|Classification||4ème Cru Classé|
Possibly a slightly reedy note to the nose, but this is swiftly followed up with a juicy, lifted fruit. It has an attractive floating quality, the've not gone for extraction here, and it's not a heavyweight, but I really like what there is here for its honesty and grace. Rating: 90 L&S (May 2013)
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Picked from 2nd until 7th October at 39hl/ha during which they had 35mm of rain, 24mm from the 2nd until 15th and 11mm from 15th until the 17th. There were 107mm of rain compared to 164mm in 2011 and 172mm in 2008. It is a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc and is being raised in 60-70% in new oak. It offers light fresh strawberry, red cherry and cedar scents that are very typical Saint Julien. It is nicely defined but would benefit from more vigour. The palate is medium-bodied with a light, comparatively fleshy opening. This seems a forward Branaire that might yearn to be drunk sooner rather than later after bottling. It is fresh and harmonious, but is missing the backbone of the 2010 on the finish. This is conservative, but correct although a second sample proved more appealing. Rating: 88-90 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com(May 2013)
The 2012 Branaire Ducru is a seductive effort that is a credit to this chateau, which did not try to over-extract or push the fruit past what it was capable of providing. The result is an elegant, pretty, mid-weight wine with soft, velvety tannin, spicy mulberry and black cherry fruit, hints of spring flowers and loamy soil undertones, medium body and a moderate finish. Drink it over the next 10-12 years. 2013 - 2025 Rating: 88-90 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com(Apr 2013)
Rating: 86 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com(Apr 2013)
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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