Growth: Second Growth (1855)
Owners: the Borie family
Visits: on working days, by appointment only
33250 St-Julien de Beychevelle
Tel: +33 (0)5 56 73 16 73
Fax: +33 (0)5 56 59 27 37
GPS: 45.1509N, 0.734W (45.150631725, -0.733851552)
Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou is named after the beautiful, large stones found on its land (beau=beautiful, caillou=stone). The estate boasts incomparable views over the Gironde estuary, in the centre of a 100-year-old park. The chateau itself has ben much-altered over the years, but maintains a distinctly Victorian feel. Unusually for Bordeaux, the chateau is built directly above the barrel cellars.
The estate’s history starts in the 13th century, once part of the Beychevelle estate.Sold in 1795 to Bertrand Ducru, the new owner added his name to the estate, becoming ‘Ducru-Beaucaillou’. Ducru’s daughter, Marie-Louise, married Antoine Ravez, a junior minister and member of parliament from 1816 to 1829. Legend has it that when he was Speaker of the French parliament, Ravez replaced the glass of water traditionally given to orators with some Ducru-Beaucaillou.
In March 1866, the Ducru family sold the castle to Lucie-Caroline Dassier for 1m francs. Dassier was the wife of famous Bordeaux wine merchant Nathaniel Johnston.
Two years after the death of his first wife, Nathaniel married Princess Marie Caradja of Constantinople (1845-1910), the daughter of Prince Constantine of Turkey. The pair called on architect Michel-Louis Garros to once again renovate the chateau, building two Victorian towers on the flanks of the building and a large conservatory along the north wing.
The Johnstons were forced to sell Beaucaillou to a wine merchant from the Médoc during the economic crash of 1929. After only 12 years, however, the estate was bought by Francis Borie. 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 – he is the third generation of the Borie family to head the estate.
‘Ducru-Beaucaillou has an exemplary reputation for its wines in years such as 1945, 1953, 1958 and 1961.’
Huge colour, lots of oak and tobacco leaf flavours, superb ripeness and very expressive, floral and fragrant with lots of flavour and length, will be excellent. 2010-30.
Delicate, smoky, toasty nose, classy oak. Medium bodied, supple, lovely texture, sleek, elegant, firm, ripe tannins, fine balance. Good length. Drink 2008-20.