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2021 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou En Primeur

Just released, 2021 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou is offered at £954 per six bottles in bond, a shade lower than the release price for the 2020. 

Visiting Ducru-Beaucaillou to taste en primeur has for some years been an eccentric highlight of the trip.  Bruno Borie's extrovert persona is writ large in the chateau's cellars, which have the feel of a louche nightclub, decorated with brightly coloured modern art. 

However, this year, as a welcome change, our tasting took place in a calming, stately drawing-room, entirely in keeping with the 2021 Ducru-Beaucaillou.  Restrained and beautifully balanced at just 12.5% alcohol, this is a welcome change, with a penetrating depth which wins plenty of praise from the critics, who score it potentially as high as 98 points.  Jeb Dunnuck ponders that it may be the wine of the vintage and Galloni describes it as "aristocratic", with the noble lines coming from the exceptionally high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon (98%).

This is yet another of those 2021s which does not have the blockbuster impact of recent vintages and (for us) is all the more likeable for it, reaching a new level of elegance.


Bordeaux En Primeur, landing in spring 2024.

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Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, St-Julien Grand Cru Classé

Producer Profile

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, St-Julien Grand Cru Classé

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou is a Deuxième Grands Cru Classé in St.-Julien.

One of the oldest estates in the Medoc, it dates back to the 13th century.  The second half of the name derives from the terroir, which is covered with large stones, 'beau-caillou', literally 'beautiful stones'.  Bertrand Ducru purchased the estate in 1795, adding his own name.  The property changed hands several times over the decades and was purchased in the 1940s by the Borie family (who also own Grand Puy Lacoste).

Bruno Borie took over in 2003 and has elevated the quality to the current high level, making this one of the 'super second' estates.  His personality is everywhere at the estate, including the distinctive pop art he installed in the cellars (tasting here feels a little incongruous, like visiting a rather louche nightclub).

The 75 hectares of vines are planted to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, averaging 35 years of age, at a density of10,000 vines per hectare. 

The second wine is La Croix Ducru-Beaucaillou (recently re-named, previously known as La Croix de Beaucaillou).  Lalande-Borie, a separate estate, ceased to exist from the 2018 vintage and has become in effect a third wine, Le Petit Ducru de Ducru-Beaucaillou.  Borie has managed production down from an average of 20,000 cases per annum in the 1980s to around half that today, just one aspect of his pursuit of quality.


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