Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou is named after the beautiful stones (beau caillou) found on the property. The ecosystem is responsible for producing elegant, fruity, fine wines that are typical of the Saint-Julien appellation.
Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou is located in the middle of a 100 year old park, with an exceptional view of the Gironde estuary. The chateau’s history dates back to the beginning of the 13th century. The family was purchased by the Bergeron family in 1720. It did not take long for the chateau to build a reputation for its wine, in France and abroad. Visitors from Sweden and even Scandinavia were recorded at the chateau.
Bertrand Ducru added his name to the castle after purchasing it in 1795. The chateau then became known as “Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou”. Paul Abadie, a Parisian architect was hired to renovate the residence. Before renovations, the owners lived just above the cellars inhaling the fumes of their wines just below. After investing heavily in the vineyard, Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou earned the status of Second Classified Growth.
After owning the estate for 71 years, the Ducru family sold the chateau in 1866 to Lucie-Caroline Dassier. Lucie was married to Nathaniel Johnston, a famous Bordeaux wine merchant. Johnston’s passion for wine was tangible and electric. He loved the Medoc region, and more specifically Saint-Julien. He was elected to represent the Medoc and was mayor from 1903-1905. He reorganized the vines and cellars of Ducru-Beaucaillou. Johnston also performed several experiments on different grape varieties and vine diseases.
Nathaniel re-married after the death of first wife. It was with the help from his second wife that the chateau became more U-shaped. The added wings were part of a renovation to make the chateau as elegant as the wine it produces.
Today the estate is run by Jean Eugene Borie SA. Mrs. Borie, her daughter Sabine and her son Bruno-Eugene, CEO since 2003, are the third generation of the Borie family to run the estate. It is one of the few chateau that has the owners who live on the estate.
Terroir: Synergy among the ecosystem
The grape varieties planted on the 245 hectare (of which 100 are used for vines) vineyard are Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) and Merlot (30%). On average, the vines are 35 years old and 6 meters deep. This depth allows the plants to penetrate the sub-soil to obtain nutrients when weather conditions are unpleasant. Harvest is done by hand, to ensure the highest quality wine. Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou has had a commitment to protecting and respecting the environment. In 1878, Johnston and his estate manager, Ernest David, created an anti-mildew soup. Bouillie bordelaise, or Bordeaux soup, is a mix of copper sulphate lime milk. It was an efficient antidote against mildew that destroyed vineyards. This antidote became world famous and has helped winegrowers for centuries.
The vineyards proximity to the estuary has a huge influence on the quality of the win. The large body of water acts as a temperature moderator. It stores heat in the winter and keeps the vineyard cool in the summer. The soil consists of gravel from the early Quaternary period and sand.
Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou: The wines
The wines of Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou perfectly embody the terroir of Saint-Julien: elegant, refined, and excellent ageing potential. The wines from Ducru-Beaucaillou have excellent potential for ageing. The chateau also produces a second wine: La Croix de Beaucaillou. All of the wines produced by the château are exceptional representations of the Saint-Julien terroir.