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Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou is named after the beautiful, large stones found in its unique wine-growing terroir. This exceptional ecosystem produces fine, elegant, tasty wines, with a long finish – in short, archetypal Saint-Julien wines.
Perched on an exceptional site with incomparable views over the Gironde estuary, in the centre of a hundred-year-old park, Ducru-Beaucaillou is a majestic, Victorian-style castle, which has, over time, become one of the great symbols of the Médoc. Unusually for Bordeaux, it is built directly above the barrel cellars, enveloping its owners, who have lived here for over sixty years, in the sumptuous aromas of their wine.
Today, the estate is managed by the company Jean Eugène Borie SA, which is owned by Mrs Borie, her daughter Sabine Coiffe and her son Bruno-Eugène, CEO since 2003, the third generation of the Borie family to head the estate.
There are very close links between this estate and the five families who have been its successive owners.
The grapes are all harvested manually. They are sorted in the vines on mobile tables to avoid contact between unhealthy and healthy grapes during transport to the vat room.The vinification of each plot is done individually to optimise the choice of blends. Moreover, the fermentations are carried out separately and customized to take account of terroir, grape variety and vintage characteristics. We generally operate gentle extraction and keep the must at traditional temperatures with moderate lengths and frequencies of pumping-over.The press drains off continuously into barrels to facilitate the selection of the press-wine batches. Malolactic fermentation is managed in vats for optimal control.
The wine is barrelled in duly identified individual batches immediately after malolactic fermentation. Blending takes place during the first racking operation; for Ducru Beaucaillou, between 50 and 80% of new barrels are used according to the richness of the vintage. The barrels (225L Bordeaux barrels, French oak) are supplied by 5 carefully selected cooperages giving every guarantee. The wine is matured for 18 months in accordance with Medoc traditions for classified growths. Bottling is performed with special care in regard to both oenological controls and homogenisation of the overall batch. The 5 cork makers supplying the estate have signed a detailed and stringent quality charter.
97 points Wine Spectator
(#28 on the Top 100 Wines of 2006) Intense aromas of blackberry, currant and cherry. Full-bodied, with masses of big, velvety tannins and a finish that lasts for minutes. A blockbuster. A classic big, juicy claret. Best after 2012. (3/ 2006)
94 points James Suckling
Ripe currants, spices, and blueberries on the nose. Full bodied, with big chewy tannins and a juicy finish. This still needs time. Pull the cork after 2014. Find the wine. (3/ 2011)
94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Deep garnet colour with a hint of purple. Opulently spiced, dark fruit nose of black cherries, plum pudding, cinnamon, cloves and a little tar. The palate gives good support to the fleshy fruit with medium+, fine tannins and medium acidity. Medium to full body and a long finish. Drink now to 2020+. Tasted March 2009. (5/ 2009)
92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Ruby-red. Sexy nose offers superripe currant, raspberry, graphite and coconut. Lush, very rich and fine-grained, with an almost confectionery sweetness and thickness for this St. Julien. Atypically powerful on the back end, but not hard. Bruno Borie took over direction of this property with the 2003 and immediately switched to a heavier bottle with a longer neck that could accommodate a 55-millimeter cork. A terrific showing-but I'd still give this wine another four or five years of aging. (6/ 2006)
2003 was the hottest vintage ever seen in Bordeaux. The most successful châteaux have passed their exceptional 2000s and some claim to have made their greatest wines in living memory.
Very dry and extremely hot summer days and nights (16 days > 95°F compared to 2 in 2000, 6 in 2005, 4 in 2009). Need to eliminate the superscript here. I can't figure out how to do it.) The deeply colored reds, low acidities and high tannins are a departure from the classic Left Bank profile. St.-Estèphe and Pauillac are the most successful. The reds have largely reached their peak. It remains a controversial vintage, with opinions sharply divided as to its intrinsic quality. The white grape harvest began in mid-August. Rich, fatty whites, some acidified, not for long storage.
The extreme summer heat presented winemakers with a significant challenge. Sugar levels increased dramatically in late summer as some growers took the plunge and harvested early to preserve acidity. However, winemakers who waited until their grapes were fully ripe were rewarded with rich, concentrated, dark-colored wines displaying astonishing depth of fruit and plenty of complexity.
Generally speaking, the great wines of 2003 come from the northernmost communes of the Médoc: and in particular from Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe. Highlights include Lafite, Latour, Pichon Baron, Montrose and Cos d’Estournel. Quality was more uneven in the south of the Médoc although Château Margaux, true to form, produced one of the wines of the vintage.
The right bank properties of St Emilion and Pomerol, where temperatures were even warmer, produced inconsistent wines and volumes were massively reduced. Vieux Château Certan, which usually produces 4,000 cases per year, only produced 800 last year. Estates that have resisted this model and produced exceptional wines include Figeac, Ausone, Fetyit Clinet and Angelus.
Graves and Pessac-Lèognan fared better, but many châteaux produced wines that were alcoholic and expansive, but lacked the fresh, linear fruit core that distinguished the best of 2003. The exceptions are Haut-Bailly, the powerful and concentrated Domaine de Chevalier, and of course the thoroughbred stable of wines from Haut-Brion and La Misson Haut-Brion.