We will admit it up front. Ducru Beaucaillou ("beautiful pebbles" in French) is one of our favourite wines. This second growth in the 1855 Bordeaux classification is entirely dependable and wholly likeable. Hugh Johnson gives it four stars (his highest) and says "Outstanding Second Growth . . . classic cedar-scented claret." We agree.
The history of Ducru Beaucaillou dates back to the start of the 13th century. There have been many owners over that time, and many ups and even a few downs, but the estate has been in the hands of the Borie family for many decades now. Ducru Beaucaillou is also producing some of the best wine in its history today, and some of the best wine in St. Julien. The vineyard is large at 75 hectares, and is planted 70% to Cabernet Sauvignon with the balance to Merlot. The average age of the vines is over 35 years, with some approaching a century. One of the reasons the estate is producing such wonderful wines today is that they have reduced production of the "Grand Vin" and put the fruit which doesn't make the cut into other wines. In the 1980's, production of Ducru Beaucaillou was around 20,000 to 25,000 cases. Today, production is around two-thirds of that.
2009 was an excellent year in Bordeaux, and the 2009 Ducru Beaucaillou reflects that. Wine Spectator gives it 96 points and says: "Features plenty of flash and sizzle, with gorgeous, inviting mocha, espresso and chocolate notes up front, backed by a dense core of plum sauce, cassis, blackberry puree and blueberry reduction accents. Long, showing terrific polish, with a lovely lingering loam note and a buried singed apple wood edge that keeps everything driving through the finish. Best from 2016 through 2035."