This is a tiny estate : 7 hectares . A family owned chateau for 9 generations . It was organized as a company ( a "societé civile" ) in 1963 with 40 shareholders from the extended descendants of the family .
Speaking about the Appellation, he says for a Grand Cru Classé, the vineyard has to be in one block . First, you have the generic St Emilion and the St Emilion Grand Cru . The latter app. is for the St Emilion wines wich age better . A selection committee decides wich is wich . And the 1st Grand Cru Classés are those of the Grands Crus Classés wich have their vineyard grouped in one block , and preserve the homogeneity in the soil nature of their estate . For the two upper Saint Emilion Appellations, the agreement stage is stricter than in other areas : There are two agreement sessions, with two tastings set : One at the beginning of the maturing stage and one at the end . The wine must also be bottled in the Chateau ( "mis en bouteille au chateau" ) . Another difference with other places : In St Emilion, the classification is reviewed every 10 years ( no revision elsewhere ) .
Chateau Beausejour-Duffau is one of the 13 st Grand Cru Classés of Saint Emilion . The vineyard has a southwest exposition, sitting on the gentle slopes of a hill, with Chateau Angelus visible at some distance . The tiny vineyard has a roughly 300 by 300 meter surface, with a plateau part, the slopes, and the hill's foot . The twin sister Chateau Beausejour-Becot is on the top of the hill . Clay-calcareous soil, then comes the rock . We look at the Merlot plot nearby : He says they do some topping and trimming, and thinning of the leaves . The green harvest will begin soon ( we were there 10 days ago ) .
We now head for the cellar . Great low ceiling galleries carved in the rock at the foot of the Chateau itself . Beautiful rooms and caves with old bottles ; the 40 shareholders keep their individual troves in this maze of low-lit interconnected cellars .
We head for the tasting room . Reds only...
__1 Chateau Beausejour-Duffau 1er Grand Cru Classé 2004 . From a cask . Liquorice nose . fresh . JMQ points to the balance between the nose and the tactile side in this wine . Tannins are fine for a 2004, without execcive power demonstration . Soft and round . Glides in the mouth . Fine textured tannins . Nice tasty wine . Mr Dubos says that having the luck to have a great terroir here , they let it express freely in the wine .
__2 Chateau Beausejour-Duffau 1er Grand Cru Classé 2003 . Bottled last week . Was a great tasting hit when samples were brought at Vinexpo, last june, in Bordeaux . JMQ says the chateau's style is there, even for this atypical 2003 millesime ( the heat wave year ) . Here, the terroir could somehow regulate the exceptional weather . Mouth : Good . Length . Substance . More balanced and even more powerful . Second part of the mouth comes faster . Here , he adds, we have a great year .
__3 Chateau Beausejour-Duffau 1er Grand Cru Classé 2001 . Great colour, someone says . I must concede I don't pay attention enough to the colour, the disk, etc... JMQ says there is some animal note in the nose that would have been erased, had we decanted the wine in the first place . Mr Dubos says that in general, he decants the wine when less than 10 years old , shortly before serving it . I don't mind the nose here personally . JMQ says the 2001 wines are usually refined on the right bank . Melted tannins . He shares a reflexion he heard some time ago : A great wine is a wine wich has everything...and nothing in excess . What to eat with the wine ? He suggests roasted meat ( rôti ) with potatoes, whatever way they are cooked : This pairs beautifully with these wines
This estate is not very well known, compared with its twin sister, and is less mediatized . Bottle price ( for 2003 ) is, after the negotiant and caviste intermediaries, about 55 Euro for the end customer .
As we left the estate , I shot another of these road mirrors [ picture above, right ] .