Is Ducru-Beaucaillou the most overrated wine in Bordeaux?

I was again left underwhelmed by this ‘Super Second’ last night - this time the 1998 vintage. Other recent disappointments include the 1995, 2004 and 2006. The '98 Ducru was outshone by both the '07 Tignanello and '04 Leoville Barton quite convincingly. The recurring theme appears to be a slight herbaceous, vegetal, green peppercorn note. I have more 04’s and 06’s as well as 05’s put away and I won’t touch them for a very long time. I don’t have high hopes though: so far the only thing I like about this wine is it’s pretty yellow label. For the same price point give me a Leoville Las Cases, Palmer or Pichon Lalande any day.

I had an '82 a few months ago. Was shocked at how great it was. Gonna vote ‘no’ to the overrated concept.

I’ve had the 1998 DB a few times now. I’ve always thought of it as an underrated wine.

Edited to add notes from a dinner featuring mostly Ducru from a couple of yers ago:

Coincidentally I spent 1 hour last evening trying to locate my single bottle of the 86 of this for a dinner tonight but couldn’t find it. I have seen it recently and know I have it, but no. It is located alongside my single bottle of Lafitte 86, didn’t find that either. Such is life, they will resurface. My cellar is small and overcrowded. Settled for a Thomas-Moillard Corton Clos de Roi 96 instead, will see how that pans out.

I don’t think it is overrated so much as it is probably the most inconsistent from bottle to bottle, at least from 2000 and older.

Agree Peter, sometimes they reach great heights.

Comparing '07 Tig to Ducru Beaucaillou is apples and oranges. Big and burly as compared to elegant and lovely. Personally, I enjoy both, and don’t believe Ducru is overrated. The 1982 Ducru is stunning, and I am bringing a 1995 to dinner next week.

I had a lovely 78 Ducru a few months ago.

Put me in the camp of NOT overrated.

86, 95, 96, 00 and 01 are sensational wines. In fact, the 01, is one of the best I’ve had from that vintage in bordeaux. I agree with Charlie in that it’s inconsistant and some vintages are not as good as others.

I’ve had the 98 twice and thought it was good, but not great.

Now I really need to find my 86!

Look at Alex gettin all provocative and stuff this early morn! Well, it could be like 12:37 PM in Asia.

When Ducru is on, it’s “on”. Sadly, my last bottle was a slightly corked '86.

Consider me a fan, but no longer a buyer. Too rich for my poor country lawyer blood.

Had the '96 twice, was not blown away

For a number of years, I thought the 82 was good, not great. I have had this wine at least three times over the past few years and it is now great. From this and other experiences, I think Ducru may just need time to show everything it has.

Had the same experience with the 78 a few months ago too.


Same goes for the '86. Ducru and Leoville Las Cases are the two wines that I tend to open too early. When they finally come around, they are great. Not going near my '96s for at least 5 more years. Hoping I’m still around when the '05s are hitting their stride.

I like Ducru - I have some 00s that are drinking well now.

I can’t speak to older vintages but I tasted the 2010, 2009 and 2003 at Burdigala and all were excellent. The perfume on the 2010 was otherworldly. So my vote is not overrated, at least for these recent vintages.

Diane - please post on the '95 when you open it. I have a lone bottle and am hoping to catch it at a good moment.


FYI, they had a problem with a wood treatment used in the cave that gave off some chemical that spoiled many lots in the 1986-90 period. As I recall, this came across as TCA-like. I remember tasting bad 86s in the period shortly after release. I don’t recall it after that, but I don’t think I had many Ducrus from 88-90.

Clive Coates notes this issue in his Bordeaux book and says it was worst in 88, 89 and 90. I remember noticing a few years back that the 86 Ducru seemed to sell for much less than other 86s.

Alex - Your choice of vintages could skew things here, as 98 was not a particularly good year on the Medoc. Up against an 07 Tuscan, I’m not surprised that the Ducru seemed pale by comparison.

But Ducru usually sells for significantly less than those, no?

Enjoyed the 83s and 85s I used to drink a decade or so ago, the price has increased somewhat since then though.