Château Brane-Cantenac

Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend 2005

David T
9.4

I have a six-pack of this 05. I thought after 10 years in bottle, it would be interesting to check in on its evolution. While tasty, I’ll wait another 8-10 to open another. Even after 2-3 hours in the decanter, it’s still a very young adolescent. On the nose, slightly sour blackberries & dark cherries, dark currants, baked black plum, haunting blue fruits, anise, whiff of spice, steeped tea, dry stones, dry crushed rocks with dry top soil, caramel, vanilla with fresh & dry red florals. The body is thick & full. Tannins are starting to round out. It’s velvety on the palate. The fruits are; bright, fresh & ripe and really show the greatness of the 05 vintage. Dark currants, blackberries, dark cherries, baked black plum, haunting blue fruits, baked strawberries, cherries, raspberries on the long set, dark spice, clay & loamy dry top soil with crushed rocks, dry stones, cigar with ash, graphite, dry stems, slight herbaceous character, mint, used leather, clove, caramel, vanilla, fresh & dry red florals with violets. The round acidity is about perfect. The structure and length are still strong. The balance is in harmony. As for the long finish, it’s lush, ruby, rich and well polished. Photos of; Chateau Brane Cantenac, large wood vats, Henri Lurton and Estate vines. Producer notes and history...Chateau Brane Cantenac began in the early 17th century. At the time, the estate was known as Domaine Guilhem Hosten. Even that far back, wine was produced from the property. In fact, the wine was so highly regarded it was one of the more expensive wines in Bordeaux. It sold for almost as much money as Brane Mouton. This is interesting because of who went on to buy the vineyard in the 1800’s. The Baron of Brane, also known as “Napoleon of the Vineyards”, purchased the Chateau in 1833. At the time of the sale, the estate was called Chateau Gorce-Guy. To get the funds needed to purchase the Margaux vineyard, the Baron sold what is now called Mouton Rothschild, which was at the time of the sale, known as Chateau Brane-Mouton. Not such a good move with hundreds of years in hindsight! In 1838, the Baron renamed property taking his name and the name of the sector where the vineyards were located and called it Chateau Brane Cantenac. The Chateau later passed to the Roy family, who were well-known in the Margaux appellation in those days, as they owned Chateau d’issan. Moving ahead to 1920, the Societe des Grands Crus de France, a group of merchants and growers that owned several chateaux located in the Medoc including; Chateau Margaux, Chateau Giscours, and Chateau Lagrange in St. Julien, purchased Chateau Brane Cantenac. Five years later, M. Recapet and his son-in-law, François Lurton, took over Brane Cantenac along with Chateau Margaux. Lucien Lurton (the son of François Lurton) inherited Brane Cantenac in 1956. Today, the estate is still in the hands of the Lurton family. Brane Cantenac is owned and run by Henri Lurton. After being given the responsibility of managing Brane Cantenac, it was under the direction of Henri Lurton that large portions of the vineyard were replanted. Vine densities were increased, the drainage systems were improved and the plantings were also, slowly changed. The vineyard of Brane Cantenac is planted to 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc and .5% Carmenere. Carmenere was used for the first time in the 2011 vintage. The only other Chateau I know that still uses Carmenere is Clerc Milon. The 75 hectare Left Bank vineyard of Brane Cantenac is essentially unchanged since it earned Second Growth status in the 1855 Classification. At least that is the case with the 45 hectares used to produce the Grand Vin of Brane Cantenac. Those 45 hectares are planted surrounding the Chateau. Those vines are located just in front of the Cantenac plateau and are the best terroir that Brane Cantenac owns. They have other parcels, which are further inland and much of those grapes are placed into their second wine, Le Baron de Brane. Those additional hectares can be divided into 3 main sections. Behind the Chateau, they have 15 hectares of vines on gravel and sand, 10 hectares across the road with sand, gravel and iron and a 13 hectare parcel with gravel called Notton, which is used for their second wine. The vineyard is planted to a vine density that ranges from 6,666 vines per hectare on the plateau and up to 8,000 vines per hectare for the vines located behind chateau, in their sandier soils. The higher levels of vine density are always found in the newer plantings. The terroir of Brane Cantenac consists of deep gravel, sand and clay soil. Experiments in the vineyards are currently looking at becoming more organic in their vineyard management. Today, more than 25% of Brane Cantenac is farmed using organic farming techniques. It is expected that over time, the amount of hectares farmed with organic methods will be increased. Brane Cantenac has gone through 2 relatively recent modernization’s in 1999, when they added began adding the first of their smaller vats to allow for parcel by parcel vinification and then again in 2015 when they completed a much more complete renovation of their cellars and vat rooms. While Brane Cantenac is a traditional producer, they are no stranger to technology as they were one of the first estates to embrace optical grape sorting machines. In very wet vintages, they can also use reverse osmosis. To produce the wine of Chateau Brane Cantenac, the wine is vinified in a combination of temperature controlled, traditional, 22 oak vats, 18 concrete tanks and 20 stainless steel vats that vary in size from 40 hectoliters all the way up to 200 hectoliters, which allows for parcel by parcel vinification. 40% of the fermentation takes place in the oak vats. The oldest vines are vinified in vats that are selected to allow for separate parcel by parcel vinification. The younger vines are vinified more often together in the same vats. However, the Carmenere is entirely micro-vinified, meaning that those grapes were completely vinified in barrel, using micro-vinification techniques. This can also happen because the amount of grapes produced is so small. Some vats can be co-inoculated, meaning they go through alcoholic fermentation and malolactic fermentation simultaneously. At Chateau Brane Cantenac, malolactic fermentation takes place in a combination of French oak tanks and barrels. The wine of Brane Cantenac is aged in an average of 60% new, French oak barrels for 18 months before bottling. The initial 2 months of aging is done with the wine on its lees, which adds more depth to the wine. There second wine is Le Baron de Brane. Le Baron de Brane is not new. In fact, previously, the second wine went under the name of Chateau Notton, which took its name from one of the main parcels where the grapes were planted. During the late 1950’s and into the 1960’s, having a second wine was important as the estate declassified 3 vintages, due to extremely poor, weather conditions in 1956, 1960 and 1963. Production of Chateau Brane Cantenac is about 11,000 cases per year. — 7 days ago

