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Chateau Branaire-Ducru 2003

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750ML / 0% ABV
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750ML / 0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Blend: 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4.5% Petit Verdot, 3.5% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

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RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This fully mature, gorgeous 2003 Branaire Ducru possesses silky tannins, lots of cedary, spice box, floral, black cherry, forest floor and velvety leather-like notes, full body, and an opulent, complex yet elegant style. A beauty of complexity, richness and finesse, it should continue to drink well for another 5-6 years.
JS 94
James Suckling
Extremely perfumed, with currants, blackberries, and flowers on the nose. Full bodied, with a solid core of beautiful fruit and super chewy, yet polished tannins. This is a brick house. Pull the cork after 2016. Find the wine
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Opulent aromas of blackberry, olives and toasted oak follow through to a full-bodied palate, with big chewy tannins and a long, long finish. Big and muscular wine.
WE 91
Wine Enthusiast
One of the great estates of southern Saint-Julien, producing wines whose regularity in succeeding vintages is remarkable. For 2003, Branaire has produced a dark wine, with dry, powerful tannins coming from very ripe fruit. The wood is dry and toasty, leaving a general impression of a wine that will age at a stately pace. Imported by Diageo Chateau & Estates.
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Chateau Branaire-Ducru

Chateau Branaire-Ducru

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Chateau Branaire-Ducru, 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.

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An icon of balance and tradition, St. Julien boasts the highest proportion of classed growths in the Médoc. What it lacks in any first growths, 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. Today rivalry among the classed chateaux only serves to elevate the appellation overall.

One of its best historically, the estate of Leoville, was 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 in Pauillac 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 these Bordeaux Blends are full of blueberry, blackberry, cassis, plum, tobacco and licorice. They are intense and complex and finish with fine, velvety tannins.

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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 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.

Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends

Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. 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.

Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends

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 Secrets for Bordeaux Blends

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

ARP96204_2003 Item# 96204

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