Chateau Branaire-Ducru Saint-Julien 2016

Chateau Branaire-Ducru Saint-Julien 2016

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#16 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2019 

Following the death of Bernard de Valette in the 17th century, Branaire splintered from the sizeable Beychevelle estate. It would soon pass via marriage to the Duluc family, and the estate was known as Branaire Duluc when it achieved Fourth Growth status in the 1855 classification.

From 1988 until his untimely death in 2017, the estate was owned by Patrick Maroteaux, who invested a great deal into improvements in the winery and vineyards. In the early 90s, Maratoux reintroduced gravity-fed winemaking to the medoc. This practice, as opposed to traditional pumping, provides a gentler experience for the wine throughout its production.

The estate is approximately 60 hectares, and is planted 70% to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Chateau Branaire Ducru was included in the 1855 classification as a fourth growth.

Wine Spectator: 96
The core of this red is loaded with pure plum, blueberry and black currant fruit flavors. The polished structure is integrated, with alluring ganache, anise and sweet tobacco notes throughout, all in a polished and balanced frame. A very classy red that isn't shy about its power but pushes its purity to the fore.
Decanter: 94
You can immediately see the quality and the depth of the 2016 vintage in the complexity of the expression and construction. Bottled in early July, extremely rich and full of black brambly hawthorn-edged fruits. The quality of the tannins is extremely impressive, there are lots of them, and they build over the course of the palate, but they are not constraining, and have a fine texture. After five minutes in the glass the blackcurrant fruit starts to come out. The tannins close in again on the finish, suggesting there is a long life ahead. A vintage that is so good for St Julien, not to be missed.
Wine Enthusiast: 95
The estate, at the southern end of Saint-Julien, has produced a wine that is both structured and stylish. This bold, ripe wine shows opulent black fruits and generous tannins. Juicy and structured, it has good aging potential.
Vinous: 93
The 2016 Branaire Ducru has a fragrant bouquet of plush blackberry and graphite aromas, hints of bilberry and briar developing in the glass. The medium-bodied palate is quite succulent and multilayered, offering supple tannin and gentle grip on the finish. Real potential here. One of the best Branaire Ducru in recent years. Chapeau!
James Suckling: 95
The best vintage of this wine since 2009! Effusive, fresh redcurrant and cassis aromas give this St.-Julien terrific drive and energy, the elegant, dry tannins beautifully married to the medium body, right through the long, agile finish. Drink or hold.