As I have written in the past, the 1981 vintage at Ducru-Beaucaillou is the great, sleeper vintage here in the decade of the 1980s and this is one of the top wines produced on the Gironde in ’81. This was the first time I had drunk it out of magnum and the wine is stellar in its larger format. The nose wafts from the glass in a youthful blend of sweet dark berries, cassis, cigar wrapper, a hint of the chipotles to come with further bottle age, a beautiful base of gravel, gentle fresh herb nuances and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, pure and beautifully balanced, with a great core of fruit, moderate, seamless tannins and outstanding length and grip on the focused and complex finish. There is absolutely nothing “off vintage” about the superb 1981 Ducru.
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