The last affordable Larcis Ducasse? I'm glad it's not.
En primeur the Château Larcis Ducasse 2004 was 'just' 25 euro, I bought the wine two years later in a French hypermarket for only € 26,50 (i.e. before the start of the Foire-Aux-Vins). The 2005 belongs to a totally different league: this vintage showed the freaky price jump of 75 euros to € 100,- per bottle. An unprecedented leap, and the result of a perfectly marketed super-vintage, combined with the exceptional ratings for this Larcis Ducasse 2005. Most well-known tasters were enthusiastic, and the Americans were most passionate about this Grand Cru Classé de Saint-Emilion from the hands of the talented Stéphane Derenoncourt. It was Robert Parker who had already picked out the Larcis Ducasse 2004 as a very successful wine, and a year later the 2005 was given the top rating of 95-98, which he later even revised into 96-100. James Suckling (from Wine Spectator) had directly honoured the 2005 with the ultimate score: 95-100 points. Well, the effect of these scores were clear: the 2005 vintage got more or less out of reach for most of us.
But luckily, the Larcis Ducasse 2004 is not the latest affordable vintage: with the 2006 the owners showed that they can also bring down the price: the 2006 en primeur is priced an acceptable € 38,-. Although my estimate is that lots of 2006 prices will in future Foire-Aux Vins have come down (more about that subject later), I think the Larcis Ducasse 2006 will maintain its price. Personally I found this wine one of the recommendations within the large 2006 fleet.
Back to the 2004, I tasted it yesterday. Impression I. Dark wine with a dark-fat nose, clearly quite some concentration. The just opened bottle exhibits firmness, a wine with a bite, with tough acids. And yet the texture of the Larcis Ducasse is - already - fairly soft.
Impression II. Wine has breathed and warmed up a bit (it came straight from the cellar). Nose is showing seductive, vital red fruit - depth with some nice cassis-alike sweetness. Intense. On the palate the wine has gotten more and more unctuous, but with good grip. It is rich, 'well-filled' and quite powerful, without being harsh. The acids nicely kick in as the finish commences. I would not call this wine elegant, or utterly refined (at least not in this stage). This is what I would define as very attractive youthful strength. Absolutely delicious.
For those readers who are interested in seeing more 2004 tasting notes: I recently created a Bordeaux 2004 Revisited page on Bordoverview. It contains a growing number of tasting notes for this classic and often very enjoyable vintage.