Ducru Beaucaillou is a famous second growth on the Left Bank located in the commune of Saint-Julien and close to the banks of the Gironde river. This ideal location means a perfect micro-climate, which prevents incoming frost, hail, and other weather caprices from attacking the vineyard.
It's one of the top wines in Bordeaux, typical for St. Julien with its classy elegance and refinement, power, and concentration. In recent vintages, Ducru Beaucaillou has been of 1. Growth quality.
There are 75 ha planted with 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, with 50 ha near the property accommodating very old vines. The soil consists of quartz pebbles, marl, and gravel.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot make the blend at Ducru Beaucaillou. Old vintages had Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot (10%) in the blend, but since the late 1990s, they were discarded.
The Borie family owns Ducru Beaucaillou, and the man in charge is Bruno Borie, who has been at the helm since 2003 and put an enormous workload to keep the property producing outstanding wines.
The tasting notes listed below, except 2021, 2020, 2018, 2017, 2011, and 1946, are from the vertical of 26 vintages from this property, which took place in Copenhagen in November 2022. Wines for the vertical were purchased in Danish wine shops and European auctions.
Thanks to my friend, Ivar Bjurner, for organizing this memorable vertical!
Vertical of 26 vintages in Copenhagen - November 2022
2022 (barrel sample) 98-99p
Tasted in April 2023. 81% Cabernet Sauvignon + 19% Merlot. 14% alcohol. Very aromatic and aristocratic on the nose, with aromas of black fruit, tobacco leaf, and graphite, intense yet elegant and sophisticated on the palate, vibrant, great complexity, big tannin, and mega long aftertaste. Great effort for the vintage.
2021 (barrel sample) 96p
Tasted in September 2022 in Copenhagen. 98% C. Sauvignon and 2% Merlot, 12.5% alcohol. It was not tasted during primeur week in April 2022, but luckily for me, it was offered to taste at the Beyerman tasting in Copenhagen in September 2022. Very aromatic and aristocratic on the nose, with aromas of tobacco leaf, cigar box, and winter truffle, highly intense yet elegant and sophisticated on the palate, vibrant, silky, grained tannin, and a long aftertaste. Extraordinary effort for the vintage.
2020 (barrel sample) 98+p
Tasted in May 2021 in Copenhagen. 81% C. Sauvignon + 19% Merlot. 13.5% alcohol. Very classic for the commune, dense and tight, refined, finesse, sophisticated, riveting structure, and spectacular complexity. Luscious fruit and exquisitely grained tannin, superb mid-palate, perfect balance. Classy and stylish. It was slightly under the extraordinary performance of 2018, but I won’t be surprised if it improves further after aging and bottling.
Tasted twice - last time in April 2021 in Copenhagen. Consistent notes. 85% C. Sauvignon + 15% Merlot. It was a giant of a wine, which combined perfectly power and elegance, and was incredibly well-constructed and complex with riveting structure. Creamy fruit and exquisitely grained tannin, perfect balance. Classy and stylish. As eternal as it promised to be from the barrel. It must be the best wine from this property in recent times I've ever tasted!
Tasted in September 2022 in Copenhagen. 90% C. Sauvignon + 10% Merlot. Very fragrant on the nose with blackcurrants and blackberries, cedar and leather, and black truffle. Vibrant and elegant on the palate with silky berries and grained tannin. Aristocratic and delicate with a long and caressing finish. Deliciously superb effort.
Tasted in November 2022. 85% C. Sauvignon + 15% Merlot. Big scaled, intense nose of cassis and blackberries, potent on the palate with a strong backbone and excellent structure. Great mid-palate, depth, and acidity. The perfect combination of power and elegance added a nice portion of nobility. A fabulous wine with a long life ahead.
Tasted in November 2022. 90% C. Sauvignon + 10% Merlot. This vintage was quite a nice vintage on the Left Bank. Wines full of charm, ripe fruit, softness, silky tannins, and lingering finish. Easy drinking and perfect ones as restaurant wines. Enjoy them early while waiting for the big, long-lived vintages. Ducru Becauillou 2012 fits just perfectly in this description!
