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Chateau Larcis-Ducasse 2010

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
  • RP98
  • JS97
  • WS94
14.5% ABV
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

#92 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2013

Critical Acclaim

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RP 98
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The wine boasts 14.6% natural alcohol and is a final blend of roughly three-fourths Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc, cropped at a ridiculously low 19 hectoliters per hectare. Notes of licorice, garrigue, incense, smoked meats, espresso, creme de cassis and blackberry liqueur jump from the glass of this unbelievably intense wine. Remarkably full, with compelling freshness and precision, this is a fabulous effort in 2010. It will probably close down over the next several years, and not re-emerge for at least a decade, something that often happens with the bigger, richer, more muscular St.-Emilions from the limestone hillsides and plateaux. This is one of the superstars of the vintage and a profound wine. Drink it between 2020 and 2045.
Rating: 98+
JS 97
James Suckling
ow. This is really intense with amazing dark fruit character of crushed blueberries and minerals. It’s full-bodied, with super integrated tannins and a superb finish that lasts for minutes. A fabulous wine. Better in 2019.
WS 94
Wine Spectator
A rich, tongue-coating style, with loamy structure and dense plum sauce, roasted fig and warm dark currant confiture notes, all inlaid with espresso and graphite. Still tightly drawn now, this needs a bit more cellaring to unfurl fully, but there's beautiful polish and lovely fruit worth waiting for. Best from 2016 through 2030.
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Chateau Larcis-Ducasse

Chateau Larcis-Ducasse

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Chateau Larcis-Ducasse, St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
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In the 18th century, the Raba family, living in Bordeaux, made their fortune in commerce and maritime transport and in 1893, Henri Raba, a lover of great wines, bought Chateau Larcis Ducasse. His passion led him to invest a great part of his fortune in the Château and at his death in 1925, his wife and then his son Andre kept the flame burning. André died during the war, leaving no children, thus it was his niece, Hélène Gratiot Alphandéry, who inherited the property in 1941. She in her turn managed the property along with cellar-master Pharaon Roche and her son, Jacques Olivier Gratiot, director with l’Oréal and member of the Jurade, became manager in 1990. Under his guidance, the long tradition of quality that characterised the wines of Larcis Ducasse was not only maintained but also improved.

Chateau Larcis Ducasse is still in the hands of the Gratiot Alphandery family and since 2002 the property has been under the management of Nicolas Thienpont

St. Emilion

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Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.

St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.

Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.

The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Figeac, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vineyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.

Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

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