CHÂTEAU BRANAIRE DUCRU

2006 4ème Cru Classé Saint Julien

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Saint Julien
Classification 4ème Cru Classé
ABV 13.5%

Deep colour, a healthy firm purple. Very pure, floral and fresh black fruit expressive nose. Sweet and taut, rounded with a sense of sucrosity. Tannins silky even if very present. The tannins levels are almost identical (or marginally higher) than in 2005, and the acidity is 0.4 higher, so its in many ways a very similar analysis, although the expression is different, very fresh, delicate and of great purity. Rating: 91-91 L&S (Apr 2007)

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The mix of black fruits on the nose has sweetness and this gives a fleshy richness on the nose and the start of the palate. The tannins although still in evidence are not overpowering the fruit and allow the cassis and black plum to enrich the finish. 2013-28 Rating: 91 Derek Smedley MW, www.dereksmedleymw.co.uk(Dec 2013)

A superlative performance from Branaire Ducru, way above my previous appraisals for Mon. Maroutoux’s Saint Julien estate. It remains austere on the nose: blackberry, damson, even a touch of marmalade developing with aeration. Moderate definition. The palate is medium-bodied, ripe tannins, very powerful and intense, toasty black fruit laced with tar and graphite with a tannic, bold finish that demands more cellaring. Excellent. Rating: 92-92 Neal Martin, www.robertparker.com(Jul 2010)

Bright red-ruby. Pure, high-pitched nose offers blueberry, dark chocolate, menthol and cedary oak. Suave, sweet and serious, with lovely inner-mouth lift and energy and sneaky density of texture. Hints of pepper and herbs serve to perk up the wine. Not a particularly chocolatey style for Branaire. Finishes with a lovely light touch and plenty of structure for a leisurely evolution in bottle. Rating: 91(+?) Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar(Jun 2009)

(67% cabernet sauvignon, 27% merlot, 4% petit verdot and 2% cabernet franc) Bright ruby with a blue rim. Pure, floral aromas of dark berries, bitter chocolate, licorice, violet and mint. Dense, sweet and fine-grained, with a firm spine of acidity and a peppery nuance framing and enlivening the dark berry and mineral flavors. Quite youthfully tight, sappy and classically dry wine, finishing juicy and bright but not hard, with firm, building tannins. Already hints at the complexity to come. Rating: 90-93 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar(May 2007)

Very solid, with good fruit and a complete core of ripe tannins. Medium- to full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a medium to full finish. I prefer this to the 2004. Very close to 92-94. Rating: 89-91 James Suckling, The Wine Spectator(May 2007)

Proprietor Patrick Maroteaux continues to ratchet up the quality level at this impeccably run St.-Julien estate. The 2006 is similar to the 1996 Branaire, but with sweeter fruit. A deep ruby/purple hue precedes a perfumed nose of sweet boysenberries, black cherries, minerals, spring flowers, and a hint of pain grille in the background. Fresh, savory, medium to full-bodied flavors coat the palate with beautiful purity, no hard edges, ripe tannin, and intense fruit. This elegant, layered, impressive offering will be at its peak between 2012-2025. Rating: 92-94 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com(May 2007)

A little muffled on the blackberry, cranberry and graphite scented nose that has a lot of vanillary new oak. The palate is full-bodied, layered with toasty black fruits laced with a touch of burnt toast. Supple tannins, very lithe and endearing, but like Beychevelle it needs more backbone. Still a fresh, pert finish with just a touch of greenness that detracts very little from the overall wine. Good potential. Rating: 89-91 Neal Martin, www.robertparker.com(Apr 2007)

Deep colour, fine, softly extracted and pure blackcurrant fruit, lovely fragrance that carries through to a silkiness on the palate, prime example of the finesse of Saint-Julien. 2012-20. Rating: **** www.decanter.com(Apr 2007)

Very dark crimson with a blackish streak. So glossy. Indistinct and not especially expressive nose. Oddly a bit loose and unfocussed on the palate despite the dramatic look. Bit like a cup of tepid tea. Dies a little on the end though a great deal of effort has clearly gone into it. Fruit a bit smashed. Neat but fades. 2013-20 Rating: 16 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - www.JancisRobinson.com(Apr 2007)

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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