Chateau Branaire-Ducru 2016
Blend: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2016 Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc picked from 28 September until 19 October at 50 hectoliters per hectare, one of the longest harvest periods at the estate. The nose is quite intense with black fruit infused with pencil shaving and a touch of tobacco, unashamedly classic in style, a little distant compared to some other Saint Juliens but undeniably well defined and full of character. The palate is structured and masculine, exerting a firm grip in the mouth, spicier than its peers with cracked black pepper complementing the black fruit, tobacco and smoke towards the structured finish. There is great length here, very persistent in the mouth, a little "rougher" in texture than others, but that will be smoothed out during élevage and in bottle.Rating: 92-94
You can immediately see the quality and the depth of the 2016 vintage in the complexity of the expression and construction. Bottled in early July, extremely rich and full of black brambly hawthorn-edged fruits. The quality of the tannins is extremely impressive, there are lots of them, and they build over the course of the palate, but they are not constraining, and have a fine texture. After five minutes in the glass the blackcurrant fruit starts to come out. The tannins close in again on the finish, suggesting there is a long life ahead. A vintage that is so good for St Julien, not to be missed. Drinking Window 2026 - 2042
Attractive aromas and flavors of currants and walnuts with some chocolate. Medium body, medium round tannins and a savory finish. Just starting to come around now. Drink or hold.
Striking in its aromatic generosity and richness yet not quite as forthcoming in flavor even though it shows great density and concentration on the palate, this solid, yet fairly tannic young Saint-Julien is a wine of promise far more than one of open and immediate appeal. That said, its promise is certain, but it will take some waiting – at least a half-dozen years is our guess – before proving that it is every bit as deep and involving as its altogether alluring aromas predict.
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.