CHÂTEAU BRANAIRE DUCRU
2016 4ème Cru Classé Saint Julien
|Grapes||Cab Sauv, Cab Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot|
|Classification||4ème Cru Classé|
64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot. Ruby rather than black, a breezy freshness - supple and lithe and elegant. There's a rose petal freshness and delicacy, but no lack of drive and power of concentrated fruit under the pretty top notes. Quite intense and long. A very attractive wine which will probably be at an attractive price for this quality. Drinking range: 2025 - 2045 Rating: 92-93 L&S (Apr 2017)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
The 2016 Branaire-Ducru has a rather low-key, smudged bouquet featuring ample red fruit, yet missing the terroir expression of some of its peers; I would like more “oomph.” The palate is well balanced, quite graceful and poised, delivering lightly spiced black fruit, touches of pencil lead and a nicely detailed if not powerful finish. More approachable than its peers, yet noble. Tasted blind at the Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2023 - 2055 Rating: 92 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Aug 2020)
The 2016 Château Branaire-Ducru checks in as a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc. This medium to full-bodied, downright pretty Saint-Julien has a complex, layered style in its mulberries, blackberries, saddle leather, and forest floor aromatics, with hints of graphite developing with time in the glass. Possessing terrific tannins, nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish, I’d certainly be happy to have bottles of this in the cellar. Give it a few years and it promises to shine for 20-25 years. Drinking range: 2021 - 2046 Rating: 92+ Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Feb 2019)
The 2016 Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc picked from 28 September until 19 October at 50 hectoliters per hectare, one of the longest harvest periods at the estate. The nose is quite intense with black fruit infused with pencil shaving and a touch of tobacco, unashamedly classic in style, a little distant compared to some other Saint Juliens but undeniably well defined and full of character. The palate is structured and masculine, exerting a firm grip in the mouth, spicier than its peers with cracked black pepper complementing the black fruit, tobacco and smoke towards the structured finish. There is great length here, very persistent in the mouth, a little "rougher" in texture than others, but that will be smoothed out during élevage and in bottle. Give this Branaire-Ducru five or six years in bottle because it has great potential, one of the best produced at the estate in recent years. (NB This sample was taken from a new barrel, though the final blend will be 60%.) Drinking range: 2023 - 2050 Rating: 92-94 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (Apr 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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