Chateau Branaire Ducru Saint Julien 2018
|Region||France, Bordeaux, St. Julien|
|Brand||Chateau Branaire Ducru|
The 2018 Branaire-Ducru is every bit as captivating as it was en primeur. Ripe, silky tannins give the 2018 a striking air of sensuality that only grows as the wine sits in the glass. Succulent red/purplish fruit, lavender, rose petal, mint, spice and gravel inflections all open more over time. Even with all of its natural radiance, Branaire remains a model of grace. It is unquestionably one of the under the radar wines of the year.
Pure and driven, with expressive cassis and plum puree aromas and flavors carried by a graphite edge and backed with applewood, licorice root and tobacco notes. Lovely energy throughout. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2022 through 2037.
A beautiful Saint-Julien, the 2018 Château Branaire-Ducru reveals a deep purple color as well as ample, earthy cassis and blackberry fruits intermixed with sous bois, earth, lead pencil, and cedar. With that classic Saint-Julien pure fruit, sumptuous aromas and flavors, sweet yet present tannins, and a solid spine of acidity, it's going to need 5-7 years to hit maturity yet should keep for 20-25 years or more. I don't think it's going to match the blockbuster 2009 (it's more in the pretty, elegant style of the 2016), but it's a gorgeous, elegant wine you will love to have in the cellar.
*Cellar Selection* Spicy, rich and full of ripe fruit, this wine has great potential. It is structured and dense while bringing out a stylish elegance. Blackberry fruit dominates the tannins to create a wine that has both concentration and fine fruit. Drink from 2022.
This is a slightly shy mid-weight wine that is anything but a flashy one. If you have some patience though it has plenty of subtlety and sophistication. Drink in 2021.
The Château Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc picked between 24 September with the early-ripening Merlot, and finishing on 11 October. The yields came in at 40 hectoliters per hectare and Patrick Maratoux explained the importance of waiting for the correct maturity of each parcel. It has a tightly wound bouquet with black cherries and orange peel aromas, focused if not quite as complex as say, Château Beychevelle. The palate is medium-bodied, sinewy in the mouth with tensile tannins. This is a wine that seems to be making a huge effort in this vintage, but I would like to see more finesse manifested on the finish by the time it is in bottle. You know, I think that will develop. That 12 to 13% vin de presse lends this Branaire Ducru impressive sustain on the finish and I suspect that it will coalesce throughout the barrel ageing in two-thirds new oak (though the sample shown at the château was 100% new oak). (NM) (4/2015)