CHÂTEAU BRANAIRE DUCRU
2003 4ème Cru Classé Saint Julien
|Grapes||Cab Franc, Merlot, Cab Sauv|
|Classification||4ème Cru Classé|
Deep violet-laced crimson which coats the glass. Rich dry fruit, though with a sweet touch of vanilla and crème patissière to go with the tight cherry and blackcurrant. A nice consistency on the palate, medium to full-bodied, fresh and liquid, powerful, with quite a dry finish of fine-textured tannin. This is a pretty full-on Branaire, but not yet quite fruitily expressive enough to merit a higher note. L&S (Mar 2005)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
This fully mature, gorgeous 2003 Branaire Ducru possesses silky tannins, lots of cedary, spice box, floral, black cherry, forest floor and velvety leather-like notes, full body, and an opulent, complex yet elegant style. A beauty of complexity, richness and finesse, it should continue to drink well for another 5-6 years. 2014-2020 Rating: 94 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com(Aug 2014)
(72% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 4.5% petit verdot and 3.5% cabernet franc; 3.75 pH; 13% alcohol): Bright ruby-red. Intense mocha and sweet spice notes complicate ripe dark cherry and macerated plum aromas on the very ripe, deep nose. Large-scaled and plush, with ripe but not cooked red and black fruit flavors. Surprisingly lively acidity and seamless tannins give the wine good support. Finishes creamy and long, with a repeating note of mocha. For the most part I am not a fan of the 2003 Bordeaux owing to the furnace-like summer, but the Branaire-Ducru is a knockout and owner Patrick Maroteaux has always told me he thinks it's one of the best wines he has ever made. Not surprisingly in 2003, the grapes were harvested much earlier and faster than usual, between September 9 and 24. Rating: 92-92 Ian d'Agata, www.vinousmedia.com(Mar 2014)
Proprietor Patrick Maroteaux, president of Unions des Grands Crus Classes, is pulling out all the stops to make Branaire as alluring as several of the Leovilles and Ducru Beaucaillou. 2003 and 2004 may be the finest back-to-back vintages ever produced at Branaire. Even better than the 1982, the profound 2003 Branaire Ducru boasts a saturated plum/purple color as well as an extraordinarily complex nose of black currants, blackberries, espresso roast, white chocolate, minerals, and truffles. It displays amazing freshness and definition for such a complex, complete, and full-bodied wine. A brilliant effort in the vintage, it will undoubtedly close down in several years and need more time, but perhaps its low acidity and huge, extravagant fruit-forwardness will keep it drinking well over the next two decades. A brilliant wine! Drink: 2006 - 2026 Rating: 95-95 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com(Mar 2005)
Château Branaire Ducru
St Julien Quatrième cru 1855 When the Beychevelle estate was broken up in 1642, in order to pay off the debts of the deceased owner, it gave birth to three Châteaux - Beychevelle, Ducru-Beaucaillou and, the portion purchased by Jean-Baptiste Braneyre, Branaire-Ducru. Jean-Baptiste's daughter married Pierre de Luc and their descendents (morphing into the Duluc family during the Revolution) owned Branaire until 1919. Branaire failed to excite much until it was bought by Patrick Maroteaux in 1988. Since then Branaire-Ducru has become a reliably good buy for lovers of St Julien. The vineyards are planted to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and 4% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. While the number of family-owned châteaux is becoming increasingly smaller in the Médoc, the Maroteaux family has owned Branaire-Ducru since 1988. They immediatley put in a stat of the art gravity fed cellar - designed in a revolutionary way along the lines of a spoked -wheel - with all the tanks fanning out from a central control space up above. In 2017 it still looks cutting edge - and it is easy to understand how the wines are made so well here. Very sadly on November 19, 2017, Patrick Maroteaux passed away at the age of 67. His son, François Xavier Maroteaux took over the full time responsibilities of managing the estate and is committed to keeping up the great work being done here. Every year they strive to retain their ‘home signature’ of 'pure fruit, freshness and balance' and although you can always sense the vintage variations - this ambition is always clear. The Grand Vin has a focus and an elegance that is intrinsically 'Branaire' - and the pricing remains well measured. Branaire-Ducru is very often one of our recommended wines as it can offer super value for money in St Julien.
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