74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot. Brane is set back a bit from the river so unfortunately around 25% of the crop was lost to frost. The impact was patchy and thankfully the best plots on the Brane plateau and Carabin were spared and it's only these parcels that went into the grand vin. Consequently volumes are well down but quality has certainly been conserved. The 2017 is a stunning Brane with gorgeous fragrant fruit, ample structure and a long, elegant finish. A highlight from the appellation. Drinking range: 2023 - 2035 Rating: 91-93 L&S (Apr 2018)
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The 2017 Brane-Cantenac was picked from 14 September to 2 October at 31.2hl/ha after frost destroyed 35% of the vines in April. It is matured in 75% new oak and 25% one-year old and it has 13% alcohol. It has a tightly wound bouquet with broody black fruit, tar and a touch of graphite, very Pauillac in style as usual. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, very linear and precise, not a deep Margaux and unashamedly classic in style with dry, slightly brusque tannin. The finish is dominated by tobacco and pencil lead notes with healthy pinch of pepper on the aftertaste. Classic Brane-Cantenac through and through. Drinking range: 2022 - 2040 Rating: 91-93 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2018)
Deep crimson. Complex aroma that pulls together black olive as well as sweet spice and cassis leaf and fruit. Creamy texture, nicely balanced, lightish and elegant with a juicy finish. Drinking range: 2022 - 2032 Rating: 16.5 Julia Harding MW, www.JancisRobinson.com (Apr 2018)
The 2017 Château Brane-Cantenac should be a terrific wine and offers a medium-bodied, nicely concentrated, silky, elegant style. Loads of black raspberries, cedar pencil, and dried flower notes as well as sweet fruit, ripe tannin, and a complex, layered texture make for a classic Margaux that’s going to drink nicely for two decades. Rating: 89-92 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (Apr 2018)
Dark currant, berry and fresh herb character. Full-bodied, juicy and flavorful. Very structured. Solid finish and length. Better than 2014? Rating: 92-93 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (Apr 2018)
A light singed alder hint leads the way here, along with light bay leaf and savory notes, while the core of gently steeped black cherry and plum fruit fills in slowly. Shows modest intensity through the finish but the flavors knit nicely. Rating: 88-91 James Molesworth, The Wine Spectator (Apr 2018)
I find a really smoky and leafy freshness here, the character of the Cantenac plateau somewhat exaggerated in this vintage, served up with some pretty blackcurrant fruits. This is quite certainly expressed, with a strong vein of raspberry leaf and mint. The palate shows an elegant and nicely drawn texture, a proper medium-bodied presence, fresh and even if it feels a little loose through the midpalate, it follows through with a charming freshness on the finish. Overall it is the pretty aromatics I like best, even if a touch herbaceous here and there. It has a rather light presence though the middle and finish, which is quite short. 88-90/100 Rating: 88-90 Chris Kissack, www.thewinedoctor.com (Apr 2018)
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.