|Classification||4ème Cru Classé|
The owners of Branaire have one important aim with their wine-making, they want to create a recognisable house style which expresses fruit purity, freshness and finesse. This admirable wish is achieved with gusto in 2014. There is lovely supple fruit up front, spiced plum and gently cooked dark berries show concentrated but pure elegance. There is just a great balance of finely grained tannin which retains the elegance but gives the necessary bones for a seriously well put together wine. Lifted, on the light-side and long. Rating: 92 L&S (Apr 2015)
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The 2014 Branaire Ducru has a slightly uncouth bouquet compared to its peers: blackberry, blueberry, oyster shell and just a splash of cedar. It does not quite deliver the complexity of Beychevelle or Gruaud Larose. The palate is medium-bodied with a smooth velvety texture, moderate acidity, pure black cherry and raspberry fruit. It is a seductive Saint Julien but at the moment it articulates more the winemaking than the terroir, consequently it does not provide the same engagement as its peers. Not showy, but certainly well crafted. There is more to come with bottle maturation. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2020 - 2032 Rating: 89 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com(Mar 2018)
Great balance and integration on the nose. Sweet and fresh but not massively concentrated. Slightly scrawny finish. Drinking range: 2023 - 2035 Rating: 16.5+ Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com(Feb 2018)
The 2014 Branaire Ducru is soft, polished and super-inviting. Succulent red cherry, plum, lavender, spice and mint give the wine its attractive, open-knit personality, while silky tannins add to an overall impression of sensuality. The 2014 should drink well with minimal cellaring. Today, it is among the most accessible of the Saint-Juliens. Drinking range: 2020 - 2044 Rating: 93 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com(Feb 2017)
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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