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CHÂTEAU BRANE-CANTENAC

2016 2ème Cru Classé Margaux

Grapes Cab Franc, Carménère, Cab Sauv, Merlot
Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Margaux
Classification 2ème Cru Classé
ABV 13.3%

70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Carmenere. Henri Lurton suggests that this is one of his greatest Branes and it is always a pleasure to taste here surrounded by large photographs of his evidently happy team. It’s not hard to see why. Brane sits on a gravelly plateau that provides excellent natural drainage and its stony soils force the vines deep into the ground for replenishment. This resistance to the drought from June to mid September produced some remarkable Cabernet. It looks very pretty in the glass and at first felt austere but there is real intelligence lurking behind. Dark plum and blueberry, tannins wonderfully poised and precise. So fine and elegant with lots of fresh lift and bright acidity policing it all. One of the highlights of Margaux for sure. Rating: 93-95 L&S (Apr 2017)

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The 2016 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Carmenere picked from 22 September until 17 October (the tiny parcel of Carmenere picked three days later). The yields came in at 51 hectoliters per hectare and it is matured in 75% new oak and 25% one-year-old barrels, the final alcohol level 13.3%. It has a beautifully defined, very detailed bouquet with mineral-rich black fruit laced with cedar and graphite notes, living up to its nom de plume as the "Pauillac of Margaux." The palate is simply the best that I have ever tasted at the estate, without question. This has presence, but also weightlessness, filigree tannin and perfectly pitched acidity, with real intensity and drive. The tension here is outstanding and the persistence is incredibly long. It is not the showiest of all the 2016s by a long stretch, and yet it is everything you could possibly want from a Margaux. Like Beychevelle this year, the 2016 Brane-Cantenac puts recent vintages in the shade, thanks not only to the growing season, but also a new punching down system in their gravity-fed winery that was completed in 2015. The 2016 is a benchmark against which future vintages will be compared. Drinking range: 2026 - 2060 Rating: 96-98 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com(Apr 2017)

Dark purplish crimson. Neat, unforced, smells fully ripe. Salty finish and a fine spread across the palate. Bone dry, but not too drying, finish. Cool, unforced and sophisticated. Very competent indeed. Drinking range: 2026 - 2044 Rating: 17 Jancis Robinson OBE MW - www.JancisRobinson.com(Apr 2017)

Shows a coffee edge, along with tobacco and bay notes that meld steadily into the core of steeped plum and black cherry fruit. The fleshy finish lets the bay element take an encore. A touch old-school. Rating: 90-93 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator(Apr 2017)

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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