A classic Saint Julien Chateau that produces wines of real St Julien class and structure. 60 hectares of vines planted with 65%Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. Purchased by the late Patrick Maroteaux in 1988, it is now run by his son Francois-Xavier who told us that the 2018 seems to him to be a hypothetical blend of 2009 (accessability), 2010 (structure) and 2016 (classicism). A bit more Merlot this year with a final blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot.
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The 2019 Branaire -Ducru is one instance where I felt that the first two bottles via the UGC shipment were not quite correct, so I requested two more direct from the château. They were different. It has plenty of dark berry fruit on the nose mixed with smoke, tobacco and undergrowth scents - just classic Saint-Julien. The palate is medium-bodied with a tangy saline entry, fresh and defined by the crisp tannins. Whereas the first samples lacked a bit of cohesion, this is more focused and detailed with a seriously impressive classically styled, graphite tinged finish. Result? Best Branaire I've tasted in barrel. Kudos to François-Xavier Maroteau and his team. 2024 - 2050.
Sporting a deep garnet-purple color, the 2019 Branaire-Ducru starts off a little broody, with woodsmoke and graphite-inspired scents giving way to an emerging core of warm cassis, mulberries and fruitcake plus touches of mocha, rose petals and bouquet garni. Medium-bodied, the palate reveals surprising energy with bags of perfumed black fruits juxtaposed by compelling tension and a fine-grained texture, beautifully supporting the tightly knit layers, finishing on a lingering mineral note. If the bottled wine delivers on this promise, I foresee a wonderfully poised, nuanced Branaire-Ducru of the sophistication and caliber that has not been seen for quite some time. Exciting! 2024 - 2044
Dark-berry and blue-fruit character to the firm, chewy tannins that are polished and solid. Medium to full body. Wood and walnut undertones now. Impressive.
The 2019 Branaire-Ducru dazzles from start to finish. All the Brainaire signatures - rose petal, lavender, red and purplish fruit - are present, but they are kicked up a few notches, with all of the radiance of the year on full display. Soft, plush and so alluring, the 2019 Branaire is one sexy wine. Impressive. Tasted two times.
Deep ruby in colour with red cherry and darker plum on the nose. The palate is compact and fresh, with chalky tannins framing hedgerow fruit and a hint of cedar. This elegant and fresh example is well proportioned and harmonious through to the finish.
Floral-studded nose along with cassis fruits, this is an enjoyable Branaire Ducru that is easy to recommend. Lighter-framed than some in the appellation with its characteristic fine tannins making this a medium-term drinker within the St Julien context. Plenty of juice running through the palate, enjoyable baked earth and menthol notes and a kick of salinity on the finish. A yield of 43hl/ha. 4% Cabernet Franc completes the blend. Drinking Window 2026 - 2042
56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc. Barrel sample.
Juicy, appetising and very aromatic. Almost primary in the definition of the aromas. Lithe and fresh on the palate, the tannins firm but not aggressive. (JL)
Drink 2026 – 2038