Deep inky purple. The nose has a wonderful minty lift and the palate is filled with cool blue and black fruits, like blueberries and mulberries. The mid-palate is neatly focused and the finish is almost salty with savoury concentration.
Medium to deep garnet-purple in color, the 2015 Branaire-Ducru has an earthy nose over a core of red and black currants with hints of tapenade, pencil shavings and sage. The medium-bodied palate is firm and chewy, with just enough fruit and a lively finish. Lisa Perrotti Brown Score 90/100 Drink Dates 2019-2031
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.
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. Drink 2024-2038
Pretty and aromatic, with flavors of kirsch and cherry preserves mixed with tobacco and bay notes. Stays energetic through the relatively sleek finish. Wins on purity.
This is very structured and tight with chewy polished tannins and blueberry, blackberry. Full and savory. Should develop beautifully.
The 2015 Branaire-Ducru is deep, fleshy and delicious. Radiant, open-knit and endowed with a total sense of class, the Branaire hits all the right notes. A striking mélange of dark red and purplish fruit, wild flowers, hard candy, mint, spice and new leather makes a strong opening statement. Sweet floral notes add lift on the finish. Branaire is one of the freshest, most perfumed Saint-Juliens of the vintage. As such, it is a wine of pure pleasure and sensuality, not to mention a terrific example of the year. Tasted three times.
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.
(65 Cabernet Sauvignon, 26 Merlot, 5 Petit Verdot, 4 Cabernet Franc) With trademark Branaire élan and lush swathes of black and red fruit, this is a lovely, open wine on the nose and yet the palate is leaner and more focussed and it sharpens up and lengthens in an impressive manner. It is rather cool and refreshing on the finish which provides a dramatic counterpoint to the exotic scent.
This was comparatively backward and closed when I tasted it, still showing a slight angularity that should soften in barrel. The components are there: sturdy Cabernet-based fruit, fresh acidity and good depth. Drink: 2022-32
Across the road from Beychevelle lies Château Branaire Ducru. Until 1988, the entire production was sold in France through the Nicolas chain of wine shops. A change in ownership fortunately also changed that policy and Branaire Ducru now takes its rightful place on the international marketplace. Like most Médoc wines, the core of the blend is Cabernet Sauvignon and intensive work in the vineyard ensures optimum ripeness. Château Branaire Ducru aims for a balance of elegance and complexity - a trend which has been apparent since 1989, the vintage after its current owner, Patrick Maroteaux, purchased the château.
St Julien is like the middle child of the Médoc - not as assertive as Pauillac or as coquettish as Margaux. It lies firmly between the two more outspoken communes and as a result produces a blend of them both. St Julien's wines have often been sought out by aficionados for their balance and consistency, particularly in the UK. Yet due to its middle child nature, it can occasionally be overlooked globally and as a result underrated by those markets outside the UK. Despite the fact that it has no first growths, it has several second growths including Léoville Las Cases, Léoville Barton, Léoville Poyferré and Ducru Beaucaillou as well as the celebrated châteaux such as Talbot and Beychevelle.