Peter Maude Fine Wines

2020, Château Beausejour Duffau-Lagarosse, SAINT-ÉMILION 1er Grand Cru Classé 'B'


Bordeaux Blend: Merlot, Cabernet Franc.

The 2020 Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse was tasted both as a sample sent to my home in the UK and then just a couple of days later at the château itself with new co-proprietor Joséphine Duffau-Lagarrosse. The assemblage is almost the same as Nicolas Thienpont’s but with an extra component: all the Cabernet Franc in the vineyard, representing 19% of the blend. Dark purple in colour, this has a perfumed, floral bouquet, scents of wilted iris flower and rose petal combining with the black cherry and black plum aromas. There is a subtle undercurrent of seaweed and shucked oyster shell. The palate is medium-bodied with lithe tannins and a little chalkiness to the texture (more so in the sample at the château). The palate is medium-bodied with fine-boned tannins, fine tension and acidity, and quite mineral-driven, leading to an almost pixelated, precise finish. This is a seriously fine debut from Joséphine Duffau-Lagarrosse. 93-95 Neal Martin, Vinous.

The 2020 Beauséjour (Duffau Lagarrosse) is showing well in bottle, offering up aromas of dark berries, plums, licorice, rose petals and spices framed by creamy new oak. Medium to full-bodied, layered and fleshy, with a rich core of fruit, lively acids and chalky structure, it was vinified by Nicolas Thienpont and his team, but Joséphine Duffau modified the final blend, which includes 19% Cabernet Franc and the balance Merlot. Tasted next to the 2018 and 2019, the 2020 is somewhat more restrained, but it is the end of a stylistic chapter rather than the beginning of a new one. 94+ William Kelley, Wine Advocate.

Deep garnet-purple in colour, the 2020 Beausejour (Duffau-Lagarrosse) wafts out of the glass with a glamorous perfume of red roses, kirsch, garrigue and black raspberries, giving way to a core of ripe blackberries and juicy black plums, plus earthy hints of truffles and tar. The medium to full-bodied palate is densely laden with loads of very finely packed and fragrant red and black fruit layers, framed by multilayered grainy and satiny tannin textures and amazing freshness, finishing fantastically long and mineral laced. 95-97 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate.

Takes time to fully show itself - perhaps more than ever this year, as there is so much noise surrounding an estate that was overseen during the growing season and vinification by the team under Nicolas Thienpont, but given its final blend by new owner Josephine Duffau-Lagarosse, who will also take care of ageing from this point. Things kick off with a raspberry and damson softness that is quickly overtaken by iris, peony, white rose aromatics, giving a push-and-pull between flowers and fruit on the attack. As the palate opens out, blueberry and raspberry fruits dominate, as do fennel and almond notes, giving a spicy kick before a saline-drenched mouthwatering finish. As ever with Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse, the wine combines delicacy with laser-like focus, and a build up of tannins that you barely notice until they kick back against the fruit. Takes a good few minutes before the softness that I found on the opening returns as the mid palate widens out, and the richly textured Merlot becomes dominant after a clear Cabernet Franc hit on the attack. It's going to be fascinating watching what happens over the next decade at this estate, but the quality and potential of this terroir is unmistakable. 97 Jane Anson, Decanter.

Dark and sultry, this is heady with ripe, perfumed fruits that dominate the palate giving vertical layers of freshness, acidity and fruit concentration. It has style to it, a sleekness to the texture, classy with a lovely core of juiciness. Still a little constricted with lots of liquorice and graphite on show and a touch of saltiness towards the finish. Really well worked, mouth-filling, weighty, intense, forward and energetic. It's bigger and broader in terms of frame and flavour than the 2019 – with floral, blood orange, blueberry and bramble fruit nuances, but carries the weight well, remaining focused. I love the expression, it's dark, cool, sleek and textured. Just a gorgeous delicious wine! 97 Georgina Hindle, Decanter. 

Drinking Window: 2027 - 2050

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