2016 Ch. Branaire-Ducru, St Julien

2016 Ch. Branaire-Ducru, St Julien

Product: 20168003230
Prices start from £250.00 per case Buying options
2016 Ch. Branaire-Ducru, St Julien

Description

Deep in colour, this has top notes of red fruit and cedar. The palate is very suave with an underlying freshness. There is a lovely weight to this wine, with some pleasing cassis notes on the mid-palate. It has a lovely, fine finish with some crunchy blackcurrant fruit. Very poised and elegant, Branaire’s 2016 has great finesse.

Blend: Cabernet Sauvignon 64%. Merlot 27%, Petit Verdot 6%, Cabernet Franc 3%
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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

Wine Advocate92-94/100
James Suckling95-96/100
jancisrobinson.com17/20
Decanter94/100

Critic reviews

Wine Advocate92-94/100
The 2016 Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc picked from 28 September until 19 October at 50 hectoliters per hectare, one of the longest harvest periods at the estate. The nose is quite intense with black fruit infused with pencil shaving and a touch of tobacco, unashamedly classic in style, a little distant compared to some other Saint Juliens but undeniably well defined and full of character. The palate is structured and masculine, exerting a firm grip in the mouth, spicier than its peers with cracked black pepper complementing the black fruit, tobacco and smoke towards the structured finish. There is great length here, very persistent in the mouth, a little rougher in texture than others, but that will be smoothed out during levage and in bottle. Give this Branaire-Ducru five or six years in bottle because it has great potential, one of the best produced at the estate in recent years. (NB This sample was taken from a new barrel, though the final blend will be 60%.)
Neal Martin - 28/04/2017 Read more
James Suckling95-96/100
This is clearly the best wine I have tasted from Branaire-Ducru. Exquisite depth and richness are on offer, yet this is always framed and focused. Layers of fruit and tannins. So deep and long. Incredible quality.
James Suckling - April 2017 Read more
jancisrobinson.com17/20
Juicy, savoury nose. Fresh and fine-boned. Could only be bordeaux – tant mieux! Silky texture with some energy.
Jancis Robinson - 18th April 2017 Read more
Decanter94/100
Always a supremely elegant, measured take on St-Julien that delivers in spades in 2016. Plush damson fruit comes through with just the right level of extraction. Beautifully rich, ripe fruit is joined by touches of oak at exactly the right moment. An exceptional showing from Branaire that rises above its 2015. Drinking Window 2027 - 2045
Jane Anson - Decanter.com - April 2017

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