A fairly recent trip to Bordeaux saw me at Ducru Beaucaillou, with Bipin Desai by my side. It was great to see Bipin, especially in France, as he knows his way around a restaurant and a fine and rare winery or fifty. We were hosted by the dynamic Bruno Borie, owner of Ducru, who made us guess the vintage in each of the four flights featuring eight wines. It was a Noah’s Ark of a night, and all the animals were on their best behavior at the dinner table.
The first Ducru had a deep nose with noticeable oak, as well as cassis and purple fruit. Its fruit was fresh, but it was clear this was a bit brutish with its oak; otherwise, it was great. There was some acid here that integrated over time, and its finish was dry and gritty. The palate had a shot of dry cassis in this young and intriguing 2006 Ducru Beaucaillou (92).
The wine that was paired with it had deeper fruit and a nutty nose. There was real perfume here, and a sweet sex appeal. Its nose was certifiably in a great spot, and its palate was creamy, smooth and lush. There was good spice on its finish. This was a delicious wine with flashes of 1996 and 1982. Every time I have an ’04 claret nowadays, they’re freaking delicious, load up on the 2004 Ducru Beaucaillou for drinking (94).
The next flight began with a ‘much older’ wine. Its nose was nutty, too, and there were also great earth and cereal aromas, along with light game and Christmas spice. Its palate was round and oily with some brown sugar goodness. This was lush and voluptuous with light grit. The palate was stunningly delicious and also ‘elegant’ per Tom. It seemed like the right time to drink this 1995 Ducru Beaucaillou (95).
Where It All Begins
The 1995 was paired with – what else – but the 1996 Ducru Beaucaillou. There was more cinnamon here, along with Asian spice, but this was all about the red, red fruits. A splash of game rounded out the nose, and its palate was even lusher and sweeter. It felt like it was entering a long plateau of maturity. There was more spice and a touch of good prickle on its finish, which was also drier. Cherry ice cream flavors rounded out its palate, although one guest found it a ‘touch ripe’ (94).
Two by Two
The fifth wine of our merry evening had some bakery action in its nose with a dried Zin kick. Wood and wool were present, along with yeast and a touch of alley cat in a meeowww way. The palate was delicious again; this was a recurring theme throughout the evening. There were creamy half n half flavors, along with grape jam ones. This was round, rich, lush and pretty, and while the 2003 Ducru Beaucaillou was a little more obvious than the average Ducru, that was A-ok (93).
The ’03 was paired with a nose that had ”82 goodness,’ I wrote. It was nutty and creamy with rich earth and spice aromas, and a kiss of oak in a hot way. I really thought about this being an ’82 for a bit, but it turned out to be the 2000 Ducru Beaucaillou. This was class in a glass and a long and special wine. Its acid unfurled slowly yet surely and let everyone know this is a wine in it for the long haul. If you love claret, you should buy this wine whenever you see it, it should be double in price (96).
I believe it was the 2000 that led Bruno to remark, ‘A wine is a good companion that takes you by the hand down the sidewalk of pleasure.’ Well said.
In It For the Long Haul
The last pairing was a heavyweight matchup of the great young champions, 2005 and 2009. The 2005 Ducru Beaucaillou was like motor oil with a whiff of wood. This was a bake me a cake wine, showing sweet, thick batter batter batter batter tendencies. ‘Rich but over the top’ read my notes, there was so much ‘so much,’ it became a much wine. Vanilla cream flavors rounded out the finish. I’m not sure I can drink 2005s much earlier than 2020 (94+).
The 2009 Ducru Beaucaillou was super concentrated, so rich and another over the top wine. All I had left in me was ‘wow,’ and ‘not sure I can drink a whole bottle though… (yet).’(95).
It is tough not to include Ducru amongst the top wines of Bordeaux of the last decade. This was a spectacular showing for young Bordeaux by one of its greatest Chateaux. Bravo, Bruno.
In Vino Veritas,