"Deep colour. Elderberry cassis lead pencil aromas. Sinuous wine with fresh elderberry, cassis-like fruit, graphite tannins and underlying toasty oak notes. Finishes muscular firm but long and sweet. Quite vigorous wine with tannins building up at the finish with mouthwatering acidity. Quite Italianesque.Tasted at the Union des Grand Crus."
This is clearly the best wine I have tasted from Branaire-Ducru. Exquisite depth and richness are on offer, yet this is always framed and focused. Layers of fruit and tannins. So deep and long. Incredible quality.
Branaire-Ducru is gorgeous in 2016. A rush of inky blue/purplish fruit, licorice, violet, lavender and dark spices give the wine its rich, textured feel. Gracious and nuanced, in the classic Branaire style, the 2016 possesses lovely depth and sensuality, with no hard edges and terrific overall balance. Time in the glass brings out the wine's more floral and spiced notes. Above all else, Branaire is a wine of finesse despite its considerable intensity. It is also arguably the most polished of the Saint-Juliens. Tasted two times.
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%.)
Small but mighty, the appellation of St.-Julien, on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, has long enjoyed a reputation for exceptional quality and consistency. Compared to its neighbours in Bordeaux, St.-Julien produces the highest proportion of classified-growth wines, with more than three-quarters of the vineyards devoted to top-ranked producers. They include several “Super Second” chateaux and many other outstanding classified growths and Cru Bourgeois. Saint-Julien wines are beautifully balanced, with a great richness, depth of colour, and elegance. Cabernet Sauvignon prevails, with Merlot and Cabernet Franc used for blending in the classic Bordeaux style.
Chateau Branaire Ducru
Chateau Branaire Ducru is a fourth growth (4ème Cru Classé) estate in St-Julien. The Chateau has 60 ha of vineyards planted to Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Merlot (22%), Cabernet Franc (5%) and Petit Verdot (3%). The Grand Vin has one of the highest proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend among all the wines of the Médoc. A second wine called Duluc de Branaire Ducru is produced from the estate’s younger vines.