It is said that the great St-Julien estate of Ducru-Beaucaillou is usually the property that challenges both Léoville-Las Cases and the Medoc first-growths in quality each year.
The secret to their remarkable consistency according to the cellar master, is strict selection and conservative viticultural practices. They have employed the famous French oenologist, Emile Peynaud, as a consultant since 1953.
The privileged position of the vineyard on the banks of the Gironde should be underlined. This is a climatic advantage which is at the heart of the Médoc expressions according to which the best properties are << those which look upon the river.>> This stretch of water with its tidal flow, generates light breezes, which warm the air and eliminate the risk of spring frosts and in general moderate the climate in the immediate area. Also because of the high density of vines the roots go down 6-7 meters where they can easily find water supplied by the river even in the worst droughts.
The château is one of the relatively few Médoc crus classes permanently inhabited. It was built facing the river like other châteaux, as in the old days people used to travel by river, and the roads weren't built till much later. Its large size can be partially explained by the unique fact that the cuvier and the cellars lie beneath the house. In the eighteenth century it was just called Beaucaillou, (which means beautiful pebbles) and was owned by a M. Bergeron, but by 1795 it was in the hands of M. Bertrand Ducru who built the elegant, long, central part of the château on top of the the superb vaulted cellars dating from the early 17th century. The château remained in the hands of this family till 1866, by which time it was known as Ducru-Beaucaillou. The Johnstons family who purchased it further enlarged it through the additions of two square Victorian towers at either end. While the estate consists of 210 ha's only 50ha's are actually under vine.
The château is currently owned by Jean-Eugène Boric. He inherited it from his father, who purchased the estate in 1941. Under his direction the quality of the wine has risen to such an extent, as to challenge those of the first growth.
Second label: La Croix-Beaucaillou.
Area under vines: 50ha.
Vines per ha.: 10,000.
Av. prod.: 16,500.
Distr. of vines.: 1 parcel.
Added yeasts: To the first tank.
Length of maceration: 15-21 days.
Temp. of ferm.: 30C.
Control of fermentation: Thermoregulation.
Type of Fermentation vats: Concrete.
Age of casks: 20-50% new oak.
Time in cask: 18-20 months.
Fining: Egg whites/ 6 per barrel.
Type of bottle: Bordelaise
Bottled at the chateau: 100%
Grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon-65% , Merlot-25% , Cabernet Franc-5% , Petit Verdot-5%.
Average age: 10-38 years.
Av. yield per ha.: 40-55hl.
STORAGE: 10-30 years.
SERVICE TEMPERATURE: 17C.
FOOD / CONSUMPTION: They are a perfect complement to lamb, veal, poultry and delicate game.