This estate was founded in 1680 by Jean-Baptiste Braneyre who bought a fragment of the neighbouring Chateau Beychevelle as it was being broken up to pay its owner’s substantial debts. The modern stage of Chateau Branaire Ducru begins in 1988 when Patrick Maroteaux, a former banker and businessman with no experience in the wine industry, bought the estate and began working and investing to improve wine quality from the ground up. he would also extend the boundries of the estate to closely match those in 1855 when Chateau Branaire Ducru was classified as a Fourth Growth estate.
The 60 hectare vineyards of the estate are planted to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 4% each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Vine age averages at 35 years, with some venerable vines reaching 90 years old.
This is very fresh on the nose with raspberry, rhubarb, custard hints too, this has an attractive freshness, quite piercing, carries very well into the toasty finish, a very good Branaire. Nice tension here.
Dark ruby. Sweetly gamey on the nose. A little light compared with some but very correct. Quite advanced. But just slightly austere in style. No one could object but I can't imagine many falling madly in love. Stones on the finish.
The 2015 Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc that was picked between 18 September until 8 October, with two or three intervals in between. Matured in around 60% new oak (although as usual my barrel sample was from a new oak barrel), it has a high-toned, black cherry and cassis scented nose that perhaps feels a little constricted by the new wood in this sample, though not necessarily once in bottle. The palate is medium-bodied with a lightly spiced entry, white pepper and a touch of sage, gritty tannin, foursquare and a little conservative. There is commendable weight on the finish, if not quite the precision compared to its peers. I noticed this gaining more cohesion in the glass, which bodes well for once the Branaire-Ducru is in bottle. I expect this to rest at the top of my banded score.
Very good vigour of fruit and typical of the restrained elegance of this fine fourth growth, with a little more natural richness this year. Purity and length for a fine future.
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As a rough guide most standard (75CL) single bottles weigh 2KG and a case (12 x 75CL bottles) weighs 24KG.
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