Henri Lurton’s wine at Ch Brane-Cantenac is, much like himself, quietly understated but never to be underestimated…This is an absolute cracker. It has everything that fine Margaux should. Polished, refined, gloriously pure with lovely perfumed red fruit flavours, supported by a hint of mocha and spice. The fruit is almost crystalline in its purity. I simple love this. Yet another for my cellar! DR
The 2016 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Carmenere picked from 22 September until 17 October (the tiny parcel of Carmenere picked three days later). The yields came in at 51 hectoliters per hectare and it is matured in 75% new oak and 25% one-year-old barrels, the final alcohol level 13.3%. It has a beautifully defined, very detailed bouquet with mineral-rich black fruit laced with cedar and graphite notes, living up to its nom de plume as the "Pauillac of Margaux." The palate is simply the best that I have ever tasted at the estate, without question. This has presence, but also weightlessness, filigree tannin and perfectly pitched acidity, with real intensity and drive. The tension here is outstanding and the persistence is incredibly long. It is not the showiest of all the 2016s by a long stretch, and yet it is everything you could possibly want from a Margaux. Like Beychevelle this year, the 2016 Brane-Cantenac puts recent vintages in the shade, thanks not only to the growing season, but also a new punching down system in their gravity-fed winery that was completed in 2015. The 2016 is a benchmark against which future vintages will be compared. Drink Date 2026 - 2060
Dark purplish crimson. Neat, unforced, smells fully ripe. Salty finish and a fine spread across the palate. Bone dry, but not too drying, finish. Cool, unforced and sophisticated. Very competent indeed. Drink 2026-2044
This is really strong from Brane-Cantenac this year with toned muscles and beautiful fruit. Full-bodied, chewy and polished. Shows wonderful intensity and density yet remains reserved and very tight. Very impressive from here. Grabs you. One of the best ever from here.
The 2016 Brane-Cantenac is terrific, and also a worthy follow-up to the 2015, although it naturally reflects the very different personality of the year. Dark red and purplish fruit, mocha, spice and leather infuse this super-expressive Margaux. Vivid and intense, but with a perceptible feeling of translucent finesse, the 2016 is wonderfully complete and expressive. It also has quite a bit of potential to grow from there. Tasted three times.
Gorgeous campsite woodsmoke effect on the nose and the effect, as is so often the case with Brane, is that their use of oak ageing is extremely cleverly thought out. This is a luscious wine with rich, deeply layered fruits and gentle spices, all set against well brushed, caressing tannins. This is a great vintage for this property, so effortless. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere (now old enough at 10 years, and successful enough due to the late harvest, to finally make it into the grand vin). Excellent.
Smoky and quite powerful, the nose on this wine is a little coarse and this hard edge carries on through the fruit and onto the finish. Tough and tannic and also a little raw and green, this will take time to come around, but the fruit is persistent and so I am confident that it will.
As an appellation, Margaux didn’t quite hit the same heights in 2016 as it did in 2015. This is well made enough, but the tannins are a little firm, as if they were baked by the summer heat wave. The underlying fruit is impressive, but this needs to soften in bottle. 2024-30
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".