Château Larcis Ducasse 2012
• Domaine: Château Larcis Ducasse
• Appellation: Saint-Emilion
• Classification: Premier Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Château Larcis Ducasse is a Saint Émilion Premiere Grand Crus Classés Class B estate that has been described as, “a garden a world apart.” If one were fortunate enough to visit this stunning and picturesque property with vines graced by laurel and fig trees, one would understand this phrase perfectly. The grand vin is crafted here with the precision and expertise that many would ascribe to a fine jeweler and the resulting wine is excellent. With the combination of its impeccable terroir and the craftsmen who tend to it, Château Larcis Ducasse is one of the Right Bank’s treasures.
Château Larcis Ducasse had a long history that dated back to the Roman era. Even the ancient vignerons were seduced by the promise of the checkerboard of terroirs that give the estate such appeal. Château Larcis Ducasse received its namesake in 1893 during the modern era when Henri Raba purchased the property at the time. Henri Raba spent vast sums of his fortune to maintain the striking vineyards and would stop at nothing to ensure the grand vin was of top quality. After Henri passed, his wife Emilie and her son took control of the estate. The property was largely unknown to most connoisseurs until the family hired Nicolas Thienpont to manage the property with his prodigy David Suire. Together they made sweeping changes to the vineyards, such as transitioning Château Larcis Ducasse over to 100% Organic Farming methods in 2005. In 2012, Château Larcis Ducasse received the high honor of earning its Premiere Grand Crus Classés Classification alongside other illustrious châteaux like Château Valandraud, Château Trotte Vieille and many other esteemed properties. It was a happy ending indeed for an estate with such a long-lived history.
Château Larcis Ducasse hosts 11.3 hectares of vines that are planted with 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc. Over the years, more Cabernet Franc has been added. The property is very close from the legendary producer, Château Pavie. The terroir is described as a “checkerboard,” of varying terroirs. One can find a mixture of varying soils like limestone, clay and chalk that the 35 year old vines thrive in. Nicolas Thienpont ensures that the team over at Château Larcis Ducasse maintains lower yields to ensure higher ripeness levels. The winery is a gravity flow operation, and they use a lot of Burgundian techniques to create a fresh and soft wine. After they are vinified, they are subsequently aged in French oak barriques for about 18 to 20 months before bottling. For those who love a rich and mineral Saint-Émilion, Château Larcis Ducasse is a phenomenal, opulently textured wine. One can absolutely expect the minerality that is so synonymous with that region. But in addition to that, the wines have a very pleasant, fruity, and ripe quality to them. It is best to age a bottle of Château Larcis Ducasse for about ten to fifteen years prior to enjoying it. With all that in mind, younger vintages can be decanted for two to three hours.
"This great terroir, long owned by the Gratiot family, has come to life under the inspired winemaking of Nicolas Thienpont and Stéphane Derenoncourt. Some recent vintages have been legendary efforts, especially 2005, 2008, 2009 and 2010. The 2012 (83% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc) is right in the competition, with an inky, opaque, bluish/purple color, gorgeously sweet, rich nose of black raspberries, black cherries and currants, and licorice. The wine hits the palate with a full-bodied, thunderous effect. This blend tips the scales at 14.5% alcohol, which is indicative of its fabulously exposed vineyard on a full, steep limestone slope with a primarily southern exposure. This is full-bodied, ripe and one of the great stars of the vintage – again. The wine has full-bodied texture, gorgeous purity, richness and length. Drink it over the next 20 years." - Robert Parker Jr., The Wine Advocate (4/29/2015, Issue 218), Ratings: 95, Drink: 2015-2035
"The 2012 exhibits notes of licorice, truffles, lead pencil shavings, barbecued meats, blackberries, black raspberries and a hint of espresso roast. Sweet new oak notes are apparent in the back of the wine, but its abundant fruit, full-bodied mouthfeel, and multidimensional texture as well as length, make for an impressive showing. This wine will need 3-4 years of cellaring and should keep for 20 years or more. Bravo! If you haven’t yet jumped on the Larcis Ducasse bandwagon, it’s time to do so. Even if the 2012 is not as potentially prodigious as the 2005 and 2010, it is a remarkable effort. Yields were kept to 23 hectoliters per hectare by the brilliant team of Nicolas Thienpont, Stephane Derenoncourt, David Suire and Julien Lavenu. The final blend of 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Franc has produced a powerhouse with 14.5% natural alcohol. This team’s goal is undoubtedly to elevate Larcis Ducasse to the status of Ausone, Cheval Blanc, Pavie and Angelus. They are well on their way." - Robert Parker Jr, The Wine Advocate (4/24/2013, Issue 206), Ratings: 93-95, Drink: 2016-2036
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