The 2012 Château Beauregard Ducasse Graves provides ample evidence as to why Graves enjoys the status as the first Bordeaux and why more importantly it remains a consummate favorite of connoisseurs. In classic Graves fashion the 2012 Château Beauregard Ducasse offers both flavor and finesse, without the searing tannins of its younger Médoc siblings. This Château Beauregard Ducasse displays a deep ruby robe and a delightful bouquet resplendent with enticing fruit and earth tones that make you wonder if the aroma alone isn’t worth the cost of the wine. Balanced and full of savory flavors that expand in the mouth, the medium-bodied 2012 Château Beauregard Ducasse is, in true Bordeaux fashion, a bit reticent upon first opening. With a bit of aeration, it offers up a delightful mélange of blackcurrant fruit, cedar, mineral, smoked herbs and a touch of toasted oak to frame the wine’s soft dry tannins. We suggest 30 minutes of aeration (preferably in a decanter) for this round red Graves to collect itself and strut its layer upon layer of flavor and innate complexity. In authentic Graves fashion, the 2012 Château Beauregard Ducasse provides the quintessential accompaniment to an elegant dinner party. It can be enjoyed now or laid down for additional ageing. For optimal enjoyment, we suggest serving this classic red Graves at cool room temperature (59°-64° F).
As a savory, supple red Graves, the 2012 Château Beauregard Ducasse truly shines at table. It graciously accompanies a myriad of well-prepared dishes from the simple to the sublime. Almost any veal dish, including Veal Pillows, tender cutlets of milk fed veal stuffed with cheeses and herbs, provide wonderful accompaniments to Château Beauregard Ducasse’s flagship red Graves. Almond Encrusted Pork Tenderloin, served with a dried cranberry and apple conserve and savory wild rice, offers another tasty complement. Cornish game hens and fine cuts of beef (think filet mignon) with roasted root vegetables offer equally rewarding pairings with this elegant, flavorful Graves. A platter of fine French and European cheeses makes for a simple but satisfying combination, without having to spend hours in the kitchen. Gouda, Munster, Port Salut, and Reblochon are just a few savory cheesed to enjoy with the 2012 Château Beauregard Ducasse. Bon appétit!
Marie-Laure and Jacques Perromat are the sixth generation to make wine at Château Beauregard Ducasse, as the family has been in possession of this venerable château since 1850. Located in the village of Mazères in the southernmost rural section of the Graves region on a bed of gravel (from which the name Graves is derived), this 27 acre estate produces exceptional red and white Graves. The majority of the estate’s production is white Graves from Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, while the superb red Graves of Château Beauregard Ducasse consists of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. In order to provide the highest quality wine, Château Beauregard-Ducasse produces two red Graves, which include an easy drinking wine meant for early consumption labeled Château Ducasse and this month’s feature, Château Beauregard Ducasse, which serves as the château’s flagship red. This château also fashions two fine white Graves wines, including Cuvée Albertine Peyri, a barrel fermented white Graves from the finest barrels of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.
Graves is the oldest and most historic of all the Bordeaux communes. Before Latour, Lafite, Margaux, and the rest of the well-known names of the Médoc even existed or had even seen a cultivated vine, there was Graves. In fact, Graves has been the home of cultivated vines since as early as the 1st century AD, due at least in part to the Romans’ inability to grow other crops in the graveled soil from which the name Graves is derived. The stone and gravel deposits are vestiges of the last Ice Age, a bane to most farmers but a boon to grape growers, whose vines struggle deep into the thin porous soil to draw life and subtle complex flavors from the nutrients below.
The wines of Graves appear to be the first Bordeaux wines to be exported, with archeological evidence that Roman garrisons in Britain were the happy recipients of Bordeaux’s quintessential wines. And by the early 12th century, Graves was the most sought after wine in England and beyond for its quality as well as its proximity to the city and port of Bordeaux itself, which lies just a few kilometers from Graves.
Today, the northern section of Graves called Pessac Léognon must battle the urban sprawl that has broken out of the confines of the city of Bordeaux and spread to the nearby suburbs of Talence and Pessac. A little south of these towns lies the pastoral heart of Graves, a pretty, rural country that includes La Brède and Mazères, where vineyards mingle with pastures and pine forests. Here, life remains wedded to the land and the joys of the vine.
Graves is rightly famous for both its red and white wines. At their best, the red wines of Graves are unsurpassed for their aromatic beauty as well as their smooth, rich flavors. Earthy fragrant aromas that resemble cedar, a classic cigar box scent, black currant, and tobacco emanate from red Graves and form a bouquet that is frequently described as enchanting and profound. Moreover, fine red Graves is often the supplest of Bordeaux on the palate. It is also the most flavorful and easily appreciated of all Bordeaux reds.
White Graves is a dry, very aromatic wine that emits great freshness, along with substantial flavor. Perhaps the greatest event in Graves in the last twenty years has been the revolution that has taken hold among the producers of white Graves. Once, an obscure and expensive proposition that did not always travel well, contemporary white Graves has taken on vigor, personality and even an exotic edge that underscores the physiological ripeness that was often absent in white Graves in years past. At their best, the finest whites Graves, like their red counterparts, rival the finest wines made anywhere in the world.
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