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Chateau Branon 2011

Bordeaux Red Blends from Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
  • RP93
  • WS92
0% ABV
  • WS95
  • RP92
  • JS92
  • RP97
  • WS94
  • JS94
  • RP98
  • WS94
  • RP93
  • WS90
  • RP96
  • WS91
  • RP97
  • WS92
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A spectacular jewel from the Garcin family, this small vineyard near Haut-Bergey consists of 15 acres planted with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. A dense purple color is accompanied by notes of blackberries, cassis, graphite and charcoal embers that cut a broad, medium to full-bodied swath across the palate. It is another 2011 that proves the surprisingly high quality of the wines from Pessac-Leognan and Graves in this vintage as well as the qualitative commitments of the Garcin family. Drink it over the next 10-15 years.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Dense and broad-shouldered, this carries a toasted frame, offering fig, currant and espresso notes at the core for balance. Youthfully raw and backward today, with a loamy edge that holds sway through the finish. A powerful rendering in this vintage, cutting an imposing figure. Best from 2017 through 2030. 500 cases made.
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Chateau Branon

Chateau Branon

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Chateau Branon, Pessac-Leognan, Bordeaux, France
Chateau Branon is an old property whose high reputation dates back to the 18th century. It is located in Léognan on the slope of a gravelly hill between Haut-Bailly and Malartic Lagravière. Its vineyards are particularly well exposed towards the south and south-west. The whole estate was in a very poor condition and partly abandoned when Sylvaine Garcin-Cathiard acquired it in 1996.

It is mainly the diversity of its soil that gives the wine its character. The exceptional soil consists of clay and gravel washed up from the Pyrenees caused by the meanderings of the Garonne over time.

In former years the wine had indisputable fame as the old ruins of the Château and the chai testify. One of the Gironde’s oldest stone wine presses can be found here. An ancient book - "Les richesses gastronomiques de la France, les vins des Bordeaux", written by Charles Lorbac, says that the merchants Schröder and Schyler bought the 1865 vintage at a price of 1800 F (Germinal) per "tonneau". The official documents of the classification of 1855 indicate that BRANON, at that price, was classified as a 4eme cru.

Recently Château Branon has made an incredible comeback and now produces 5000 bottles of wine composed of 50% Merlot and 50 % Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pessac-Leognan

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Recognized for its superior reds as well as whites, Pessac-Léognan on the Left Bank claims classified growths for both—making it quite unique in comparison to its neighboring Médoc properties.

Pessac’s Chateau Haut-Brion, the only first growth located outside of the Médoc, is said to have been the first to conceptualize fine red wine in Bordeaux back in the late 1600s. The estate, along with its high-esteemed neighbors, La Mission Haut-Brion, Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pique-Caillou and Chateau Pape-Clément are today all but enveloped by the city of Bordeaux. The rest of the vineyards of Pessac-Léognan are in clearings of heavily forested area or abutting dense suburbs.

Arid sand and gravel on top of clay and limestone make the area unique and conducive to growing Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc as well as the grapes in the usual Left Bank red recipe: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and miniscule percentages of Petit Verdot and Malbec.

The best reds will show great force and finesse with inky blue and black fruit, mushroom, forest, tobacco, iodine and a smooth and intriguing texture.

Its best whites show complexity, longevity and no lack of exotic twists on citrus, tropical and stone fruit with pronounced floral and spice characteristics.

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.

BATBRANON_2011 Item# 129119