Branaire has done a great job here with their 2020. Owner François-Xavier Maroteaux explained, as we tasted over zoom, how wonderfully aromatic the Merlot was for them - unusual but very welcome - and it has worked well in their ‘home signature’ which combines pure fruit, freshness and balance. The wine has all of this - remaining really well poised and loaded with lifted fruit. All hedgerows and berries and a lovely St Julien feel. Not a heavy-weight but totally charming. In the vintage this stands out for its lighter touch and pretty poise. Very good.
58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 7% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc.L&S (May 2021)
75cl bottles (wood case of 6)
* This is a pre-shipment/primeur offer. All orders are accepted under the TERMS of this offer which differ from the terms of the rest of the site.
The 2020 Branaire Ducru has a tightly wound bouquet of blackberry, wild hedgerow, freshly tilled loam and distinct sea spray scents, all well defined, albeit 15–20 minutes after opening my sample bottle. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy tannins, and very cohesive, displaying a keen thread of acidity. Unlike previous vintages, there is impressive density on the midpalate where it once was a little lean, and plenty of energy and tension conveyed by the finish. Excellent. Drinking range: 2028 - 2048 Rating: 92-94 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2021)
Blueberry, blackberry, damson and hawthorn, this has juice and tannins with an elegance and really excellent St-Julien character; A lovely Branaire, well placed. Unfussy, this is still not overly exuberant but it has a real sense of sappiness, lift and sinew. 3% Cabernet Franc completes the blend. Drinking range: 2027 - 2042 Rating: 93 Jane Anson, Decanter (May 2021)
This is a fine vintage for Branaire but it is an atypical one, too. Usually velvety and charming, the classic Branaire flavours are here but they are tense, angular and rather introverted. The acidity is bitingly fresh and the tannins are lined up ready for combat, but these two elements do not dare to interfere with the fruit. The oak is lovely, too, and so I am confident that this will be a hugely enjoyable wine down the line, but you will have to wait not only for the tannins to soften, but also for the fruit it drop its shoulders, too. Rating: 18+ Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com (Jun 2021)
The 2020 Branaire-Ducru is utterly magnificent. A wine of extraordinary depth and dimension, the 2020 possesses tremendous intensity right out of the gate. Inky dark fruit, chocolate, new leather, licorice, cloves and lavender build as into the explosive, palate-staining finish. I don't think I have ever tasted a Branaire quite like this. Drinking range: 2030 - 2050 Rating: 94-96 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Jun 2021)
The 2020 Château Branaire-Ducru is vivid purple in color, with a classy, slightly exotic nose of blueberries, plums, violets, and orange blossom, and a kiss of marine-like iron emerging with time in the glass. Medium to full-bodied, nicely concentrated, and focused on the palate, it’s not massive by any means yet shines for its balance, purity, and length. Rating: 92-94 Jeb Dunnuck, www.jebdunnuck.com (May 2021)
The 2020 Branaire-Ducru displays a deep garnet-purple color and pronounced blackcurrant cordial, plum preserves and boysenberries scents, plus hints of sautéed herbs, unsmoked cigars and graphite. The medium-bodied palate has a lot of verve, delivering appealing tension among the tightly wound black fruits and grainy tannins, finishing with an herbal lift. Drinking range: 2024 - 2042 Rating: 91 - 93+ Lisa Perrotti-Brown, RobertParker.com (May 2021)
A polished, creamy red with blue fruit, such as blackcurrants, and pretty, ripe and fine tannins that fill your mouth. Drinking range: 2021 - Rating: 93-94 James Suckling, www.jamessuckling.com (May 2021)
Pleasing nose, softly, freshly rich, subtly gravelly; very nicely balanced, medium-full, fresh to lively in acidity, very fine in tannin, a touch of the slightly “crisper” 2020 St-Julien style; but lovely red- and black-fruit flavor, mineral-infused, a gentle flesh at the core, a very restrained mid-weight style, with a beautiful texture, gravel-marked, and with excellent length. Beautiful wine, fine St-Julien. Drinking range: 2030 - 2050 Rating: 91-93 Michael Schuster, World of Fine Wine (May 2021)
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.
