The 2016 Brane-Cantenac has been on a roll of late, under the watchful eye of Henri Lurton. This latest bottled vintage is superb. The divine, pure blackberry and bilberry bouquet develops touches of graphite in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, silky-smooth texture and a superb bead of acidity. This is not a powerful Brane-Cantenac, and it is perhaps less austere than I suspected en primeur, but it should drink beautifully over the next three decades. If you have a penchant for traditional claret, it really doesn’t come better than this. Drink 2028-2056.
|Score: 96||Neal Martin, vinous.com (Jan 2019), January 2019|
The 2016 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Carmenere picked from 22 September until 17 October (the tiny parcel of Carmenere picked three days later). The yields came in at 51 hectoliters per hectare and it is matured in 75% new oak and 25% one-year-old barrels, the final alcohol level 13.3%. It has a beautifully defined, very detailed bouquet with mineral-rich black fruit laced with cedar and graphite notes, living up to its nom de plume as the "Pauillac of Margaux." The palate is simply the best that I have ever tasted at the estate, without question. This has presence, but also weightlessness, filigree tannin and perfectly pitched acidity, with real intensity and drive. The tension here is outstanding and the persistence is incredibly long. It is not the showiest of all the 2016s by a long stretch, and yet it is everything you could possibly want from a Margaux. Like Beychevelle this year, the 2016 Brane-Cantenac puts recent vintages in the shade, thanks not only to the growing season, but also a new punching down system in their gravity-fed winery that was completed in 2015. The 2016 is a benchmark against which future vintages will be compared. Drink 2026-2060.
|Score: 96/98||Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (230), April 2017|
So much ripe and sweet tobacco on the nose with currant and blackberry character. Full body, intense tannins with density and beauty. It’s a wine with great structure and panache for this estate. Try after 2024.
|Score: 96||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2019|
This is really strong from Brane-Cantenac this year with toned muscles and beautiful fruit. Full-bodied, chewy and polished. Shows wonderful intensity and density yet remains reserved and very tight. Very impressive from here. Grabs you. One of the best ever from here.
|Score: 95/96||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2017|
The 2016 Brane-Cantenac is very pretty and nuanced. The richness of the year comes through, and yet there is a good bit of freshness and energy as well to balance things out nicely. Brane-Cantenac offers a fine expression of the year in a wine that will drink well with minimal cellaring. Time in the glass brings out an attractive register of floral notes that add to the wine's undeniable appeal. Drink 2022-2046.
|Score: 93||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, January 2019|
The 2016 Brane-Cantenac is terrific, and also a worthy follow-up to the 2015, although it naturally reflects the very different personality of the year. Dark red and purplish fruit, mocha, spice and leather infuse this super-expressive Margaux. Vivid and intense, but with a perceptible feeling of translucent finesse, the 2016 is wonderfully complete and expressive. It also has quite a bit of potential to grow from there. Tasted three times.
|Score: 90/93||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, April 2017|
Dark purplish crimson. Neat, unforced, smells fully ripe. Salty finish and a fine spread across the palate. Bone dry, but not too drying, finish. Cool, unforced and sophisticated. Very competent indeed.
|Score: 17||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2017|
Henri Lurton, the proprietor here, has been working to improve quality in the vineyard with regrafting of Merlot to high quality Cabernet Sauvignon as they look to keep freshness and structure in the wines. The vineyard is now planted with 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Carmenere with the remainder Merlot. The 2016 was cropped at 51hl/ha and is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1%, 27% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc with a dash of Carmenere. Henri Lurton believes this could be the greatest Brane Cantenac they have made with small berries of ripe Cabernet Sauvignon giving superb balance with great acidity, and intensity without weight, and high levels of integration despite the volume of tannins. Deep in colour, there is a fresh nose of crushed red and black berry fruits. Perfumed, floral and smoky with incense. The palate is pure and fine with ripe blackcurrant and hints of violet. Toasty, smoky notes provide complexity from integrated yet spicy new oak. Silky and lifted through the finish, there is great poise and elegance to this long, classic Margaux.
|Score: 16+||Farr Vintners, April 2017|
Rich ripe sweet fruit the nose has depth of flavour the palate the sweetness of ripe black cherry and cassis. Fresh fruit in the middle gives balance lifts the flavours with at the back some rich black fruits. 2025-37
|Score: 89/93||Derek Smedley MW, DerekSmedleyMW.co.uk, April 2017|
As an appellation, Margaux didn’t quite hit the same heights in 2016 as it did in 2015. This is well made enough, but the tannins are a little firm, as if they were baked by the summer heat wave. The underlying fruit is impressive, but this needs to soften in bottle. 2024-30
|Score: 91||Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2017|
Gorgeous campsite woodsmoke effect on the nose and the effect, as is so often the case with Brane, is that their use of oak ageing is extremely cleverly thought out. This is a luscious wine with rich, deeply layered fruits and gentle spices, all set against well brushed, caressing tannins. This is a great vintage for this property, so effortless. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere (now old enough at 10 years, and successful enough due to the late harvest, to finally make it into the grand vin). Excellent.
Drinking Window 2027 - 2050
|Score: 94||Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2017|