2011 2ème Cru Classé Margaux

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Margaux
Classification 2ème Cru Classé

Fine taut texture. A tight, even consistency, a close grain, with ripe red fruit and hints of truffle and undergrowth as well as oaky spice. Not flamboyant, but one the the rare great successes of this vintage in Margaux. It's quite serious and unsmiling, but there is a nice energy and a sort of mineral verve to the palate. It grips firmly but never harshly. Rating: 92 L&S (Apr 2012)

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Made in a sexy, perfumed style, this 2011 seduces the taster with its wonderful aromatics of blue, red and black fruits, flowers, damp earth and forest floor. With excellent to outstanding concentration, fresh acidity and velvety tannins, this plush Margaux is atypically opulent/flamboyant for the vintage. Drink it over the next 12-15 years. 2012 - 2027 Rating: 90-93 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, 2012)

The Brane Cantenac is a blend of 37% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 0.5% Carmenere and 56.5% Cabernet Sauvignon cropped from 9th to 19th September for the Merlot and 19th to 27th Cabernet Sauvignon, the Carmenere on the 10th October (the first time it has been promoted to the Grand Vin, so well done vines.) As usual, the sample needs several minutes to find its composure in the glass. Eventually, it finds its even keel with attractive wild berries, graphite and crushed stone, very crisp and well defined as if there are spaces to be filled between the aromas (this will be done during the élevage.) The palate is medium-bodied with tensile tannins. There is a touch of unresolved oak whilst the finish is a little pinched at the moment with a slightly attenuated finish. As usual, I bet this will taste far superior after five years, but I wonder whether there is just enough substance here? Wait and see, but I appreciate the style. Rating: 88-90 Neal Martin, 2012)

Rather a smoky character to the fruit here. The aromatic profile seems slightly diffuse, showing some rather gamey fruit character. There is already some overt tobacco leaf here, which strikes me as unusual at this stage. The palate is rather low key, showing a straightforward and evolved style, with more tobacco leaf, and a gentle texture. This is light, with lightly grainy tannins and lots of fresh acids. Overall, rather lean and a touch steely. Rating: 13.5-14.5 Chris Kissack, 2012)

Château Brane-Cantenac

Margaux Deuxième cru 1855 The estate was originally called Château Gorce after the family that owned it in he 18th Century, but the story really begins with its purchase by Baron Hector de Brane in 1833. Baron Hector was a well-known figure in the area, earning himself the nickname "Napoléon of the the Vines" and so keen was he to own Château Gorce that he sold Château Brane-Mouton in Pauillac to finance the purchase. Quite how much wisdom there was in ridding himself of the what was to become Château Mouton-Rothschild in order to secure the ownership of a slightly under-performing Second Growth property is debatable, but at the time the wines of the estate were consistently highly(ish) ranked. From the late 19th Century onward Brane-Cantenac followed a familiar Bordelais downward spiral. In 1920, it was purchased by the Societé des Grand Crus de France, owners of (among others) Château Margaux. In 1925, ownership passed to Léonce Récapet and his son-in-law François Lurton, but the real rennaissance of Brane-Cantenac came in 1956 when François' son - the great Lucien Lurton - took over. Today, his son Henri Lurton continues to run Château Brane-Cantenac. The period of Lurton ownership has been good to Brane-Cantenac, and the wines are consistent good performers although not really ranking alongside the best Second Growths of the Haut-Médoc, but this probably says more about the relevance of the 1855 classification than it does about the terroir and wines of Château Brane-Cantenac. Brane-Cantenac sits south-west of the village of Cantenac, next to Cantenac-Brown. There are 75ha of vineyard given over to 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc and a very unusual 0.5% Carmenere. The Grand Vin spends 18 months in wood, of which 50% is new every year. The second wine is called Baron de Brane in honour of Baron Hector who put the estate on the map in the early 19th Century.

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