The 2014 Brane-Cantenac is similar to the bottle poured blind at the Southwold tasting just a few weeks earlier. It has a crisp red currant and cranberry bouquet laced with tobacco, cedar and chalk.
The palate is well-defined and beautifully balanced, delivering crisp acidity and fine tannin. This is unashamedly taut and linear, but it displays commendable energy on the mineral-driven finish.
There is great potential here, although I recommend giving it a few years in bottle. Tasted at the Brane-Cantenac vertical at the property.
Drink 2025 - 2050
Neal Martin, Vinous.com (January 2019)
The 2014 Brane-Cantenac is a burly, powerful wine that will need quite a bit of time to come into its own, although it may never be particularly refined. The tannins are clenched and imposing today, especially for the wine’s medium-bodied frame. Bright red stone fruit, white pepper and floral notes are some of the signatures.
Drink 2024 - 2039
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (February 2017)
Harvesting right through until 17th October, was rewarded by well-ripened Cabernet that shows itself in the plush, carefully extracted plummy fruit. This lovely wine shows how carefully and precisely Brane has built up its fruit definition and texture over the past few years. It's unquestionably a successful wine with poise, fluidity and confident tannins.
Drink 2024 - 2036
Jane Anson, Decanter.com (November 2017)
Tasted blind. Rich, dense, pretty exciting with lots of nerviness. Complex. Deep flavoured.
Drink 2021 - 2040
Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (February 2018)
The 2014 Brane-Cantenac has a very classy bouquet, very well defined with blackberry, cedar and tobacco scents, that trademark graphite scent emerging with a few swirls of the glass. It is exactly what you expect from this Margaux estate.
The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, well-judged acidity, graphite and cedar towards the linear finish that will clearly need several years to unfold. Classic Margaux really, but wise owls will cellar it away for several years.
Drink 2022 - 2045
Neil Martin, Wine Advocate (March 2017)
A little bit lighter than some of the 2014 Margauxs, but this is quite an elegant wine with a long, dry finish of some sophistication.
Drink now or hold
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (February 2017)
Lovely fragrance, the class evident from start to the finish. Very Brane-Cantenac: floral, great finesse, elegant persistence and a good future.
Drink 2019 - 2034
Steven Spurrier, Decanter.com (April 2015)
About this WINE
Château Brane-Cantenac was for many years the home of Lucien Lurton - it is now owned and run by his son Henri. Its vineyards are located west of the village of Cantenac in the Margaux appellation. Brane-Cantenac's vineyards are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (55%), Merlot (40%), Cabernet Franc (4.5%) and Carmenère 0,5%, and lie on fine, gravelly soils. Vinification includes up to 18 months' wood ageing, a third to a half in new `barriques'.
Brane Cantenac was perceived throughout much of the 70s and 80s as an underperforming property. Since Henri took over, there has been extensive investment in the cuverie and chai, as well as vastly improved vineyard management techniques. Consequently, the wines at Brane Cantenac now show more weight and concentration, although they still possess that haunting bouquet and quintessential elegance that characterise the wines of Margaux. It is classified as a 2ème Cru Classé.
If Pauillac can be seen as the bastion of ‘traditional’ Red Bordeaux, then Margaux represents its other facet in producing wines that are among Bordeaux’s most sensual and alluring. It is the largest commune in the Médoc, encompassing the communes of Cantenac, Soussans, Arsac and Labaude, in addition to Margaux itself. Located in the centre of the Haut-Médoc, Margaux is the closest of the important communes to the city of Bordeaux.
The soils in Margaux are the lightest and most gravelly of the Médoc, with some also containing a high percentage of sand. Vineyards located in Cantenac and Margaux make up the core of the appelation with the best vineyard sites being located on well-drained slopes, whose lighter soils give Margaux its deft touch and silky perfumes. Further away from the water, there is a greater clay content and the wines are less dramatically perfumed.
Margaux is the most diffuse of all the Médoc appelations with a reputation for scaling the heights with irreproachable wines such as Ch. Margaux and Ch. Palmer, but also plumbing the depths, with too many other châteaux not fulfilling their potential. There has been an upward shift in recent years, but the appellation cannot yet boast the reliability of St Julien. However, the finest Margaux are exquisitely perfumed and models of refinement and subtlety which have few parallels in Bordeaux.
Cabernet 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.