1985 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml)
1998 Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien, Bottle (750ml)

The Journey of a “Super Second” Bordeaux - Ducru Beaucaillou

Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, steeped in history and tradition, stands as one of Bordeaux's most illustrious and deeply rooted Chateaux. With a rich heritage dating back to the 13th century, this "Super Second" estate holds a special place in the heart of the Medoc region. Today, under the visionary leadership of Bruno Borie, Ducru-Beaucaillou is unlocking its full potential and reaching new heights. Since assuming control of the estate in 2003 following his father's passing, Bruno Borie has achieved an impressive feat—earning six 100-point ratings for Ducru-Beaucaillou’s flagship wine. Without a doubt, Ducru-Beaucaillou is the pinnacle of Super Second estates, and there's no better time than now to indulge in their sensational wines. 

Roots and Legacy

The Borie family, with a storied history in Bordeaux dating back to the late 1800s, took the reins of Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou in 1941. Bruno Borie, who grew up within the Chateau's walls, has built upon his family's foundation of success. In 2003, Bruno initiated significant changes to elevate the quality of Ducru-Beaucaillou's wines. During his first vintage, the scorching 2003, he departed from conventional approaches, opting for a full canopy to shield the berries from direct sunlight. Since then, Bruno has embraced adaptable winemaking techniques and modern vineyard management practices. 

In Bruno's own words, "My first decision was to take stock of all viticultural and enological practices implemented at the domain, evaluate them, and identify those that had been abandoned over the recent past, so that with my new team we could define the technical route that seemed the most relevant to reach our ambition for excellence. We also conducted many vertical and horizontal tastings to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our wines and to consider avenues for improvement to the path of excellence. This led us to strengthen the selection." (Bruno Borie, Wine Advocate, August 2020) 

Bruno Borie's dedication to perfection extends beyond winemaking techniques. Upon his arrival, he faced a persistent challenge at the Chateau—TCA, or cork taint. This bacterial contamination affected Ducru-Beaucaillou's wines between 1989 and 1994. In 2011, Bruno launched a comprehensive review and remediation project, involving recorking, relabeling, and ensuring optimal fill levels. This meticulous process, known as "rebouche," ensures that all library releases from Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou bear the rebouche date on the cork, back label, and engraved into the glass bottle. Bruno's commitment to quality control knows no bounds. 

A Legacy of Innovation

Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou achieved a crowning moment in 1878 under the stewardship of Lucie Caroline Dassier and her husband, Nathaniel Johnston. They devised the first solution to Bordeaux's pervasive mildew problem, revolutionizing winemaking not only in Bordeaux but worldwide. Throughout its history, Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou has passed through the hands of six different families, including the Ducru family, who spearheaded the construction of the magnificent Chateau we admire today. 

Like many Bordeaux Chateaux, Ducru-Beaucaillou takes its name from its original owner. However, what sets Ducru apart is the addition of "Beaucaillou," which translates to "beautiful stones." This name pays homage to the large stones scattered throughout the vineyards of Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou.

Terroir and Vineyards

The stoney vineyards that grace Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou are comprised of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, with an average vine age of 35 years. Among its 185 acres, the Les Sadons plot stands as the heart and soul of Ducru-Beaucaillou, planted as far back as 1918. Its deep gravel soils and close proximity to the Gironde River create an exceptional terroir, ranking among the best in the Medoc. In 2018, Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou embarked on a journey towards 100% organic farming methods, further solidifying Bruno’s commitment to quality and innovation. 

A New Era of Excellence

Under the visionary leadership of Bruno Borie, Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou is soaring to unprecedented heights and out preforming its original 1855 classification. With an exceptional record of six 100-point wines since 2009, Ducru-Beaucaillou now rivals the esteemed First Growths in terms of quality. What's more, it surpasses them in value, making it a fine choice for collectors and connoisseurs alike. If you haven't joined the Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou bandwagon yet, seize the opportunity before it's too late!

Written by: Craig Headding

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