The 2017 Branaire Ducru was picked 13 September until 4 October over a three-week period, cropped at 39.6hl/ha. The alcohol here is 13.2°. The wine is aged in 60% new oak, which is how the sample was made. It has a harmonious bouquet with brambly black fruit, melted tar and tobacco scents, not powerful but precise. The palate is medium-bodied with a smooth texture, fine tannin, just a subtle savory note developing and merging nicely with the black fruit, hints of white pepper and cedar towards the poised finish that is quintessential Saint-Julien. There is an essence of drinkability about this Branaire-Ducru and I can imagine this being approachable after three to four years. This is a very fine Branaire-Ducru. Drink 2021-2040.
|Score: 91/93||Neal Martin, vinous.com, May 2018|
The deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Branaire-Ducru gives up notes of baked black berries, red cherries and mulberries with touches of potpourri and smoked meats. Medium-bodied with a lively line lifting the good concentration of red and black fruits, it has a chewy frame and grippy finish.
|Score: 88/90||Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (236), April 2018|
This is very tight and focused with a precise depth of blackberry and blueberry fruit. Full body, melted tannins and a fresh and vivid finish. Shows a compacted style.
|Score: 92/93||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2018|
The 2017 Branaire-Ducru offers lovely depth and density. The characteristic dark red/purplish fruit character of Brainaire comes through beautifully. As always, Branaire is a wine of polish and finesse. Stylistically, the 2017 comes across as a smaller scaled and more accessible version of the 2015. If that sounds appealing, well, it is. The 2017 is really quite lovely. Tasted three times.
|Score: 91/94||Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, May 2018|
Very deep crimson, one of the deepest. Looks very healthy! Some silkiness on the nose – quite a surprise! A tribute to the late Patrick Maroteaux? So polished and fine. Really rather beautiful. Umami, unforced but definitely St-Julien. I seem to like this much more than Julia liked the sample she tasted. There’s a slight suggestion of leafiness but not excessively so.
|Score: 16.5||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, May 2018|
Deep cherry red. Fragrant with pure, pretty cassis on the nose. Slightly leafy. But a little dilute on the palate. The tannins are light enough to give balance but it's pretty lightweight overall, hence the rather early drinking date.
|Score: 15.5||Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2018|
Yields here in 2017 were down from 50 hl/ha in the previous vintage to 39.6 hl/ha and the blend is a classic 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot,6.5% Petit Verdot and 4.5% Cabernet Franc. Juicy on the nose with plums and cherries supported by notes of fresh coffee. This has a touch of ripeness but has great typicity. The palate is compact and elegant, with dark berry fruits tempered by fresh acidity and refined but quintessentially medocain tannins. This is polished, but classic Bordeaux, with a hint of graphite and cool freshness on the finish. Not a powerhouse but one to offer delicious mid-term drinking.
|Score: 15||Farr Vintners, April 2018|
A little tight, austere and hard to read. I tasted this on several occasions and each time it needed to be taken slowly, giving it time to unwind and to come out of its shell. There is a lovely richness to it that builds through the mid-palate, and the well expressed plum and blackberry fruit is soft. It's a balanced and elegant St-Julien, but just a touch underpowered.
Drinking Window 2024 - 2038
|Score: 89||Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2018|
A rather closed and edgy Branaire with some green highlights adding bitterness and drama. The fruit is glossy and juicy and aside from the taut notes which make the mouth-water such is their attack - this is a successful wine. Will this bitterness subside? Yes, I have a feeling that the fruit will managed to rehydrate the palate perfectly. I would rarely bet against this Château.
|Score: 17.5+||Matthew Jukes, Matthew Jukes' Blog, April 2018|