On the nose, bright, ripe, ruby; blackberries, dark cherries, black raspberries, blue fruit mix, strawberries, creamy raspberries, plums, cranberries, black tea, loamy soils, dry clay, dry stones, limestone minerals, saddlewood, crush dry rocks, dark moist soils, dark chocolate, vanilla, field of violets, lavender and fresh red florals.
The palate is medium-full yet a little lean. The fruits are elegant, ruby, ripe; blackberries, dark cherries, black raspberries, blue fruit mix, strawberries, creamy raspberries, plums, cranberries, black tea, loamy soils, dry clay, dry stones, limestone minerals, used leather, cedar, crush dry rocks, dark moist soils, dark chocolate, vanilla, field of violets, lavender and fresh red florals. The acidity is very good. The length, balance and length are nice. The structure a little lean. It a well polished rich fruit finish, but is a little short.
Photos of; the Chateau, Owner Patrick Maroteaux (may he RIP), Estate grapes and their barrel room.
Producer notes & history...Branaire Ducru has a long history has a long history that dates back to 1680. In those days, Branaire Ducru was a part of a larger Beychevelle. When the owner of Beychevelle passed away, he left behind a huge Bordeaux vineyard that was seriously in debt. To pay off the debt, the vineyard was broken up and sold. Several new estates were created in Saint Julien, which include Chateau Branaire Ducru. Jean-Baptiste Braneyre created the estate in 1680. As was was tradition in Bordeaux, the owner gave the estate his name, which is where the first part of the properties name came was given. Braneyre was later altered to Branaire. Braneyre bought the land we know as Branaire Ducru because of the terroir. He understood that Cabernet Sauvignon grew best on the deep gravel soils found in the Medoc. With that, we have the birth of Branaire Ducru. Or, at least the Branaire part. The middle name was gained through marriage. Marie Braneyre married Pierre de Luc which as you can guess, gave us the Branaire Duluc (the name of their 2nd wine). Almost 100 years later, the first winery at the property was constructed in 1824. It took almost 200 years for the Ducru portion of the wines name to make its way to the label. In 1875, with no direct descendants, Gustave Ducru, a more distant relative took over the property and added his name to the label making it, Chateau Branaire Ducru.
Patrick Maroteaux bought Branaire Ducru in 1988 from the Tapie family who had owned It since 1919. Prior to his ownership of Branaire Ducru, Patrick Maroteaux had no prior experience in the wine business. His background was in banking and then a president of the massive sugar company, Eurosucre. Patrick Maroteaux also served as the President of the UGCB, Union of Grand Crus Bordeaux, and as the President of the Saint Julien appellation.
Since his purchase, Patrick Maroteaux has focused much of his efforts on performing extensive work in the vineyards and in the cellars. He also began reducing the yields. Additionally, he increased the size of their vineyards by 10 hectares. Patrick was also modernized their winemaking techniques.
In fact, Patrick Maroteaux was one of the first producers in the Left Bank to being filling his tanks entirely by gravity. He did this beginning with the 91 vintage. This was done with the help of Philippe Dhalluin.
Philippe Dhalluin left Branaire Ducru in 2004 and took the same position as the director for wine making at Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Philippe Dhalluin was replaced by Jean Dominique Videau.
Chateau Branaire Ducru is a family business. The son of Patrick Maroteaux, François Xavier Maroteaux has carried the family business and joined the estate. Sadly, on November 19, 2017, Patrick Maroteaux passed away at the age of 67. His son, François Xavier Maroteaux took over the full time responsibilities of managing the property.
All the new technical improvements at Branaire Ducru quickly paid off for Patrick Maroteaux. Beginning with the 2000 vintage, Branaire Ducru became one of the top Saint Julien wines. It’s also one of the better values for high quality Bordeaux.
The 60 hectare vineyard of Branaire Ducru is planted to 65% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. The vineyard is very close to the size it was during the time of the 1855 Classification.
The terroir is deep gravel with clay soils. The best terroir is located near the chateau, closest to the Gironde river. They also have blocks further inland, with a small section of vines placed close to Chateau Lagrange and Chateau Talbot. The vineyard can be divided into 15 different blocks with 70 different parcels of vines. On average, the vines are close to 35 years of age. However, the estate has older vines as well. The oldest vines date back close to 90 years of age. The vineyard is planted to a vine density that ranges from 6,700 to 10,000 vines per hectare. The higher levels of vine density are for the newer plantings. The goal of the property is to continue increasing the vine density in all of their better terroirs.
Branaire Ducru, fermentation takes place in 28 temperature controlled, stainless steel tanks. The 28 vats vary in size. The vats range in size from as small as 30 hectoliters and up to 210 hectoliters. Each vat is sized for the needs of each specific vineyard parcel. Each vat is filled using the gravity based system.
Branaire Ducru is aged in 60 to 65% new, French oak barrels for between 16-20 months. The amount of new oak varies depending on the quality, character and style of each vintage. On average, the annual production is about 25,000 cases depending on the vintage. — 3 years ago
Pinot Gris 2011. Floral and subtle tropical fruit on the nose. Nice soft texture. Light to medium body (who cares?). Tropical fruit, raw honey, good acidity, dry finish with some biterness. — 6 years ago
Bubbly to kick things off... — 7 years ago