2011 4ème Cru Classé Saint Julien

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

67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc. Just over 13% Alc. Nose is quite soft. Soft red fruits, supple, round, easy attack, good fruit. There is a solidity of tannin in the mid-palate, a flow-reducing dryness, but this is classy, on the dry finesse of Cabernet. Rating: 92-92 L&S (Apr 2012)

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Excellent density of purplish crimson. Thick and sweet and distinctly modern on the nose. Rather tiring finish. 2020-2030 Rating: 16 Jancis Robinson MW OBE - 2012)

A top-notch effort from this estate, the 2011 exhibits an exotic perfume of lead pencil shavings, white chocolate, raspberry jam and red as well as black currants. Loads of fruit, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel and velvety tannin suggest this beauty will drink well for 15+ years. It is one of the stars of the appellation in this vintage. Bravo! 2012 - 2027 Rating: 91-93 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, 2012)

The 2011 is a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc that was picked between 14th and 29th September at just 37hl/ha. It has a straightforward bouquet of light fresh red berry fruit laced with orange rind and graphite, focused but not powerful. After five minutes there is a brine or fish scale note. The palate has a chalky entry with crisp acidity, just a little hardness in the mouth but the finish is softer. There are notes of blackberry, pain grille and graphite with a dry, crisp finish. Fine. Rating: 88-90 Neal Martin, 2012)

Some beautiful fruit here, scents of lifted black cherry, vanilla, cream, this feels exuberant and stylish. Rich and quite seductive on the palate, full, with evident grip coming in beneath giving the plush fruit some backbone. Lots of extract here, but the wine manages to keep the tannins well packed in underneath what is a very plush and textured style. It has a lovely ripe finish in the end. I like this very much, but it is a rather sweet and flattering style. Very good potential here, but it feels a touch atypical perhaps - but I think that is a mark of the vintage more than anything else. Rating: 15-16 Chris Kissack, 2012)

Deep black cherry colour. Perfumed with cassis, vanilla and spice with a slight green note. More dry and savoury on the palate but there's a cool freshness and balance that leaves the mouth fresh. 2017-2025 Rating: 16 Julia Harding MW, 2012)

Very good depth of Cabernet-cassis fruit, good middle sweetness and firm natural tannins. Will show very well. Drink 2015-2028. Rating: 16.5 2012)

A very elegant style, with a violet frame to the supple red currant, blueberry and black cherry fruit flavors that mingle with high-toned spice on the finish. Offers fine-grained structure. Rating: 90-93 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator(Apr 2012)

One of the more concentrated St Juliens of the vintage: thick, dense and pretty serious. The wine teeters on the edge of over-extraction, but there’s enough violet-scented fruit and concentration to soak up the tannins. 10+ years. Rating: 92 Tim Atkin MW, 2012)

A very pretty red with flowers, blackberries, and blueberries. Full and silky with racy tannins and a long finish. Some hints of cocoa and pleasant bitterness. Well structured Rating: 92-93 James Suckling, 2012)

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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