This stunning, evolved, dark plum/ruby-hued 2008 reveals aromas of forest floor, sweet black and red currants, licorice and roasted herbs. Classic, elegant and medium to full-bodied, it provides a sexy, complex, intellectual as well as hedonistic turn-on. Drink this delicious Margaux over the next 12-15+ years. Drink: 2011 - 2026
This is one of the most complex wines of the appellation, exhibiting notes of underbrush, sweet currants, cherries, and subtle touches of roasted herbs, incense, and spice box. It does not possess the power or depth of the 2005, and may not even eclipse the 2006, but it is a beautiful, pure, mid-weight, well-balanced, impeccably pure Margaux that should drink well for 15+ years. Drink: 2009 - 2024
The 2008 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 28% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 70% Cabernet Sauvignon. There remains that eucalyptus tincture that I have picked up on previous bottles, though here it is less pronounced, possibly receding with time? It has a classic, rather austere bouquet that would have benefitted from more fruit intensity, although there is a sense of freshness, attractive mint and cedar aromas emerging with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin and a fresh line of acidity. There is a faint touch of peppermint that comes through towards the finish as it gently grips the mouth, a Brane-Cantenac probably just approaching its drinking window. Whilst it might be a step behind the following two vintages, this is a fine Margaux for those who desire a slightly more austere yet still delicious and quite complex Claret. (Tasted at the château and at BI Wine Spirit’s annual vertical tasting.)
Delicate for the vintage, with plum and fresh basil character. Medium-bodied, with refined tannins and crisp acidity.
Château Brane-Cantenac is owned by a branch of the largest winemaking family in Bordeaux, the Lurtons. It was, however, originally created by the owner of Mouton Rothschild, Baron de Branne. After years of variable quality, it started improving in the late 1990s and began to create wines which captured Robert Parker's attention. He described Château Brane-Cantenac as "one of the stars of Margaux, if not Bordeaux" and their 2003 as "one of the best bargain-priced classified growths".
Plump, silky and seductive are the words often used to describe wines from Margaux. Because of their style, they tend to be user friendly and more approachable when young. This is in part due to its terroir which is comprised of the thinnest soil as well as the highest proportion of chunky gravel in all of the Médoc. It drains well but also is it more susceptible to vintage variation. Margaux wines tend to have the highest proportions of Merlot within the core of the Médoc further adding to their ample roundness and openness. Margaux is home to the largest number of classified growths including its namesake first growth, Château Margaux, as well as third growths, Palmer and d'Issan.