Josephine Duffau Lagarrosse presents a barrel sample of 2021 vintage - April 2022
Pierre-Paulin Ducarpe bought this property in 1847, and before his death in 1869, he gave half of it to his son and half to his daughter. His son's part became Beau Sejour Becot, and his daughter's Beausejour Duffau Lagarrose, as she got married to a Duffau Lagarrosse male. So Beausejour Duffau Lagarrosse has been owned by the same family for more than 150 years.
Beausejour Duffau Lagarrosse is perfectly placed on the hill and slope just outside the village of St Emilion, and it's a close neighbour to Canon and Beau Sejour Becot.
There are 6.5 ha planted with 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc. Vines are, on average, 35 years old. The soil here is mainly clay on the bed of whole and crushed limestones.
This property got its moment of fame with the 1990 vintage, rewarded with a 100p rating by wine critic guru Robert Paker. It's also a benchmark of what BDL was capable of. I asked in May 1998, while visiting BDL, Jean-Michel Dubos, the winemaker at that time (since 1983), what made 1990 so stunning, and his answer was - "A heavenly combination of weather, quality of grapes, ripeness inside and outside the grapes and perfect chosen time of the harvest!".
After 1990, the property had a period of inconsistency. In 2009, Duffau Lagarrosse's heirs hired Nicolas Thienpont, David Suire, and famous oenologist Stephane Derenencourt to get the property back on track. The quality quickly improved during the reign of new winemaking staff. Vintages 2018, 2019, and 2020 echoed a great deal of the achievement in the 1990 vintage!
Nicolas Thienpont and David Suire continued until 2021, with 2019 as the last vintage made 100% by them. They initially also made the final blend of the 2020 vintage, but Josephine Duffau Lagarrosse decided to change it slightly.
In April 2021, Beausejour Duffau Lagarrosse was put on sale by the heirs of the late doctor Duffau Lagarrosse. After some early bids by the Cuvellier family from nearby Clos Fourtet and Stephanie Rivoal-Bouard from Angelus, it ended with Josephine Duffau Lagarrosse, a granddaughter of the previous owner, taking over the property in June 2021. She's 31 years old and worked before at one of Bernard Magrez's properties. Josephine Duffau Lagarrosse has financial backing from Clarins (a world-famous cosmetic company) investment fund run by her friend Prisca Courtin-Clarins. She's a very ambitious winemaker with many plans to get BDL even better quality-wise and get it higher in the revised classification, coming out in September 2022. It's been a PGCC "B" since 2006.
At its best, the wine here is heavier than most St. Emilion wines, meaning a more intense, concentrated, and decadent style. Multi-layered and sophisticated. Vibrant and luscious. A great delicacy to enjoy for many years.
2021 (barrel sample) 94-95p
Tasted in April 2022. 73% Merlot + 27% C.Franc, 13.5% alcohol. The vineyard here wasn't affected by frost. Harvest finished quite late in mid-October to get C. Franc perfectly ripe. This is the first vintage made 100% by Josephine Duffau Lagarrosse. She admitted that this vintage was incredibly challenging and hard to work with. Dark red, fresh, pure, Mineral, violets and roses, raspberries, C.Franc shined through, precise, focused, and superb midpalate, structure, and length. Quite an achievement for her first vintage, and a great future awaits!
2020 (barrel sample) 98+p
I tasted it together with 2019 and 2018 vintages in November 2021, and 2020 displayed more elegance and finesse than the older vintages but hasn't lost the intensity, complexity and vibrancy of its two older brothers/sisters. Fabulous mid-palate and superb finish. Fantastic effort. By the way, Josephine Duffau Lagarrosse changed the blend of 2020, initially made by Nicolas Thienpont and David Suire, and I tasted her blend.
Tasted in November 2022. I wrote in June last year following when tasting a barrel sample of 2019 BDL. "It's a beautiful effort! Great nose with remarkable intensity of black cherries, dark chocolate and cocoa powder, fleshy on the palate with high complexity and sophisticated touch, and luxurious and lingering finish. This wine oozes sheer class! 97-98p". From the bottle, it was identically impressive and got some elegance too.
Tasted twice in 2021 from the bottle. Consistent notes. It's a badass sublime wine. High-class nose with a riveting intensity of black cherries, grated chocolate and mocha, creamy on the palate with exquisitely grained tannin, extraordinary complexity, sophisticated touch and lingering finish for more than 60 seconds.
2017 (barrel sample) 95p
Tasted in April 2018. Fresh, oaky, with a lot of dark berries, juiciness and length. Silky tannin, elegance and splendid structure. Delicate complexity and persistent finish. Strong performance for the vintage.
2016 (barrel sample) 95p
Tasted in April 2017. Excellent nose of black fruit, velvety texture, excellent acidity, great composition, very complex and refined. Stupendous effort.
2010 (barrel sample) 96p
Tasted in April 2012. Great intensity of aromas of black cherries on the nose and palate, excellent purity, structure and length. Excellent effort.
Tasted in April 2012. Almost a twin brother of 2010. Less complex, however and without the grace and lusciousness of 2010.
Tasted in April 2012. I liked it a lot! Aromatic and deep nose of black cherries and raspberries. Sappy, vibrant long and complex, with fine acidity, structure and meaty finish.
Tasted in April 2003. Aromatic dark berries, splendidly composed, fine length and remarkable balance. It was a very stylish wine of the traditional school, and this wine can keep for many years.
This vintage is the birth year of the present owner, Josephine Duffau-Lagarrosse.
The bottle of this wine tasted in December 2016 was disappointing if you take its fame into context. I'd it a few times earlier, and it was much better with breathtaking complexity, richness, length and finish. Delicate complexity but not striking concentration and richness. I believe my bottle was closed on the tasting day or may be a bit faulty. To retaste again shortly!
Tasted in November 2018. A rich nose of black fruit, intense, thick on the palate, long, still fresh. Excellent balance and complexity. Smooth fruity finish. Vibrant and full of life. This was fabulous stuff! Chateau bottling.
A fantastic and sublime experience!