The 2014 Branaire Ducru has a slightly uncouth bouquet compared to its peers: blackberry, blueberry, oyster shell and just a splash of cedar. It does not quite deliver the complexity of Beychevelle or Gruaud Larose. The palate is medium-bodied with a smooth velvety texture, moderate acidity, pure black cherry and raspberry fruit. It is a seductive Saint Julien but at the moment it articulates more the winemaking than the terroir, consequently it does not provide the same engagement as its peers. Not showy, but certainly well crafted. There is more to come with bottle maturation. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. 2020 - 2032
|Score: 89||Neal Martin, vinous.com, March 2018|
The 2014 Branaire-Ducru offers a mixture of red and black fruit on the nose, suffused with tobacco and pleasant undergrowth aromas, perhaps just missing the precision of the Beychevelle at the moment. The palate is supple on the entry with a slightly grainy texture, the acidity well judged, a little edginess towards the finish that just needs to must more depth, more drive. Not bad for the vintage, although I would like to see some improvement in bottle. Tasted twice with consistent notes. Drink 2019-2038
|Score: 89||Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (Interim en), April 2017|
The Château Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc picked between 24 September with the early-ripening Merlot, and finishing on 11 October. The yields came in at 40 hectoliters per hectare and Patrick Maratoux explained the importance of waiting for the correct maturity of each parcel. It has a tightly wound bouquet with black cherries and orange peel aromas, focused if not quite as complex as say, Château Beychevelle. The palate is medium-bodied, sinewy in the mouth with tensile tannins. This is a wine that seems to be making a huge effort in this vintage, but I would like to see more finesse manifested on the finish by the time it is in bottle. You know, I think that will develop. That 12 to 13% vin de presse lends this Branaire Ducru impressive sustain on the finish and I suspect that it will coalesce throughout the barrel ageing in two-thirds new oak (though the sample shown at the château was 100% new oak).
Drink: 2018 - 2032
|Score: 90/92||Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (218), April 2015|
This is a slightly shy mid-weight wine that is anything but a flashy one. If you have some patience though it has plenty of subtlety and sophistication. Drink in 2021.
|Score: 93||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2017|
This really builds on the palate with round and velvety tannins and a juicy, savory finish. Layered and complex. Shows real potential.
|Score: 92/93||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2015|
The 2014 Branaire Ducru is soft, polished and super-inviting. Succulent red cherry, plum, lavender, spice and mint give the wine its attractive, open-knit personality, while silky tannins add to an overall impression of sensuality. The 2014 should drink well with minimal cellaring. Today, it is among the most accessible of the Saint-Juliens.
|Score: 93||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, February 2017|
The 2014 Branaire Ducru is beautifully textured in the glass. Lavender, plum, mint and spice open up nicely in the glass. Initially quite dense and powerful, the 2014 turns more floral and lifted over time. Sweet red cherry, graphite, violet and licorice add further shades of dimension on the finish. Creamy, silky tannins add to an overall impression of sophistication. The style is round, supple and quite giving, even at this early stage. Tasted three times.
|Score: 91/94||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, April 2015|
Tasted blind. Great balance and integration on the nose. Sweet and fresh but not massively concentrated. Slightly scrawny finish.
|Score: 16.5+||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2018|
Dark crimson. Energetic nose. Fairly light palate without that much concentration. Round, with less tannic charge than most. Serviceable. A little scrawny on the finish.
|Score: 16+||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2015|
A classic Saint Julien Chateau that has pushed the quality level up considerably in recent vintages under owner Patrick Maroteaux and winemaker Jean-Dominique Videau. It produces wines of real St Julien class and structure. Deep purple colour. A perfumed nose of cherry and sweet vanilla. Very spicy fruit on the palate, with soft and rounded tannins and lively acidity. Creamy tannins with a smack of toasty new wood. Added freshness as the acidity builds on the finish, leaving a clean blackcurrant note.
|Score: 15.5||Farr Vintners, March 2015|
I was disappointed not be able to taste the 2015 from this estate, but the 2014 Branaire-Ducru showed well from a bottle purchased locally. Revealing a deep ruby/plum color and forward, sexy notes of black cherries, plums, leather, dried tobacco leaves and cedarwood, it offers impressive depth and density in the vintage, beautiful balance, and a rich, layered textured that has it already drinking nicely. It can be drunk anytime over the coming 20 years. 2018 - 2038
|Score: 90||Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, November 2017|
Very pure and expressive, featuring lovely violet and cassis aromas and flavors that stream forth, backed by light anise and graphite hints. Maintains a fresh feel through the finish, with light minerality engaging with the fruit. Best from 2019 through 2028. 13,335 cases made.
|Score: 93||James Molesworth, WineSpectator.com, February 2017|
The nose has a mix of flavours quite fragrant and fresh. The start of the palate is bright the mid palate sweeter supple with well handles tannins and although lighter and fresher towards the back the finish has some rich fruit. 2025-37
|Score: 87/91||Derek Smedley MW, April 2015|
|Score: 90+||Decanter Magazine, April 2015|