2005 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, St Julien, Bordeaux

2005 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, St Julien, Bordeaux

Product: 20058008844
2005 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, St Julien, Bordeaux

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A Second Growth in 1855, Château Ducru-Beaucaillou regularly gives the First Growths a run for their money – especially since the arrival of third-generation owner Bruno Borie in 2003. Bruno never saw such an “easy vintage” as 2005, apparently: he considered every bunch “perfect”. Some 18 years on, this is only starting to come into its own, with the promise of spectacular things to come.

There are pronounced, complex aromatics of fresh black fruits, leather, liquorice, dried leaves and cigars, though this is only a hint of what further ageing will bring. This is a dense, mouth-filling Claret with a lot of structure, a real concentration of fruit and lively, refreshing acidity. Approach it now if you are that way inclined, though it will evolve wonderfully for decades yet.

Bruno is famed for his cooking, and this standout wine deserves a special dish: a côte de boeuf or grilled portobello mushrooms would work very well.

Drink now to 2050

Charlie Geoghegan DipWSET, Senior Copywriter, Berry Bros. & Rudd (October 2023)

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Critics reviews

Jane Anson98/100

A gorgeously silky, juicy and balanced glass of wine combines the elegant richness of sweet cocoa and blackberry with tons of power and a feeling of holding itself in check. This is signature St Julien, concentrated yet delicate, just an utterly lovely wine with good acidity, tannins that have melted into the rest of the structure and fruit that is still absolutely in control, followed by a saline edge to the finish. There's a long road ahead still, but this is a standout Ducru.

Drink 2019 - 2040

Jane Anson, Decanter.com (September 2019)

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Neal Martin, Vinous95/100

The 2005 Ducru-Beaucaillou, tasted a dozen times since en primeur, was picked from 21 September to 6 October and matured in 90% new oak for 18 months. It delivers a wall of black fruit on the nose that gradually opens up with aeration, touches of incense and wild mint, and cedar coming through with time. But these aromatics remain very backward. 

The palate is medium-bodied with firm, grippy tannins, fine acidity, solid and focused. Tremendously and uncompromisingly backwards, this is a seriously fine Ducru-Beaucaillou that is just not yet ready, so go back to the cellar and leave it there for another five years—tasted at the Ducru Beaucaillou vertical at the château.

Drink 2026 - 2060

Neal Martin, Vinous.com (July 2022)

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Jancis Robinson MW17.5/20

Deep garnet. Smells elegant and minerally with refined dark fruit, peppery cigar box. Firm, rich, dense and still so youthful, and fragrant as it opens. Massive but harmonious, rich in fruit and structure and with enough freshness for a magnificent whole. Long finish and many years to go. A marked fruit/oak sweetness on the finish.

Drink 2015 - 2040

Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com (April 2023)

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Wine Advocate97/100

Deep garnet coloured, the 2005 Ducru-Beaucaillou needs a little coaxing before slipping sensuously out of the glass with the most alluring perfume of red roses, kirsch, star anise, cardamom and fragrant earth over a core of blackcurrant pastilles, blackberry preserves and warm plums plus a touch of tobacco. 

Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a wonderfully taut, tightly knit frame of fine-grained tannins and bold freshness supporting the densely packed fruit, finishing long and perfumed.

Drink 2020 - 2048

Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (August 2020)

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James Suckling95/100

A nice, complex wine with notes of flowers, berries and leather in the nose. Full-bodied, with pure fruit that turns from light raspberry to cherry jam. This is balanced and silky, a beautiful harmony. Give this some time, if you can.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2012)

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Robert Parker97/100

The 2005 Ducru Beaucaillou is a 10,000-case blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Merlot (they used to produce 18,000-20,000 cases). It is an exceptionally powerful wine with a dense purple colour, superb intensity, and a beautiful, sweet nose of spring flowers, raspberries, blueberries, graphite, and creme de cassis. 

Full-bodied with fabulous concentration, exceptionally high tannin, good acidity, and massive layers of richness that build incrementally on the palate, this monumental effort is more structured than their outstanding 2003. It may be the finest wine produced at this estate since the 1982 and 1961 Ducrus. 