Tasted in November 2014. 85% C. Sauvignon + 15% Merlot. Intense blackcurrants, tobacco, wet stones, and black truffle on the nose. Broad-shouldered wine with splendid depth, richness, backbone, and long aftertaste. It had delicate elegance as well. Meaty aftertaste. Very classy and stylish wine.
Tasted in November 2022. 90% C.Sauvignon + 10% Merlot. Not as powerful as expected. Merely on the elegant side with finesse, sophisticated touch, and great complexity. Excellently structured with fine midpalate and impeccable balance. A delicacy right now, but I'm sure you can keep it for many years, and I am sure it will develop for the better when it reaches the age of 20-25 years.
Tasted twice - last time in November 2022. Consistent notes. 85% C. Sauvignon + 15% Merlot. It had intense black fruit, crushed rocks, and leather on the nose. Aromatic, full-bodied, strong structure, and a splendid interplay between ripe black fruit and smooth tannins. Long aftertaste. This was from the barrel tasted in April 2010. 96p. 12.5 years later, it still impressed a lot and gained even more complexity and a more subtle taste. Fabulous effort! 98p.
Tasted in November 2022. 85% C. Sauvignon + 15% Merlot. Graphite, red meat, mineral, and black truffle on the nose. Well-assorted on the palate with fine structure, midpalate, and complexity. Concentrated fruit and big tannin. It needs more than ten years to soften and reveal its fine qualities.
Tasted in February 2022. 77% C. Sauvignon + 23% Merlot. Quite similar to 1996 in terms of style. Intense nose of cassis, graphite, and cigar box. Juicy, lively, and compact on the palate with strong tannin, marked acidity, and persistent finish. Youthful wine will soften and flourish more in 5-10 years.
Tasted in November 2022. 80% C. Sauvignon + 20% Merlot. Scorching weather in August and September in Bordeaux. Early harvest. Over 40 degrees C in August. Ducru Beaucaillou made quite good wine despite the heatwave. Spicy, slightly warm fruit but not burned or roasted. No taste of licorice. Silky fruit and tannin, nice structure and complexity, and mellow finish.
Tasted in November 2022. 70% C. Sauvignon + 30% Merlot. Very intense on the nose with ripe blackcurrants, tobacco, red meat, and truffles, Potent and concentrated, it has a strong backbone and depth and excellent midpalate and structure. It is sophisticated and rich. Simply an outstanding effort and wine with an enormously long live-span.
Tasted in November 2022. 75% C. Sauvignon + 25% Merlot. Very compact, very Cabernet Sauvignon, lot of cassis, cedar wood, tobacco leaves, and black truffles on the nose. Juicy and refined on the palate with fine depth and strong structure. Long and meaty finish. Still youthful and full of great potential.
Tasted in November 2022. 65% C. Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% P. Verdot and 5% C. Franc. This vintage was better on the Right Bank than the Left Bank, as Cabernet Sauvignon had problems gaining perfect maturity. This wine provided nicely constructed wine with good fruit, slightly harsh tannin, and a raw finish. Maybe this wine needs time to soften.
Tasted in November 2022. 65% C. Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% P. Verdot and 3% C. Franc. Elegant, polished, fruity, nicely constructed, and with nice complexity. A bit lightweighty with tasty back fruit and soft tannin, and it lacked more depth and length to be a better wine.
Tasted in November 2022. 65% C. Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% P. Verdot and 5% C. Franc. I did expect much more from this bottle. Light with lovely fruit. Quite smooth and soft on the palate with delicate tannins. Nice complexity and length. It lacked some vigor. OK effort, but the one here won't stay pinned in your memory. Probably a bottle of questionable provenance, meaning not being correctly stored.
Tasted in November 2022. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. This wine had kept well, but the fruit began to dry out a bit, and the tannin tasted stern. It lacked some freshness and will not improve with further cellaring, so drink it up pretty soon.
Tastd in November 2022. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. I was in Bordeaux during the harvest, and the weather was beautifully sunny and warm for a month. This vintage produced huge yields, but you generally don't find wine dilution. Graceful, finesse, sheer elegance, and perfect balance. This fitted more than nicely to Ducru Beaucaillou, who had aromatically scented blackcurrants and cherries, black truffle, leather, tobacco on the nose, and a velvety palate with a smooth finish.
