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Flat front label of wine

Chateau Branaire-Ducru 1995

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Julien, Bordeaux, France
  • WS91
  • RP90
0% ABV
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  • RP90
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  • JS92
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  • WS94
  • RP96
  • JD96
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  • RP93
  • WE91
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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WS 91
Wine Spectator
Currant and black licorice, with a coffee undertone. Plummy. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a long caressing finish. A beauty.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A beauty in the elegant, restrained, finesse school of winemaking, the dark ruby/purple-colored 1995 Branaire exhibits a floral, cranberry, cherry, and black currant-scented nose intermixed with high quality toasty new oak. Medium-bodied, with excellent definition, supple tannin, and an attractive, alluring personality, this pleasant, measured yet complex wine should drink well young, and keep for two decades.
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Chateau Branaire-Ducru

Chateau Branaire-Ducru

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Chateau Branaire-Ducru, St. Julien, Bordeaux, France
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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.

St-Julien

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An icon of balance and tradition, St. Julien boasts the highest proportion of classed growths in the Médoc. That it lacks any first growths, is what it makes up in the rest: five amazing second growth chateaux, two superb third growths and four well-reputed fourth growths. While the actual class rankings set in 1855 (first, second, and so on the fifth) today do not necessarily indicate a score of quality, the classification system is important to understand in the context of Bordeaux’ history. And rivalry among the classed chateaux serves only to elevate the appellation overall.

One of its best historically, the estate of Leoville, was once the largest in the Médoc in the 18th century, before it was divided into the three second growths known today as Chateau Léoville-Las-Cases, Léoville-Poyferré and Léoville-Barton. Located in the north section, these are stone’s throw from Chateau Latour and share much in common with that well-esteemed estate.

The relatively homogeneous gravelly and rocky top soil on top of clay-limestone subsoil is broken only by a narrow strip of bank on either side of the “jalle,” or stream, that bisects the zone and flows into the Gironde.

St. Julien wines are for those wanting subtlety, balance and consistency in their Bordeaux. Rewarding and persistent, the best among them are full of blueberry, blackberry, cassis, plum, tobacco and licorice. They are intense and complex and finish with fine, velvety tannins.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

DISBRANAIRE_1995 Item# 127232