Classified Growth~lucky you!
Anonymous said…
Bill, I have purchased a three cases of 2009 Bordeaux. After reading the post on Bordeaux Uncorked: 2009 La Croix de Beaucaillou, St-Julien, I will try to find a six-pack. I favor an earthy, lush, rich Cab. I prefer the old-world style but now am intrigued by the post.

I am following you here now. Keep on writing. I want to begin writing again now that my school commitments are finishing. You inspire me.


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