Chateau Ducru Beaucaillou
Annual Production (Grand Vin)
Deuxième Crus (Second-Growths)
La Croix de Beaucaillou
The château’s name derives from “beautiful stones” reflecting the unique terroir, a mix of gravel and limestone peppered with large eye-catching fragments of shining quartz and slate in the topsoil.
The Borie family have strong wine credentials, also owning châteaux Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Haut-Batailly. They also possess considerable business acumen, with smart, forward-thinking branding strategies that have seen Ducru Beaucaillou’s rock and roll credentials boosted by a wonderfully ornate bespoke design by Jade Jagger for the label and casing of its 2010 prestige cuvée Croix de Beaucaillou, a special holiday edition of its second wine. The strategy proved to be a particularly astute one- a Melchior of the vintage raised more than €10,000 at auction in China, an extraordinary achievement and one which highlights why the Borie family have been loath to categorise it as a ‘second wine’.
In terms of the Grand Vin and of the Ducru Beaucaillou brand in general, it is considered a Super-Second and critics have argued that in the event of a reclassification, the château would likely be promoted to a Premier Cru. The estate’s reputation is rising and maintaining a 25th place spot on the Liv-Ex power 100 2017 with the influx of Burgundy and New New World wines, speaks volumes.
Ducru Beaucaillou is today a byword for quality wine with a history of many vintages whose quality comfortably competes with any First-Growths in the Médoc region and whose character is quintessentially Saint-Julien in style. This is a winemaker at the top of its game: in the 10 years leading up to 2018, 6 vintages received a socre of 96 or higher. The 2009 and 2010 vintages are among the finest ever to have been produced at the estate, with the former gathering the much-coveted ‘perfect’ 100-point score from Robert Parker Jr. in 2011. He also said that "the 2009 will eclipse the fantastic wines produced here in 2005, 2003 and 2000". Ducru Beaucaillou is oft stubborn and closed in its youth, usually yielding its powerful secrets after 10 years of careful cellaring, with a lifespan of at least 10-30 years.
The château has its roots in the 17th century when it was part of the then much larger Château Beychevelle, eventually being sold off as part of a debt payment. The estate stayed in the family through the years to the 1855 Classification, in which it was ranked as a Second-Growth, but was sold shortly afterwards, entering the hands of the Johnston family. Belt-tightening around the Depression and Great War led to Ducru Beaucaillou being sold a number of times, until it finally fell to the Borie family in 1941, in a sorry and dilapidated state. The family worked hard to renovate and augment the estate with the acquisition of a substantial tract of land from neighbouring Château Lagrange. Though their stewardship has been of great benefit to the wine-making here, their tenure has not been without hiccups- in the 1980s cellar contamination left some vintages undrinkable and knocked the château’s reputation. These problems are now consigned to the pages of history and the name Ducru Beaucaillou is now synonymous with quality.