2011 Ch. Branaire-Ducru, St Julien, Bordeaux

2011 Ch. Branaire-Ducru, St Julien, Bordeaux

Product: 20118003230
Prices start from £170.00 per case Buying options
2011 Ch. Branaire-Ducru, St Julien, Bordeaux

Description

We have consistently flagged up the progress made at this Fourth Growth St Julien estate in recent years and this vintage shows superbly the technical expertise which underpins their success. The bouquet shows intense focus, and on the palate there is great precision, with a tightly-knit core of sweet, ripe, berry fruit.

There is a very fine weave on the palate, a silky texture and a real concentration drawn from the low yield, which is around 18% below the figure for 2010. The tannins are abundant but are extremely fine, and this wine should age well for 15-20 years. Owner Patrick Maroteaux places this below the great vintages such as 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2010, but above 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008.
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About this WINE

Château Branaire-Ducru

Château Branaire-Ducru

Classified as a fourth growth in 1855, Ch. Branaire-Ducru makes pure and classic St Julien. The estate has recently passed from father to son: the widely respected Patrick Maroteaux – who had served at various times as president of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux and the St Julien appellation – sadly passed away in 2017. His son François-Xavier has picked up the baton and continues his father’s legacy. The Maroteaux family bought the property in 1988 and have invested considerably in the vineyard and winery since. Superstar consultant Eric Boissenot advises here, as he does with many of the Left Bank’s top estates, including the Médoc’s four first growths.

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St Julien

St Julien

St Julien is the smallest of the "Big Four" Médoc communes. Although, without any First Growths, St Julien is recognised to be the most consistent of the main communes, with several châteaux turning out impressive wines year after year. 

St Julien itself is much more of a village than Pauillac and almost all of the notable properties lie to its south. Its most northerly château is Ch. Léoville Las Cases (whose vineyards actually adjoin those of Latour in Pauillac) but,  further south, suitable vineyard land gives way to arable farming and livestock until the Margaux appellation is reached.  

The soil is gravelly and finer than that of Pauillac, and without the iron content which gives Pauillac its stature. The homogeneous soils in the vineyards (which extend over a relatively small area of just over 700 hectares) give the commune a unified character.

The wines can be assessed as much by texture as flavour, and there is a sleek, wholesome character to the best. Elegance, harmony and perfect balance and weight, with hints of cassis and cedar, are what epitomise classic St Julien wines. At their very best they combine Margaux’s elegance and refinement with Pauillac’s power and substance.

Ch. Léoville Las Cases produces arguably the most sought-after St Julien, and in any reassessment of the 1855 Classification it would almost certainly warrant being elevated to First Growth status.

Recommended Châteaux: Ch. Léoville Las CasesCh.Léoville Barton, Ch Léoville Poyferré, Ch. Ducru-Beaucaillou, Ch Langoa Barton, Ch Gruaud Larose, Ch. Branaire-Ducru, Ch. Beychevelle

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Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

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Critics reviews

Wine Advocate89/100
Wine Spectator 90-93/100
Robert Parker91-93/100
Decanter16.5/100
Wine Advocate89/100
A dense blue/ruby/purple color is followed by notes of raspberries, incense and spring flowers, supple tannins, medium body and excellent elegance as well as purity. The result is a suave, savory 2011. While it does not possess the size or richness of vintages such as 2009 and 2010, the 2011 has plenty of charm and appeal. Drink it over the next decade.
Robert M. Parker, Jr. - 30/04/2014 Read more
Wine Spectator 90-93/100
A very elegant style, with a violet frame to the supple red currant, blueberry and black cherry fruit flavors that mingle with high-toned spice on the finish. Offers fine-grained structure.
Wine Spectator's 2011 Top-Scoring Red Bordeaux
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator, April 10, 2012 Read more
Robert Parker91-93/100
A top-notch effort from this estate, the 2011 exhibits an exotic perfume of lead pencil shavings, white chocolate, raspberry jam and red as well as black currants. Loads of fruit, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel and velvety tannin suggest this beauty will drink well for 15+ years. It is one of the stars of the appellation in this vintage. Bravo!
Robert Parker - Wine Advocate - April 2012 Read more
Decanter16.5/100
Very good depth of Cabernet-cassis fruit, good middle sweetness and firm natural tannins. Will show very well.
Decanter – Bordeaux 2011 coverage – April 2012 Read more