2022 Château Cantenac Brown, Margaux, Bordeaux
The 2022 Cantenac Brown has an elegant nose, showing pure black cherry, wild strawberry, blackcurrant pastilles and cedar aromas. I appreciate the mineralité here. The palate is medium-bodied with supple but firm tannins and nicely structured.
There's a crescendo of fruit toward the mineral-driven finish. Cohesive and full of character, this is another superb Margaux from an estate in the ascendant under winemaker José Sanfins.
Drink 2030 - 2070
Neal Martin, Vinous.com (May 2023)
The 2022 Cantenac Brown is a powerhouse. Dense and massively constituted, the 2022 stains the palate with inky black fruit, leather, dark chocolate, cloves and liquorice. In this tasting, Cantenac Brown comes across as rather monolithic, with the radiance and very low yields of the year very much on display.
Drink 2028 - 2047
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2023)
Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2022 Cantenac Brown spills from the glass with expressive scents of cassis, blueberry pie, and Morello cherries, followed by touches of lavender and cinnamon stick. The medium to full-bodied palate has an impressive amount of vibrant red and black fruit layers with fine-grained tannins and plenty of freshness, finishing long and perfumed.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent (May 2023)
A real golden patch for the Cantenac Brown team, with ever-increasing confidence in extraction and expression, plenty of floral edges with inky plum and a vibrant violet rim. Things are pretty intense, with highly charged aromatics, fresh acidities, intense violet and plum, good quality, rich and ripped texture.
This is a good quality wine with a heavy tannin imprint on the finish and decades ahead of it. Fingerprints of the vintage, delivered with deft precision. 60% new oak barrels, and 40% one vintage barrels for ageing.
Drink 2030 - 2046
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (May 2023)
69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot. Undergoing massive renovation currently by the new owners. Hoping to be ready for the 2023 harvest. Cask sample.
Very deep purple. Juicy, perfumed nose. Very polished tannins and some real concentration. Pretty good wine, even if it was made in a cellar in transition. Some Margaux suavity. And quite a charge of well-managed tannin.
Drink 2028 - 2042
Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (May 2023)
A few years ago, this estate purchased 22 additional hectares in the heart of the plateau of Margaux, including old vine Cabernet Sauvignon that is now making an appreciable contribution to the blend, and that helps to explain why the 2022 Cantenac Brown is so good.
Unwinding in the glass with notes of dark berries, plums, charcoal, pencil shavings and violets, it's medium to full-bodied, rich and elegantly muscular, with a layered core, refined tannins and a penetrating finish. The finest wine that José Sanfins has produced to date, the 2022 only improved during the several weeks I spent in Bordeaux.
It's a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon and 31% Merlot.
Wine Advocate (April 2023)
A solid Margaux with creamy and fine tannins that spread across the palate. Medium-bodied, layered and already delicious. Hints of dried citrus at the end.
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2023)
Juicy and lively, cool and crisp with concentrated but cool tannins that give the structure and density. It's massy, full, and upfront but retains charm in that nothing is harsh, austere, or too spiced.
It's full, but there's something very captivating about this; it has excitement and vibrancy and will be totally delicious and moreish when the time is right. Lovely acidity, beautiful red fruits, crisp and tense yet layered and ripe, mineral too. It gives you the emotion!
Harvest 7-27 September. Ageing in French oak, 60% new, 40% one year old.
Drink 2025 - 2045
Georgina Hindle, Decanter.com (April 2023)
The dense purple-hued 2022 Château Cantenac Brown is based on 69% Cabernet Sauvignon and 31% Merlot. A beautiful Margaux, it offers lots of smoky red and black fruits intermixed with violets, graphite, and lead pencil-like nuances. With medium to full-bodied richness, a vibrant spine of acidity, and nicely integrated tannins, it plays in the more focused, elegant, pretty end of the spectrum. It's going to reward a solid 5-7 years of bottle age.
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2023)
About this WINE
Chateau Cantenac Brown
Cantenac-Brown, a 3ème Cru Classé estate, is located in the Haut-Medoc wine appellation on the western extremes of the Margaux appellation.
As with so many Bordeaux estates, the tale of the last 120 years focuses on early years of problems, caused by both vineyard diseases and economic depradations, followed by recent revival once the property has been bought by someone with the means to invest properly in its future.
The revitalisation of Cantenac-Brown only really looked a realistic possibility with its acquisition in by AXA Millésimes in 1989. The AXA team, led at that time by the since semi-retired Jean-Michel Cazes, with the help of Daniel Llose and under the direction of Christian Seely, began to turn the estate around. The team had a history of success in Bordeaux, not least at Lynch-Bages but at other estates such as Pichon-Baron, Suduiraut and Quinta do Noval.
Cantenac Brown is typically Margaux in character - fragrant and perfumed on the nose and medium bodied and harmonious on the palate, with soft cassis-scented fruits and a lingering finish.
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.