The 2016 Branaire-Ducru has a rather low-key, smudged bouquet featuring ample red fruit, yet missing the terroir expression of some of its peers; I would like more “oomph.” The palate is well balanced, quite graceful and poised, delivering lightly spiced black fruit, touches of pencil lead and a nicely detailed if not powerful finish. More approachable than its peers, yet noble. Tasted blind at the Southwold tasting. 2023 - 2055
|Score: 92||Neal Martin, vinous.com, August 2020|
The 2016 Branaire Ducru has a fragrant bouquet of plush blackberry and graphite aromas, hints of bilberry and briar developing in the glass. The medium-bodied palate is quite succulent and multilayered, offering supple tannin and gentle grip on the finish. Real potential here. One of the best Branaire Ducru in recent years. Chapeau! Drink 2023-2055.
|Score: 93||Neal Martin, vinous.com (Jan 2019), January 2019|
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%.) Drink 2023 - 2050.
|Score: 92/94||Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (230), April 2017|
The best vintage of this wine since 2009! Effusive, fresh redcurrant and cassis aromas give this St.-Julien terrific drive and energy, the elegant, dry tannins beautifully married to the medium body, right through the long, agile finish. Drink or hold.
|Score: 95||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2019|
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.
|Score: 95/96||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2017|
The 2016 Branaire-Ducru is powerful, dense and explosive to a degree that is surprising for a wine that is typically much more sensual. There is lovely definition throughout, but readers will have to be patient to catch the 2016 at its very best. Hints of leather, smoke, tobacco and dried flowers begin to open up in the glass, but the 2016 is quite reticent at this stage. In two tastings I found the 2016 unusually closed. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what time brings. Drink 2026-2046.
|Score: 93+||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, January 2019|
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.
|Score: 92/95||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, April 2017|
Tasted blind. Tobacco-leaf nose and a bit savoury and scrawny on the end. Correct and a little warm, with prominent acidity.
Drink 2026 – 2039
|Score: 16.5||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2020|
Deep crimson. Quite intense with some gloss and evident ripeness. Lots of tannins and not overdone. Great polish.
|Score: 17||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, May 2018|
Juicy, savoury nose. Fresh and fine-boned. Could only be bordeaux – tant mieux! Silky texture with some energy.
|Score: 17||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2017|
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. 60 hectares of vines planted with 70%Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. The Chateau believe their wine is close stylistically to their 2010. 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc. Dark fruits and cedar on the nose with a touch of pencil shavings. The palate is firm and fresh with classic medocain tannins and lively acidity but cool, ripe blackcurrant fruit. Balanced, long and pure on the finish.
|Score: 15.5+||Farr Vintners, April 2017|
The 2016 Château Branaire-Ducru checks in as a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc. This medium to full-bodied, downright pretty Saint-Julien has a complex, layered style in its mulberries, blackberries, saddle leather, and forest floor aromatics, with hints of graphite developing with time in the glass. Possessing terrific tannins, nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish, I’d certainly be happy to have bottles of this in the cellar. Give it a few years and it promises to shine for 20-25 years. 2021 - 2046.
|Score: 92+||Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, February 2019|
The nose has a mix of fragrances the start of the palate is fresh. There is mid sweetness supple rich black fruits the tannins are fine and ripe fresher more of a bramble character at the back with sweetness on the finish. 2025-37
|Score: 89/93||Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, April 2017|
Comparatively closed at this stage, as it was in 2015, this is a firm, concentrated, structured wine that has its eye on the future rather than the present. Sturdy and dense, this is a wine to forget about for at least eight years. 2025-32
|Score: 91||Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2017|
Always a supremely elegant, measured take on St-Julien that delivers in spades in 2016. Plush damson fruit comes through with just the right level of extraction. Beautifully rich, ripe fruit is joined by touches of oak at exactly the right moment. An exceptional showing from Branaire that rises above its 2015.
Drinking Window 2027 - 2045
|Score: 94||Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2017|