* * 2009
Bordeaux Red Blends from St-Julien, Bordeaux, France
All the steps in the winemaking process and aging are aimed at expressing the grapes' potential and thus our terroir in a wine where fruit, aromatic complexity go together with richness and balance, without any overextraction and heaviness.
The Wine Advocate - "Haut couture becomes a wine! This dense purple wine has the tell-tale notes of flowers and pencil shavings, and its broad aromatics are intense and totally captivating. Powerful, rich, and full, but less tannic than the 2005 and more opulent, this is a dazzling Branaire to drink between 2017-2035."
Wine Enthusiast - "Very supple wine, with great richness and density. It is all so complete, a pleasure, powerful yet also with sweet opulent fruits layered with dark tannins. For long-term aging."
James Suckling - "Gorgeous aromas of dark berries and wet earth, with hints of graphite. Full body, with juicy, chewy tannins and a long rich, fruity, and succulent finish. Best ever from here. Try in 2019."
Wine Spectator - "A ripe, chewy, muscular style, with good cut despite the hefty tar, blackberry, roasted fig and singed apple wood notes. The long, anise-stained finish lets the tarry edge play out, though this shows a touch more finesse than some of its colleagues. Best from 2015 through 2025. 12,000 cases made."
International Wine Cellar - "Bright, deep ruby. Superripe, brooding aromas of black cherry, bitter chocolate and licorice. Sweet, concentrated and fine-grained, with terrific depth to the plush cassis and coffee liqueur flavors. Serious dusty, fine tannins will not stand in the way of early approachability but this wine has the structure for a 20+-year life in bottle.
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Jean-Baptiste Braneyre, the first person to own the estate in 1680, was well aware of the superb winegrowing potential of the gravelly soil located a stone's throw from the Gironde estuary. The 1855 classification was later to confirm the quality of the terroir. Branaire-Ducru and its pretigious neighbors form a group of chateaus that are famous the world over for their excellent wines.
Composed primarily of Cabernet Sauvignon, the wines express their character year in, year out with great regularity, displaying an enormous amount of fruit, freshness, and subtlety. The winemaking team is fully devoted to highlighting these characteristics in every vintage, and Branaire-Ducru is invariably and elegant wine and a quintessential Saint-Julien. View all * 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.