The 1978 Ducru is one of the unequivocal successes from this vintage. The wine shows just a bit of the overt bell pepper tones of this year, which was “saved” by a brilliant Indian Summer that brought late-arriving ripeness to the grapes in what had looked for a long time like a vintage that was not going to be successful. I have drunk more than a case of the ’78 Ducru over the years and have enjoyed each and every bottle, but have noticed that the slightly “weedy” nature of the vintage has increased a bit in the last few years. The bouquet is deep and complex, offering up a tertiary blend of cassis, bell pepper, tobacco leaf, gravelly soil tones, a touch of coffee, fresh herb tones, cigar smoke and cedar. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and nicely balanced, with a good core, lovely complexity, melting tannins and a long, tangy and beautifully focused finish. The wine these days has a “cooler vintage” profile that I very much enjoy, as the slight weediness from the not quite ideal physiological ripeness of the ’78 vintage provides a character that is very much in keeping with claret from this and earlier epochs. Today, some palates may find this lovely wine just a touch “green”, but I find it absolutely enjoyable and it is a great success in the context of the vintage. (Drink between 2009-2030)
An outstanding 1978, Ducru-Beaucaillou's effort displays a fragrant, well-developed bouquet of licorice, earth, black currants, and underbrush. Rich for a 1978, with none of the vegetal character now found in many wines of this vintage, this fully mature, medium-bodied wine exhibits soft tannin, excellent concentration and purity, and a sweet, elegant finish. (RP)
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