2010 4ème Cru Classé Saint Julien

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
District Left Bank
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Saint Julien
Classification 4ème Cru Classé
ABV 13.3%

70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23.5% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 2.5% Cabernet Franc. Very 'sauvignonny' Cabernet Sauvignon - blackberry leaf and elderberry, real freshness and edge, which in turn makes it lively and pure, crunchy blackcurrant, really engaging as more depth unfurls on the finish. Rating: 93-93 L&S (Apr 2011)

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In a year of some very powerful, concentrated wines, this almost tastes like a throwback to an earlier era: light, refreshing and elegant, with delicate red fruits, some graphite, understated oak and a clean, refreshing finish. Alas, they don’t make many wines like this in Bordeaux any more. 10+ years. Rating: 93 Tim Atkin MW, 2011)

Proprietor Patrick Maroteaux has completed a decade of brilliant performances at this chateau across the Medoc’s Route de Vin from Beychevelle and a stone’s throw from Ducru Beaucaillou, St.-Pierre and Gloria. A fabulous effort, the 2010's notes of raspberry jam, black currants, crushed rocks and spring flowers are followed by a wine of impeccable purity, medium to full-bodied power, sweet tannin and stunning texture and length. With superb richness and beautiful overall equilibrium, it will benefit from 4-5 years of cellaring and keep for 25 or more years. 2015-2040 Rating: 93-95 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, 2011)

The blend here is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23.5% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, the alcohol 13.8% and the pH 3.53. A glossy-looking wine here. Quite vibrant and crunchy fruit on the nose. The palate is quite soft and broad though, and shows some lovely sweet fruit, and it is quite structured beneath, the different elements sitting together quite harmoniously. Good acidity too. Overall it ends up with quite a fresh and juicy feel, but with some nice vigour to it as well. Some appealing fruit complexities here. Good potential. Rating: 16.5-17.5/20 Chris Kissack, 2011)

Tasted 17 Feb: Very dark purple. Nice freshness on the nose. Very round and supple and polished. Opulent without being sweet. All assembled by end Feb with about 9% vin de presse. More approachable than most of the 2010s I have tasted so far. Fresh and the fruit almost disguises the marked tannins on the finish. Stricter selection than usual. Dry – very dry summer. 41 hl/ha compared to 47 hl/ha in 2009. Small berries. Tasted blind 8 Apr: Very sweet, almost Marmite aromas. Great freshness but no great intensity on the palate. A little angular with some green notes on the finish but a competent wine. Relaxed and comfortable. Not forced. 2017-2030 Rating: 17 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - 2011)

The Branaire Ducru is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23.5% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot including 10% of the vin de presse. It has 13.8% alcohol with a pH of 3.53. The nose is very primal compared to other samples with high-toned dark cherries, dark plum and cassis. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tensile tannins, very good acidity and precision; not a wine of dimension like Ducru Beaucaillou but I like the subtle touch of spiciness interlacing the finish. Very fine. Drink 2014- Rating: 91-93 Neal Martin, 2011)

Lots of depth and already showing fragrance and complexity, perfect concentration and refreshing, harmonious length, another great wine from the château on top of its form. Drink 2018-30. Rating: ****17.5 Steven Spurrier(Apr 2011)

This is very clear and precise, with blackberry and licorice and hints of toasted oak. Full bodied, with super refined tannins and a pretty finish. It’s there. This is very classy and elegant. Tight and refined. Polished. 70 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 23.5 percent Merlot. 2.5 Cabernet Franc and 4 percent Petit Verdot. Rating: 93-94 James Suckling, 2011)

This has guts, offering dark fig, plum and cocoa notes carried by velvety but substantial tannins, with a very long, smoke- and plum sauce-filled finish that has well-embedded acidity. Rating: 92-95 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator(Apr 2011)

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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