2004 Château Larcis Ducasse St. Émilion Grand Cru Bordeaux France Wine Tasting Note

  1. 2004 Château Larcis Ducasse (St. Émilion Grand Cru)

    1. As is often how it goes, the last bottle from the case was the best. Still youthful in color, the nose offers chocolate fudge, black cherry, truffle and floral notes. Silky and fresh, with plenty of sweet, dark red fruits in the finish, the only thing holding this back, is a lack of hangtime in the finish. Decanted 30 minutes, this was rocking! On to my case of 2005!

      93 points - Tasted
    2. Spicy red and black berries, stone and licorice add to the mineral driven, easy to drink character. There is no reason not to be popping corks on this wine, as it's drinking great today.

      89 points - Tasted
    3. The second vintage after the estate starting hitting it right is in the sweet spot. Licorice, truffle, black cherry, coffee bean crushed stone notes open to a soft, silky, medium/full bodied ripe, round wine with a lot of character.

      92 points - Tasted
    4. With good color, the nose offers minerality, sweet dark plums, blackberry, earth, licorice and dark cherries. Soft textured, concentrated and round, the minerality of the terroir comes through. Give it another 2-3 more years to allow this St. Emilion to develop additional complexities.

      92 points - Tasted
    5. Smoke, coffee, licorice, jam, cassis, minerality and herbs, full bodied and concentrated, but a bit monolithic. The wine ends with black cherry liqueur and a touch of green olive tapenade.

      90 points - Tasted
    6. This wine remains deeply colored. In the nose, minerality, jammy berries, coco powder, licorice and kirsch. Full bodied and soft textured, this still youthful wine ends with a blast of dark cherry and espresso. There is a slight hint of bitterness or green in the finish. A few more years will add additional flesh and complexity to the wine.

      92 points - Tasted
larcis ducasse1 Wine Tasting Notes, Ratings

Chateau Larcis Ducasse Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The 10.85 hectare St. Emilion vineyard of Larcis Ducasse is planted to 78% Merlot and 22% Cabernet Franc. This shows a slight change in the vineyard, as more Cabernet Franc has been added to the plantings since 2003. The vineyard is located just around the bend in the road from Chateau Pavie. In fact, their vines abut each other.

They have other good neighbors as well. To the south you find Chateau Canon La Gaffeliere and La Gaffeliere, and as you move north, Chateau Troplong Mondot, Chateau Pavie Macquin are not far away. The terroir of Chateau Larcis Ducasse is a mixture of soils. The vines on the top of plateau and the slopes have a south facing exposure. At the higher elevations on the plateau, the terroir is limestone, clay and chalk soils.

As you travel further down the slopes towards the terraces, the terroir is a blend of chalky limestone, marl, sand, silt and clay soil. At the base of the slopes, you find sand and clay soils. On average the vines are 35 years of age.

While the older plantings were done at a vine density of 6,600 vines per hectare, as the vineyard continues to be slowly replanted, the vine density is increasing with each subsequent replanting. The new plantings are being done at 7,500 vines per hectare. They are also using budwood obtained through selection massale. The yields are kept low at Larcis Ducasse. As an example, in 2009, the effective yields were only 25 hectoliters per hectare.

To produce the wine of Chateau Larcis Ducasse, the grapes are whole berry fermented. The fruit is transported by gravity flow into traditional, cement tanks for fermentation. Cuvaison takes between 25-28 days. There are no pump overs. Pigeages are conducted during fermentation. Malolactic fermentation takes place in barrel.

The wine of Chateau Larcis Ducasse is then aged in 67% new, French oak barrels, which are mixed in size, between standard barrels and 500 liter French, oak casks. The wine is then aged for an average of 18 to 20 months in barrel before bottling. The production is on average close to 4,000 cases of wine per vintage.

The best vintages of Chateau Larcis Ducasse are: 2016, 2015, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008 and 2005. Very old vintages are more than variable. However I have tasted good bottles of the 1959. So, if you are planning to buy any, please do so with some caution.

Since the dynamic duo of Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derenoncourt began making the wines, they have continued improving. All one has to do is taste the wines produced at Chateau Larcis Ducasse today and compare the younger wines against the older, pre-2003 vintages to see the difference.

2005 is the best vintage Larcis Ducasse has produced yet. Although 2009, 2010 give it a run for its money and 2015 and 2016 are not far behind. The wines are rich and opulently textured with ripe dark berries, anise, spice and minerality. They have the ability to age and improve. Prices remain fair for a Right Bank estate of this high level of quality.

On average, the production is close to 4,000 cases of Larcis Ducasse per year. There is a second wine, Murmure de Larcis Ducasse.

When to Drink Chateau Larcis Ducasse, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Larcis Ducasse is much better with at least 10-15 years of aging in good vintages. Young vintages can be decanted for 2-3 hours, or more. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Larcis Ducassef offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 12-35 years of age after the vintage.

Serving Chateau Larcis Ducasse with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips

Chateau Larcis Ducasse is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Larcis Ducasse is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Larcis Ducasse is also good when matched with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, salmon, mushrooms, pasta and of course cheese.