Eric, Jason and 37 others liked this
David T

David T Influencer Badge

@Severn Goodwin That all depends on what you have in your cellar or temp controlled cabinets on the way to patience. Had a 70 at the Cordeillan Bages in 07 that was near perfect. This will be so much better when it hits the same age. 👍
Severn Goodwin

Severn Goodwin

Great write up, when I first saw this you were only one paragraph in. Thanks.
David T

David T Influencer Badge

@Severn Goodwin Thank you. I thought it was particularly interesting he sold Mouton to buy Brane Cantenac. Too bad he did have a magic 8 ball to predict the future.

Château Clos L'Eglise

Pomerol Red Bordeaux Blend 1998

Excellent aged 20 year old Pomerol @ £148 with loads of life & aging left for 5-10 yrs!

🍷 Opaque ruby

👃 Beautiful elegant smoked oak, tobacco, minerals, gravel, pencil lead, leather, wet leaves, dark berry fruits, vanilla, herbs, mocha, stewed plum & dried meats - yum 😍

👄 Med body of black & red plump plummy opulent fruit, well balanced & silky smooth coated with cocoa & minerals

🎯 Long red & black fruit filled finish with a mocha liquorice mineral climax - oh yeah
— 7 hours ago

Chris, E and 22 others liked this

Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Pessac-Léognan Red Bordeaux Blend 2014

