The estate Château Ducru-Beaucaillou was purchased by Francois Borie in 1941 and has remained in the family since then. The family also owns other estates, Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and Château Haut-Batailley.
Ducru-Beaucaillou produces two wines. The grand vin called Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, and a second wine produced since 1995 called La Croix de Beaucaillou. The wines are aged for 18 months in 50% to 80% new oak barrels according to the richness of the vintage, fined with egg whites, lightly filtered, and then bottled. Wine writer Jay McInerney wrote “Ducru has always been a wine of finesse rather than sheer brute power, a kind of Burgundian Bordeaux.”
The 1996 Ducru-Beaucaillou is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot harvested from the 23rd of September to the 8th of October. Medium brick colored, it delivers mature notes of sweaty leather, camphor, tobacco and dried mulberries with a core of kirsch, charcuterie and dried cranberries plus a waft of sandalwood. Medium-bodied, the palate has fantastic freshness with a light chewiness to the texture and loads of herbs spark red and black fruits, finishing earthy. [93 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown – August 2020, robertparker.com]
I tasted the 1996 Ducru Beaucaillou on four separate occasions from bottle in January. The 1996 is long, with a deep mid-palate. It also reveals tannin in the finish. This wine is remarkable. It is muscular, concentrated, and classic. Bottled in late June, 1998, it exhibits a saturated ruby/purple color, as well as a knock-out nose of minerals, licorice, cassis, and an unmistakable lead pencil smell that I often associate with top vintages of Lafite-Rothschild. It is sweet and full-bodied, yet unbelievably rich with no sense of heaviness or flabbiness. The wine possesses high tannin, but it is extremely ripe, and the sweetness of the black currant, spice-tinged Cabernet Sauvignon fruit is pronounced. This profound, backward Ducru-Beaucaillou is a must purchase. It will be fascinating for readers who own the 1996 to follow the evolution of this exceptional vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2035. [96 Points, Robert Parker Jr. – April 1999, robertparker.com]