Château Larcis Ducasse
The south-facing slopes that lie against the edge of the limestone plateau of St Emilion, just to the south of the town, have proved their worth in recent years. Although there is an impressive gathering of châteaux up on the hard calcaire à astéries that lies beneath and around the town, those who know the wines of St Emilion have long regarded this slope of limestone and clay, the Côte de Pavie, as special. This belief has, over the years, been reinforced by the St Emilion classification, perhaps most notably in 2012. Without a doubt the biggest surprise of the new classification was the elevation of two châteaux to premier grand cru classé, level A, one of which was of course Château Pavie, the other Château Angelus. Their elevation did tend to overshadow other promotions made in the new classification, one of which was also on the Côte de Pavie. This was Château Larcis Ducasse, promoted from grand cru classé to premier grand cru classé, level B.
The success at Château Larcis Ducasse must surely be attributable to the work of Nicolas Thienpont, a cousin to Alexandre Thienpont of Vieux Château Certan and Jacques Thienpont of Le Pin. He is not, however, the proprietor, although this is perhaps an easy mistake to make. This responsibility in fact falls to the Gratiot family, who have (very sensibly it would seem) drafted in Thienpont to run the show.
This profile looks at the history of this estate, leading up the beginning of this very profitable relationship between the Gratiot family and Thienpont, which was formed as recently as 2002. The story begins much earlier though, back in the late-18th century.
The history of Château Larcis Ducasse can be traced back to at least the 18th century, as documents from 1777 inform us of the existence of the property, and also clearly indicate that there was ongoing viticulture on the estate. The wines were at that time being purchased by the Libourne négociant Pierre Beylot, a name that has cropped before on these pages. The documents held by Beylot et Fils also provide us with the earliest references for Château La Gaffelière and Château Canon-la-Gaffelière, among others.