Dates back to the Crusades & Scottish navigator, George Smith, 18th century owner, followed by M. Duffour-Dubergier, Mayor of Bordeaux, then Louis Eschenauer, wine shipper. In 1990, Daniel & Florence Cathiard now own estate. A blend of 62% Cab Sauv, 30% Merlot, 6% Cab Franc, & 2% Petit Verdot. Dark red with dark berry fruit aromas, cedar, smoke and sweet spice. Palate, rich & complex ripe black fruit flavors, oak & cacao. Firm rich tannins, full, lingering, rustic, spice, perfect balance. L-T aging. — 2 days ago

David, Trixie and 2 others liked this

Château Calon-Ségur

Saint-Estèphe Red Bordeaux Blend 2014

Delectable Wine
9.6

The 2014 Calon Ségur is a real show-stopper. Unusually ripe, powerful and seductive, the wine exudes class. Myriad shades of plum, sweet red cherry, pomegranate, spice and blood orange are all on display. Wild flowers, tobacco and host of more aromatic notes develop in the glass. Above all else, though, the 2014 is a wine of pure power and breadth. This is yet another fabulous showing for the 2014 Calon Ségur, a wine that vies for top honors in this vintage. Don't miss it. The blend is 67 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 19 % Merlot, 15 % Cabernet Franc and 2 % Petit Verdot. (Antonio Galloni, Vinous, Feb 2017) — 8 days ago

Severn, Matt Trader, and 12 others liked this

Château Palmer

Margaux Red Bordeaux Blend 1999

David T
9.5

While not the highest scoring wine of the weekend, it was my favorite. The 99 Palmer is gorgeously textured, sexy, velvet in the mouth, nicely rounded subtle dark red cassis, mint, menthol, dry stones, dark florals, forest floor, smoke, soft leather, iodine, fresh floral bouquet, beautiful round acidity and a well balanced elegant finish. Paired nicely with our Ribeye and rack of lamb. Still needed a two hour decant. If you have the 99, I’d hold it another 10 years if you have the patience. — 13 days ago

Jason, Sofia and 26 others liked this

Château Lynch-Bages

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend 1990

Shay A
9.4

I must be doing something right to have had a 1990 Lynch Bages twice in the past year! Score from previously holds...9.4 and may be getting better?! Crazy. 9.5 is probably more fair. Still so shocked by the color...would have never guessed 28yrs old. Cassis, tar, lavender, and herbal on the nose. The palate is still quite full and though it’s fading a bit, the finish is still powerful and gripping with blackberries and earthy-herbal notes. Impeccable! — 5 days ago

Mark Flesher
with Mark
Mark, Paul and 70 others liked this
Hugh O'Riordan

Hugh O'Riordan

I’m jealous!

Château Smith Haut Lafitte

Le Petit Haut Lafitte Red Bordeaux Blend 2011

Took a while to open. 2 hrs to open. Nose of blackberries and pepper. Tastes of black pepper, chocolate, and light charcoal. — 2 days ago

Heather DillawayGail Brater
with Heather and Gail
Shay, Kim and 1 other liked this

Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

Pauillac Red Bordeaux Blend 2001

2006 here- I saw it as a bit older than others in the class with a slight stewed and dried fruit character in the mix as well as some mahogany, Dutch liquorice, mint and toasted oak too. Tannins still quite chewy, with the acid when settled in the wine. Plenty of flavour intensity and finish here. — 8 days ago

Simon, Ron and 2 others liked this

Château Fontenil

Fronsac Red Bordeaux Blend 2012

Spending Valentine's Day with a big boy. No, Cara hasn't undergone some major change. Rather, this Fontenil packs a punch... black and blue (fruit that is). An overt and tasty offering from Michel Rolland. — 3 days ago

Cara Zimmerman
with Cara
Cara, Trixie and 14 others liked this

Château La Tour Haut-Brion

Graves Red Bordeaux Blend 1982

My favorite vintage for this wine showing it’s power, intensity & tannin structure. Sweet black fruits, plum, tar, asphalt, mineral, licorice, mint & cigar ash. Last vintage 05 & now part of La Mission HB. — 5 days ago

Shay, Jeff and 13 others liked this