A Perfect 2009 to Eclipse our 1983 Memory of 1961
In the fall of 1983, soon after the opening of the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia, we were invited to a private tasting of 1961 Bordeaux. The day’s lineup would include 28 wines from what most at the time believed to be the greatest vintage since 1929.
Three hours later, we were many sheets to the wind. While there were spittoons at every table, no one was spitting the 1961 Château Petrus, Latour à Pomerol, Latour, or Haut-Brion (curiously, the only disappointment of the day was the 1961 Lafite-Rothschild).
The Saint-Julien entries included Léoville-Las Cases, Léoville-Barton, Gruaud-Larose, and Beychevelle. But the wine that stole our hearts was the 1961 Château Ducru Beaucaillou, a bottle that still fetches nearly $1,000 on the open market.
We continued to follow and purchase Ducru Beaucaillou vintages until the late 1980s, when the château seemed to fall into a slump, only to rebound in the late 1990s. Still, as time passed, we openly wondered — even doubted — whether the most heralded château in St. Julien would ever reach the heights of Robert Parker’s 96-point 1961.
That is, until we first tasted the 2009 from barrel in the summer of 2010 — a wine that not only eclipsed the 1961, but outpointed half of Bordeaux’s First Growths in what Parker suggested “may turn out to be the finest vintage I have tasted in 32 years of covering Bordeaux.”
A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, the 2009 Château Ducru Beaucaillou is the most exquisite vintage ever crafted by this superstar St. Julien estate. Parker’s text pretty much says it all: “this inky purple, unctuous wine possesses classic aromas of graphite, creme de cassis, blueberries, violets, licorice and Christmas fruitcake. Full-bodied and intense with Ducru’s inimitable elegance and purity, it should firm up in the bottle after 7-10 years of cellaring and last for 40-50 years. Magnificent!” Anticipated maturity: 2019-2069.
A perfect 100 points — outpointing First Growths Mouton-Rothschild, Lafite-Rothschild, and Château Margaux.
WineAccess has secured another 60 bottles, all drawn directly from the cellars in Bordeaux. $399/bottle. Shipping included on all orders.