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Chateau Brane-Cantenac 2016

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  • JS96
  • WE95
  • D95
  • WS93
750ML / 14% ABV
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750ML / 14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Blend: 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Carmenere

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
RP 98
The 2016 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Carmenere picked from 22 September until 17 October (the tiny parcel of Carmenere picked three days later). The yields came in at 51 hectoliters per hectare and it is matured in 75% new oak and 25% one-year-old barrels, the final alcohol level 13.3%. It has a beautifully defined, very detailed bouquet with mineral-rich black fruit laced with cedar and graphite notes, living up to its nom de plume as the "Pauillac of Margaux." The palate is simply the best that I have ever tasted at the estate, without question. This has presence, but also weightlessness, filigree tannin and perfectly pitched acidity, with real intensity and drive. The tension here is outstanding and the persistence is incredibly long. It is not the showiest of all the 2016s by a long stretch, and yet it is everything you could possibly want from a Margaux. Like Beychevelle this year, the 2016 Brane-Cantenac puts recent vintages in the shade, thanks not only to the growing season, but also a new punching down system in their gravity-fed winery that was completed in 2015. The 2016 is a benchmark against which future vintages will be compared.
Barrel Sample: 96-98 Points
JS 96
So much ripe and sweet tobacco on the nose with currant and blackberry character. Full body, intense tannins with density and beauty. It’s a wine with great structure and panache for this estate. Try after 2024.
WE 95
This firm, structured wine is solid with tannins and with the weight associated with the vintage. The fruitiness is as important, an explosion of rich berry flavors that will give pleasure as the wine matures. Drink from 2025.
Cellar Selection
D 95
It's clear how well this wine is constructed in 2016. Vibrant cassis and violet notes are joined by a powerful shot of freshness then an austere finish with touches of white pepper, showing poise and power. A touch of Carmenère is now making a regular appearance in this wine. It represents 39% of the estate's production, from a 51hl/ha yield in 2016.
WS 93
Shows a coffee edge, along with tobacco and bay notes that meld steadily into the core of steeped plum and black cherry fruit. The fleshy finish lets the bay element take an encore. A touch old-school.
Barrel Sample: 90-93 Points
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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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Margaux

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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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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 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 lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally 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 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.

JOAF202256_2016 Item# 202256