Between Beychevelle to the north and Latour across the commune boundary to the south in Pauillac, and running almost down to the Gironde, sits one of the clutch of 5 St Julien second growths, Ducru-Beaucaillou. Beychevelle is in fact a parent of Ducru; in 1642, when the British were just getting going on the killing spree now referred to as the English Civil War, the Beychevelle estate was broken up to settle a debt, and one of the resulting parcels would become what is now Ducru-Beaucaillou. The name didn`t come till later. It used to be Maucaillou, bad stones; the estate is littered with cailloux pebbles, which may make the land better for vinegrowing but more inconvenient to farm. Marketing struck somewhere in the 18th century, and Maucaillou became Beaucaillou. Then Bertrand Ducru acquired the estate and decided to prefix himself.
Ducru used to be known as being a little on the bretty side, but that is long gone; there have been some stylistic variations, with the wine moving from the very austere to the slightly more approachable, and some vintages being very ripe. In the 1990s, it consolidated its position as one of the true super seconds, that select group of second growths often considered to perform as well as the first growths. (NT 24/02/15)