The initial nose is slightly medicinal Cabernet, but this is good in its four-square solidity and black fruit presence. There's some subtlety to the fruit, cassis with vanillary oak. Quite severe and schoolmasterly, with coal-black expression, but decent length too. Rating: 90-91 L&S (Apr 2016)
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Instantly appealing ripe dark berries and plums with graphite and other dark stony notes. Very well-integrated wood here. The palate has a plush, suave and supple feel to it. Great concentration and energy. Really intense yet fresh finish. Drinking range: 2022 - Rating: 94 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Feb 2018)
This brims with voluble plum cake, boysenberry and blackberry compote flavors, embedded with brambly structure while keeping a polished feel overall. Alluring black tea, roasted alder and licorice details line the finish. You’ll want to jump on this one. Drinking range: 2022 - 2035 Rating: 94 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Jan 2018)
The oak was a little prominent on this sample when I tasted it, but there is plenty of sweet raspberry and strawberry fruit on offer, as well as a backbone of tannin, so it should come together in barrel and bottle. Drinking range: 2020 - 2028 Rating: 91 Tim Atkin MW, www.timatkin.com (May 2016)
Château Cantenac Brown
Margaux Troisième cru 1855 In 1754 Jacques Boyd, who was of Irish descent, bought the estate that he would call, quite logically, Château Boyd. In 1806 he sold to a John Lewis Brown, of Scottish descent and the owner of Château Brown (in Pessac-Léognan). Some confusion then arises as the Cantenac property was also often referred to as Château Brown. Some grand parties followed at the newly-built tudor-style mansion before bankruptcy forced the sale of the estate in 1843. By the time of the 1855 classification, it was once again known as Château Boyd. Some time during the 19th Century, a portion of Château Boyd was divided off and, under the ownership of Armand Lalande (who also owned Château Leoville Poyferré), the impressive and unusual château that adorns the label was built and the name Cantenac-Brown was settled upon. The remainder of the estate went on to become Château Boyd-Cantenac. The period from the end of the 19th Century to the latter half of the 20th is a familiar story of decline. Salvation appeared when AXA Millésimes bought Cantenac-Brown in 1989, and they made great improvements to the estate, so it was a surprise when they sold to a British businessman Simon Halabi in 2006. The Cantenac-Brown rennaissance continues, however, under the new ownership. The 42ha of vineyard, farmed "in a more environmentally friendly way", are composed of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. The Grand Vin spends 12 to 15 months in wood, of which 50% is new and the other 50% one year old. There is a second wine - BRIO de Cantenac Brown.
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