2014 Ch. Branaire-Ducru, St Julien, Bordeaux

2014 Ch. Branaire-Ducru, St Julien, Bordeaux

Product: 20148003230
Prices start from £44.98 per bottle (75cl). Buying options
2014 Ch. Branaire-Ducru, St Julien, Bordeaux

Description

This Fourth Growth St Julien estate has been performing consistently well for the past several vintages and 2014 is no exception. The nose is pretty, attractively perfumed, fresh and expressive. The palate is dominated by rich, fleshy fruit. There is a purity here, great precision and ripe tannins which grip, and offer an intense focus. High acidity, complexity and a persistence on the finish suggest this wine has excellent potential for aging. Elegant and fine, it is a wine that the château can be proud of. Bravo indeed.

65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc
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About this WINE

Chateau Branaire-Ducru

Chateau Branaire-Ducru

Château Branaire-Ducru is situated on the opposite side of the road from Château Beychevelle in the south of the St-Julien appellation. Patrick Maroteaux has owned the property since 1988 and he has invested heavily in new plantings as well as installing a spanking new cuvier and an ultra-modern chai.

Branaire-Ducru's 60 hectares of vineyards are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Merlot (22%), Cabernet Franc (5%), Petit Verdot (3%). The wines are matured in oak barriques (65% new). The proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend is even higher than that in the vineyards - 80-85% in most years, which is one of the highest in the Médoc.

Branaire-Ducru produces a pure and classic St-Julien which is elegant, ripe, supple and well-balanced. It is classified as a 4ème Cru Classé.

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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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Reviews

Customer reviews

The Wine Advocate89/100
Jancis16+/20
Decanter17.25/100
Other89

Critic reviews

The Wine Advocate89/100
The 2014 Branaire-Ducru offers a mixture of red and black fruit on the nose, suffused with tobacco and pleasant undergrowth aromas, perhaps just missing the precision of the Beychevelle at the moment. The palate is supple on the entry with a slightly grainy texture, the acidity well judged, a little edginess towards the finish that just needs to must more depth, more drive. Not bad for the vintage, although I would like to see some improvement in bottle. Tasted twice with consistent notes.
Neal Martin - 31/03/2017 Read more
Jancis16+/20
Dark crimson. Energetic nose. Fairly light palate without that much concentration. Round, with less tannic charge than most. Serviceable. A little scrawny on the finish.
Jancis Robinson MW - jancisrobinson.com - Apr 2015 Read more
Decanter17.25/100
Very well-expressed ripe Cabernet fruit with elegant structure and good length. Never showy at the start of its life, this is a classic Branaire that needs to age.
James Lawther MW - decanter.com - Apr 2015 Read more
Other89
The 2014 Branaire Ducru has a slightly uncouth bouquet compared to its peers: blackberry, blueberry, oyster shell and just a splash of cedar. It does not quite deliver the complexity of Beychevelle or Gruaud Larose. The palate is medium-bodied with a smooth velvety texture, moderate acidity, pure black cherry and raspberry fruit. It is a seductive Saint Julien but at the moment it articulates more the winemaking than the terroir, consequently it does not provide the same engagement as its peers. Not showy, but certainly well crafted. There is more to come with bottle maturation. Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting.
Neal Martin, vinous.com Read more