Please make sure that you have read the terms of this offer which are different from those on the main website. If you are unclear as to what is involved in primeur purchases please do contact our private client team via email or on 0207 221 1982.
Prices are all in bond by the case size stated.
Pre-Orders are a firm commitment to buy wines on release, as long as the release price sits within the upper and lower price bands set by you on the pre-order form. Pre-orders will be fulfilled subject to availability but providing this firm commitment to buy effectively gives you priority and is a good idea for the most desirable wines.
Wines listed on the website can be ordered in the usual way via the website wishlist order form. You can also send orders directly to our private client team via email. Please note that, for the most sought after wines, priority will be given to those who ordered the same wines last year and to those that have pre-ordered.
All orders will be confirmed by email and are binding unless written cancellation is received within seven days of email confirmation. Pre-orders are not binding if the release price is above your upper price band.
Invoices are all raised at the in bond price (excluding any duty and VAT) which will become payable at the prevailing rates when the wines arrive in the UK, should you wish to take duty paid delivery.
Payment is required on sight of invoice, by cash, cheque, debit card or bank transfer. We regret we cannot accept credit cards for en primeur orders. We reserve the right to apply a dunning charge of 2% per month on invoices unpaid after 30 days.
- Shipment to our bond (at LCB Creek Road) and insurance are included in the in bond price.
- Delivery is free to Lea and Sandeman / Elephant storage accounts, both duty paid and in bond.
- Other deliveries (In Bond and Duty Paid) are also free subject to a minimum order from the offer of £500. Orders below this total will be charged an administration and handling fee of £16.50+ VAT when invoices are issued. We will group deliveries and this is a charge for your entire purchases, not a per-case charge.
- Delivery of 2020 Bordeaux bought en primeur is expected during 2023. Delivery dates may vary as wines are shipped from Bordeaux at different times.
- We do not anticipate any problems but please be aware that delays to delivery may occur should Britain's possible departure from the European Union result in additional border customs checks or other regulatory requirements. Any additional or unforeseen duties, tariffs, charges or other financial liabilities relating to 'Brexit' must be due to the customer and will be invoiced as required.
Practical notes - how it works
We start a sale in each customer's name and add all their primeur orders to one sale which is invoiced at the end of the campaign (or when the customer wishes). Immediate payment of invoices is then required by cash, cheque, debit card or bank transfer. We and our customers find that having a single invoice for the vintage is the simpler option but please note that confirmed orders are still binding even if the final invoice has not yet been issued.
Please specify on your wishlist order form where you would like the wines shipped on arrival in the UK. If this is to a third-party bonded warehouse, please specify the relevant account details. If the wines are required duty-paid we will issue a second invoice for duty and VAT at the prevailing rate when the wines are available for delivery.
Half-bottles, Magnums and larger bottles.
One of the additional advantages of buying en primeur is being able to order the wine in the format you want. While most of our listings are for 75cl bottles, we can source wines in any format if offered by the Château. Please note that format requests cannot be changed once wines have been invoiced. Additional charges for special formats do apply and are as follows:-
- +£20 per case of 24 half-bottles
- +£10 per case of 6 Magnums (2 bottles equivalent, 1.5 litres each)
- +£35 per individually boxed Double Magnum (4 bottles equivalent, 3 litres)
- +£50 per individually boxed Imperial (8 bottles equivalent, 6 litres) for Salmanazars, Balthazars, Nebuchadnezzars and Melchiors please enquire for availability and price.
Wines bought en primeur won't arrive in the UK until 2023. If you do not wish to take home delivery at that point, you may wish to consider where you would like the wines shipped. Lea & Sandeman offers duty paid and in bond storage through a dedicated storage company called Elephant Storage. For more details on the terms and fees associated with storage please go to our Storage Homepage or contact our private client team for more information.