A few words from Bruno Borie, General manager and co-owner of Château Ducru Beaucaillou on the 2019 Vintage.
The 2019 growing season was incredibly dry and hot. How did you cope with the drought and heat spikes and other climatic pressures during the growing season? If you can please tell us about the growing season?
The 2019 summer was beautiful in the Medoc, but not so hot.
A vintage can be viewed from three angles : accumulated hours of sunshine, accumulated degrees of heat and accumulated rainfalls. We only counted last year 6 days above 35°c (95 Fahrenheit) throughout the summer.
In other words there was no heat wave for 2019 and this is not a solar vintage.
Focusing on Ducru Beaucaillou, two moderating factors are to be taken in consideration : the proximity of the Gironde estuary (635 km²) which protect our vineyards from excessive summer heat and the fine Günz gravels that moderates water stress : protecting
mulch on the surface and offering a good water retention capacity underneath.
Can you please tell us about the winemaking this year? Tannins play such a vital and defining role in the quality of Bordeaux red wines. How did you manage tannin extraction in 2019 – was this normal or modified based on the vintage?
The quality begins with grapes : the grapes were perfectly healthy with full maturity (and no over maturation). Fermentations with such beautiful & ripe grapes must be conducted with great care and a soft hand. Extractions must be controlled strictly, preferably at the beginning of the process while there is no/little alcohol in the must (phase aqueuse). Each vat is
tasted several times a day to precisely adapt and control the extractions.
Each vintage is an all-new adventure with its share of new equipment (vats), new teammate, new vision or ambition. No stone is left unturned in the pursuit of excellence to reveal the essence of the terroirs of Ducru-Beaucaillou.
Can you tell us about the specific blend you used for the 2019 vintage?
A blend is a collective achievement. The tasting committee includes our consulting winemaker (Eric Boissenot), technical managers / engineers (Emmanuel
Bonneau, Cecile Dupuy, Anaïs Faucon) cellar master (Benoît Loiseau) and myself
(GM & co-owner).
Only the tasting guides us. We do not have any imperative of volume, nor preconceived ideas of varietal : the only thing that matters is the taste.
Each plot of the vineyard is vinified separately. We evaluate each lot and try
various blend… and finally when one proposition forces a smile to each and every one, we know that this blend is the blend. Only then do we discover the proportion of grapes (80% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlots for the 2019).
How did you work up to final blend – intuitively, by tasting, etc? Can you share your process this year? Can you describe the final blend?
Once again, smile decides on the blend… The final blend is obtained by several tastings with our technical team and our consulting winemaker, allowing us to work very accurately and
ultimately to express as closely as possible the DNA of Ducru Beaucaillou.
This precision is found in the blends, which have now reached a remarkable level of
precision (less than 0.3%).
What do you feel has had the biggest effect on the final taste profile of the 2019 vintage?
From the analysis standpoint , 2019 Ducru Beaucaillou reveals unprecedented levels of IPT (Polyphénols levels) of 84 and anthocyanin (1100), 6 grams of tannin per liter, a Ph of 3.8 (which brings a very appealing freshness)
This is the promise of an extraordinary ageing potential.
The 2019 vintage offers in the glass a stunning deep color, attractive aromas of black cherries, notes of cedar box, touch of cold Habana cigar, suave palate with very round silky tannins. It is complex and complete. Endless. The very Médoc aesthetic.
We find “grace” in this blend. A cuvée that approaches the sublime. It is remarkable for its contained power, elegance and charm. A deep presence with an athletic figure. No heaviness, no excess. Like a ballerina (both athletic and aesthetic) whose hands could catch the sky. With a skip and a leap... she rises so high that she cannot fall. This is pure grace !
Can you please tell us about the specificity of this year vintage?
In accordance with this year climate, the 2019 vintage presents a fruity and complex nose, superb freshness due to good acidity and rather low Ph., solid constitution with perfectly ripe and polished tannin, lovely finish and excellent length
How does 2019 compare to other vintages – what is it most similar to and, at the same time, how does it differ from those vintages?
2019 being the richest vintage produced at Ducru Beaucaillou, we cannot compare it with a previous one. Each vintage is unique.
At Ducru Beaucaillou (it means beautiful stones), each vintage has to be envisioned as one facet of the diamond (stone). Each has its own specificity, its own character. A vintage is a will left for the future generations evoking that very year : the climatic conditions but also the technical and ethical choices, the scientific and technological levels, the motivation of the teams and their cohesion. Last but not least the financial latitudes.
Do you have special memory about the 2019?
Summer of 2019 has been for my team and I an opportunity, in the mildness of Medoc summer, to reflect on the 300 years lyric and epic history of Ducru Beaucaillou, made of princesses, wine merchants, scientists and politicians and established after more than two years of research by an historian. This fabulous story inspired our "sustainable refoundation" plan which will animate us for the next 10 years.
Read the full report: Bordeaux 2019 A Vintage Preview