Chateau Branaire-Ducru 2005
Bordeaux Red Blends from St-Julien, Bordeaux, France
Bouquet is still quite closed, but beginning to develop a very wide aromatic range - ripe fruit, complex notes, mineral and floral hints combine with spicier aromas.
This outstanding vintage has lavish substance and is dense, fleshy and bursting with strength. The balance and elegance of the tannins on the finish are superb.
Very long keeping. Do not open for at least another 4 or 5 years.
The Wine Advocate - "As usual, the 2005 Branaire-Ducru is one of the more distinctive wines of St.-Julien. Proprietor Patrick Maroteaux has turned out another classic. While not as opulent or fleshy as the 2003, and it remains to be seen if it will eclipse the 2000, the 2005 is a big, structured, intensely rich effort with raspberry, blueberry, and spring flower garden characteristics, stunning purity, full-bodied power, and good underlying acidity as well as harmony. The hard tannins suggest 8-9 years of cellaring will be beneficial; it should last for three decades. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030+."
International Wine Cellar - "Dark red-ruby. Plum, chocolate and some exotic smoky oak on the nose. Lush, smooth and sweet but not at all over the top; offers unusual volume and breadth for Branaire. The exotic aspect carries through on the palate, and yet this wine is holding plenty of material in reserve. Finishes with building tannins and excellent length. Offers superb potential for aging."
Wine Spectator - "Very floral, showing blueberry, licorice and mineral on the nose. Full and very silky, with beautifully polished tannins. Long and caressing. This is always very well done and good value for the quality. Best after 2010."
Connoisseurs' Guide - "Unabashed in its ripeness and conveying plenty of extract, the Branaire-Ducru is among the weightier workings of the Saint-Julien class of 2005. Its frontal fleshiness reminds a bit of a fine Pomerol, but its ample tannins are those of Left Bank Bordeaux. A deep and sturdy and ageworthy wine, it could do with slightly longer aging than its mates, and eight to ten years in the cellar should do the trick."
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Chateau Branaire-Ducru Winery
Chateau Branaire-Ducru's 120 acres is located in the St. Julien region of France and has such famous neighbors as Cheateau Gruaud-Larose, Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou and Chateau Beychevelle.
The name, given by the former owner Monsieur Ducru, means "beautiful pebbles". One of the main features of the vineyard is its richness in pebbles which contribute to the greatness of so many wines of the Medoc.
Just before the war, the vineyard became run down and many Bordeaux critics felt it no longer deserved its rank as a Second Growth. During the Medoc Classification of 1855, the Chateau was rated as a Fourth Growth. In 1942 the Borie family purchased the vineyard completely revamped the vineyard and it began receiving top ratings amongst the Second Growths. Successive generations of the Borie family oversee all winemaking operations. View all Chateau Branaire-Ducru Wines
About St-JulienView a map of St-Julien wineries (saint juhl-e-EHN)
The smallest of the top four Haut-Médoc communes, St-Julien is directly south of Pauillac. With no first growths to its name, the commune often goes overlooked. But it has 11 excellent second, third and fourth growths, and the highest proportion of classified growths of the top four. It doesn't have the concentration and powerful punch of a Pauillac or the soft elegance of a Margaux, but the wine of St-Julien combines the best of its northern & southern neighbors.
Notable FactsA good descriptor of St-Julien wines is balance. Cabernet Sauvignon-based like all left bankers, St-Julien also adds a bit of Merlot for softness. The best known chateaux are the Léovilles – Léoville-Barton, Léoville-Las Cases, Léoville Poyferre - although Barton and Las Cases are more common and more recognizable to consumers. All three are second growths and top notch for their class. The other well known chateaux are Chateau Gruaud-Larosse & Lagrange, a second growth and fourth growth, known for reliable quality.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.