Tasted in November 2022. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Tricky vintage because of the high humidity and rain in August. Spicy berries on the nose, black truffle, earthy and very tobacco with minerality. On the light side, with some plums and aged cherries, one can feel the fruit's and tannin's dryness.
Tasted in November 2022. 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Very impressive and stylish wine with plenty of intense blackcurrants, morello cherries, added scent of oiled leather, and black truffle. Rich, creamy fruit, grained tannin, mineral, depth and complexity, structure, and midpalate. Exceptional effort!
Tasted in November 2022. 65% C. Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% P Verdot and 3% C. Franc. This was a great treat, and one had to think about what would have happened if the frequent rains didn't fall during the beginning of the harvest because this vintage had the potential to be a true copy of the 1961 vintage. Rich, great nose of tobacco leaves, cigar box and black truffles, great complexity, and fine midpalate. Stylish, refined, and just superb effort.
Tasted in November 2022. 65% C. Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 7% P. Verdot, and 3% C. Franc. It was similar to 1976 in all aspects, maybe a bit fresher on the palate than 1976, and without the touch of heat.
Tasted in November 2022. 65% C. Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% P Verdot and 5% C. Franc. It had a delicate nose of black blackcurrants, ripe berry fruit, and a touch of heat on the palate. Good concentration, nice complexity, and a pleasant finish. Still keeping its strides well but won't get better with further cellaring. Therefore it should be consumed within the next 2-4 years.
Tasted twice - last time in November 2022. Not consistent notes. 65% C. Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% P. Verdot and 5% C. Franc. The bottle tasted in November 2022 was significantly better than the one tasted in February 2022. Fresher, potent, plenty of tasty fruit, lively, sophisticated, great structure, depth, balance, and long finish. Still capable of lasting for several years. The rating is for the bottle tasted in November 2022.
Tasted in November 2022. Not quite at the level of the 1970 version, but the 1971 vintage was better on the Right Bank, while 1970 was better on the Left Bank. Still fresh with a finely aromatic nose of blackcurrants and blackberries, fine acidity, balance, and fine structure. Less complex and less rich than in 1970, but more elegant.
Tasted in November 2022. 65% C. Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% P.Verdot and 5% C. Franc. Very intense and refined nose of ripe blackcurrants, multilayered and with great complexity on the palate. Rich, elegant, and with classy structure, lively and with a long aftertaste. This 54-year-old wine is at its peak now and will stay there for another 5-7 years or even longer. Superbly crafted one.
Tasted in November 2022. From magnum. 65% C. Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% P. Verdot and 5% C.Franc. Minty on the nose with cassis and black cherries, graphite, tobacco, and a flavor of grilled bacon. Fresh on the palate with tight structure, delicate complexity, and persistent aftertaste. At its apogee.
Tasted in November 2022. 65% C. Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% P. Verdot and 5% C. Franc. Sweet tobacco with black truffles on the nose, minty, elegant, and well-constructed on the palate, with a delicate, silky texture and lingering aftertaste. Pleasing and seductive 60 years old wine which had kept well!
Tasted in November 2022. 65% C. Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% P. Verdot and 5% C. Franc. It had an exciting nose of blackcurrants with some flavors of tobacco, graphite, and red meat thrown in the mix, superbly refined and complex, with great elegance and balance. Perfectly balanced with a persistent finish. A great bottle to taste!
Tasted in November 2022. 65% C. Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 5% P. Verdot and 5% C. Franc. Well-preserved fruit that tasted quite jammy, past its prime for a long time, and tired, slightly edgy tannin. Sadly, this bottle had probably traveled a lot, and its provenance was questionable.
Tasted in February 2022. A Bordeaux negociant bottling. It was surprisingly youthful on the nose and palate for its age (my birth year!), with sweet fruit, truffle aroma, great elegance, and finesse. Perfectly balanced with discreet tannin and acidity. A special and wonderful treat from an unheralded vintage!