Anticipated maturity: 2018 - 2050

Robert M. Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate (April 2008)

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The extraordinary 2005 Ducru-Beaucaillou shows the quality of both the vintage and the terroir, along with Bruno Borie's sense of wine. Slightly toasty and smoky, the bouquet exhales dark, blackberry aromas, spices, blueberry, cedar and graphite aromas intertwined with a lot of minerality. 

It is a beautiful sunny expression of the domain, with a long, tense palate and velvety and dense tannins. Very long and penetrating, the finish is slightly graphitic. It will benefit from 7-8 years of bottle age (it already offers pleasure) and have 15-20 years of overall longevity.

Drink 2022 - 2042

Yohan Castaing, Decanter.com (June 2021)

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Jeb Dunnuck97/100

Another wine in its prime drinking window, gorgeous cassis and darker currants, as well as leafy tobacco, loamy earth, and graphite, define the aromatics of the 2005 Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, and it's full-bodied on the palate, with a deep, layered, structured style that has everything in the right places. 

Its purity of fruit is just about off the charts, and I wouldn't be surprised to see this evolve similarly to the 1982. It will continue developing additional complexity over the coming decade, and this will unquestionably still be drinking beautifully at 50+ years after the vintage.

Drink 2023 - 2056

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (October 2023)

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Stephen Tanzer94/100

Contains a relatively high percentage of Merlot, in the range of 30%.

Good deep ruby-red. Wonderfully sweet, aromatic nose combines currant, chocolate and cedary oak. Fat, lush and silky, with atypical volume to the plum, tobacco and chocolate flavours. Wonderfully supple, plump wine with layers of flavour, thoroughly sweet tannins and compelling aromatic persistence. 

Today, the wine's substantial baby fat masks its impressive underlying power. According to Borie, this 2005 combines the best traits of the chateau's 2003 and 2000.

Stephen Tanzer, Vinous.com (May 2008)

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About this WINE

Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou

Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou

Château Ducru-Beaucaillou is a St-Julien property that today is one of the leading Super Seconds. It is owned by the Borie family and is situated in the south-east of the St-Julien appellation. Ducru-Beaucaillou's 50 hectares of vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon 65%, Merlot 25%, Cabernet Franc 5% and Petit Verdot 5%) lie on deep, large-stone gravel beds enriched with alluvial soil deposits and with a high clay content. The wines are matured in oak barriques (50-60% new) for 18 months.

For many, Ducru-Beaucaillou is the quintessential St-Julien - deep-coloured, powerful, ripe, exquisitely well-balanced and perfectly harmonious. It requires a minimum of 10 years of bottle ageing before it should be approached and the best vintages will continue improving for many more years. Ducru-Beaucaillou is classified as a 2ème Cru Classé.

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St Julien

St Julien

St Julien is the smallest of the "Big Four" Médoc communes. Although, without any First Growths, St Julien is recognised to be the most consistent of the main communes, with several châteaux turning out impressive wines year after year. 

St Julien itself is much more of a village than Pauillac and almost all of the notable properties lie to its south. Its most northerly château is Ch. Léoville Las Cases (whose vineyards actually adjoin those of Latour in Pauillac) but,  further south, suitable vineyard land gives way to arable farming and livestock until the Margaux appellation is reached.  

The soil is gravelly and finer than that of Pauillac, and without the iron content which gives Pauillac its stature. The homogeneous soils in the vineyards (which extend over a relatively small area of just over 700 hectares) give the commune a unified character.

The wines can be assessed as much by texture as flavour, and there is a sleek, wholesome character to the best. Elegance, harmony and perfect balance and weight, with hints of cassis and cedar, are what epitomise classic St Julien wines. At their very best they combine Margaux’s elegance and refinement with Pauillac’s power and substance.

Ch. Léoville Las Cases produces arguably the most sought-after St Julien, and in any reassessment of the 1855 Classification it would almost certainly warrant being elevated to First Growth status.

Recommended Châteaux: Ch. Léoville Las CasesCh.Léoville Barton, Ch Léoville Poyferré, Ch. Ducru-Beaucaillou, Ch Langoa Barton, Ch Gruaud Larose, Ch. Branaire-Ducru, Ch. Beychevelle

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Cabernet Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

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