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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.


RED 2021 Château Ducru Beaucaillou 75cl £954 per case of 6 Château Ducru Beaucaillou
2021 / / 75cl
£954 per case of 6
Tasting Notes"98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot. Record proportion of Cabernet in the blend. Cask sample. Deep, bright purple hue. Elegant cedar, dark-fruit and cassis nose. Lovely depth of fruit, velvety texture, abundant but polished tannins and lingering freshness. Drives on the finish. A well-groomed thoroughbred. Pure, precise and long and a little more classic than recent years. 12.5%. Drink 2030 – 2050. 17.5 points" (JL)------"The 2021 Ducru-Beaucaillou was picked at around 24hL/ha and matured in 100% new oak for 18 months, as is customary. It takes time to unfold in the glass, revealing intense blackberry, raspberry, iris flowers and a touch of spice. Very precise, though as expected, more understated than previous vintages. The palate is medium-bodied with a sappy, saline entry and good grip. Classic in style, fanning out toward the finish, and briny on the aftertaste. This is a fascinating, almost old-school Ducru-Beaucaillou. 94-96 points" Neal Martin,"A wine that will delight Médoc purists, the 2021 Ducru-Beaucaillou is a blend of fully 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Merlot and checks in at a mere 12.5% alcohol. Unwinding in the glass with aromas of dark berries, cigar wrapper, violets, loamy soil and spices, it's full-bodied, layered and velvety, with superb depth at the core, lively acids and powdery tannins. Complete and penetrating, it's a true classic, reminiscent of a modern-day version of Ducru's brilliant 1996—though today's precision winemaking means that the 2021 is unlikely to go through so long a hibernation as that vintage. 94-96 points" William Kelley,"Plush depth to the savoury black fruit, with the highest ever level of Cabernet Sauvignon in this wine, and it's a stand out in the vintage. Not the exuberance that you find in the most recent years of Ducru, but it is excellent, with a creaminess to the cassis fruit alongside rose petal and peony aromatics. Sculpted and seductive, with the austere tannins that are a signature of the year. 100% new oak, IPT 100. 96 points""Firm, structured and pure with a cool and solid core of dark currants, blackberries, tar, pencil lead and bitter chocolate. Hints of tobacco, too. Firm but silky tannins. Very pure, with a long, mineral finish. Intense and very focused. 98% cabernet sauvignon and 2% merlot. 96-97 points""The 2021 Ducru-Beaucaillou is a pretty significant departure from the past, as it is nearly pure Cabernet Sauvignon. A deep, aristocratic wine, the 2021 possesses remarkable intensity from start to finish. Inky dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate and leather are some of the myriad nuances that develop with some aeration. The 2021 is so well balanced. The 100% new oak, often quite dominant in Ducru en primeur, is so well integrated, likely because lower alcohol extracted less oak imprint. The 2021 is a drop dead gorgeous wine, and a Ducru for the ages. Superb. 96-98 points" Antonio Galloni,

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