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Chateau Brane-Cantenac 2003

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Winemaker Notes

"This is another Margaux estate that has become re-energized and is now producing wines consistent with its 150-year-old classification. The dark plum/ruby-colored 2003's stunning aromatics include flamboyant notes of plums, cedar, burning embers, and dried herbs. Full-bodied, elegant, layered, and rich, yet filled with finesse and delicacy, it is surprisingly soft, round, and gentle. While appealing at present, it will evolve for 15-18 years."
Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate
91 Points

"Aromas of blackberry, cherry and light toasted oak. Full-bodied, with soft tannins and a medium finish. Pretty wine. Balanced and refined. Best after 2011."
Wine Spectator
90 Points

Critical Acclaim

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RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
WS 90
Wine Spectator
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Chateau Brane-Cantenac

Chateau Brane-Cantenac

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Chateau Brane-Cantenac, France
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Established in the 18th century, at which time it was known as "Gorce", this large estate is located on the best gravelly outcrops of Cantenac. A century before the 1855 classification, it was considered one of the best second growths in the Médoc. In 1833, Baron de Brane (called "Napoleon of the Vines") sold his estate in Pauillac, Brane-Mouton, and bought Gorce, which he renamed "Brane-Cantenac", ten years later.

Lucien Lurton's grandfather acquired the estate in 1925, and was succeeded by his grandson in 1956. Lucien Lurton's son, Henri, currently manages the estate and puts all his efforts into producing a great Margaux in each and every vintage, reflecting Brane-Cantenac's superb vineyard soil.

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Silky, seductive and polished are the words that characterize the best wines from Margaux, the most inland appellation of the Médoc on the Left Bank of Bordeaux.

Margaux’s gravel soils are the thinnest of the Médoc, making them most penetrable by vine roots—some reaching down over 23 feet for water. The best sites are said to be on gentle outcrops, or croupes, where more gravel facilitates good drainage.

The Left Bank of Bordeaux subscribes to an arguably outdated method of classification but it is nonetheless important in regards to history of the area. In 1855 the finest chateaux were deemed on the basis of reputation and trading price—at that time. In 1855, Chateau Margaux achieved first growth status, yet it has been Chateau Palmer (officially third growth from the 1855 classification) that has consistently outperformed others throughout the 20th century.

Chateau Margaux in top vintages is capable of producing red Cabernet Sauvignon based wines described as pure, intense, spell-binding, refined and profound with flavors and aromas of black currant, violets, roses, orange peel, black tea and incense.

Other top producers worthy of noting include Chateau Rauzan-Ségla, Lascombes, Brane-Cantenac, and d’Issan, among others.

The best wines of Margaux combine a deep ruby color with a polished structure, concentration and an unrivaled elegance.

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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.

ALL9328045_2003 Item# 92778

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