2019 Château Branaire-Ducru, St Julien, Bordeaux, France
The ever improving Fourth Growth, Château Branaire-Ducru, is renowned for producing classical St Julien. This vintage, the 2019, was the bargain buy of the vintage at under £30 en-primeur. With downward pressure on the vintage due to the fears over pricing raised during the Coronavirus pandemic savvy buyers took advantage of a 96 point St Julien for a bargain price. That price is still reflected in today's prices.
Although still very young, this is a superb, top quality Bordeaux to add to the cellar and enjoy over the long term (2030 on) or pull out and sample early due to the very fair price.
Tempting aromas of black fruit, perfume, liquorice, salty stones. Juicy, controlled, but bright and energetic, with concentration in the chalky, just spiced edges on the tongue giving a piquance. A beautiful, rounded expression; the precise detail is covered slightly by the ripe cherry and strawberry fruit, but there is such a charm and joy to this. 96 Points. Decanter Magazone - Jan '23
The 2019 Branaire-Ducru unwinds in the glass with aromas of raspberries, blackcurrants, sweet soil tones and hints of cigar wrapper, rose petals and cedar. Medium to full-bodied, deep and layered, it's youthfully tightly wound, with terrific concentration, tangy acids, powdery tannins and a long, saline finish. While this is a little reserved out of the gates, its energy and classical proportions will richly reward bottle age. 95 Points. William Kelley
The 2019 Branaire-Ducru dazzles from start to finish. All the Brainaire signatures - rose petal, lavender, red and purplish fruit - are present, but they are kicked up a few notches, with all of the radiance of the year on full display. Soft, plush and so alluring, the 2019 Branaire is one sexy wine. Impressive. 94-96 Points. Antonio Galloni
Dark-berry and blue-fruit character to the firm, chewy tannins that are polished and solid. Medium to full body. Wood and walnut undertones now. Impressive. 95-6 Points. James Suckling (Feb 2018)
The 2019 Branaire -Ducru is one instance where I felt that the first two bottles via the UGC shipment were not quite correct, so I requested two more direct from the château. They were different. It has plenty of dark berry fruit on the nose mixed with smoke, tobacco and undergrowth scents - just classic Saint-Julien. The palate is medium-bodied with a tangy saline entry, fresh and defined by the crisp tannins. Whereas the first samples lacked a bit of cohesion, this is more focused and detailed with a seriously impressive classically styled, graphite tinged finish. Result? Best Branaire I've tasted in barrel. Kudos to François-Xavier Maroteau and his team. 94-6 Points. Neal Martin (March 2018)
FOOD PAIRING INSPIRATION
This wine will pair very nicely with a classic Sunday roast, Christmas dinner or any rich meat dish. With a bit more Merlot this year, even a nice lamb dish will work well.
VINTAGE AND WINEMAKING
St Julien was a little less wet during the vintage than the rest of the Medoc, however endured much the same patterns as the rest of the region. The region escaped any major frost damage, however flowering didn't begin until the end of May. The summer brightened up as June, July and August remained warm and sunny throughout. The vintage is rated 93/100 by Wine Spectator magazine.
The blend is made up of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc this year. The vintage used 60% new oak and the wine was aged in barrel for 16 months.
A strangely overlooked Fourth Growth, St Julien Château whose critic's scores over the last decade have rivalled many of its more famous neighbours, we can't help but think another St Julien 'Ducru' may be too much for the average wine consumer to recall! However, those whose curiosity surpasses famous labels are richly rewarded with some of the most classic St Julien wines on the market with Branaire-Ducru.
The Château refused to bend to fashion during the punchy Parker years and carried on making delicious but understated (in a world of bombastic) wines. Today that philosophy has paid off when a new generation of critic looks for finesse, elegance and the tell tale signs of quality winemaking over power, critics like Kelley and Martin.
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SERVICE AND STORAGE TIPS
The wine should be stored over the longer term at 12c. We recommend this wine be brought up to around 16c for service. This temperature more closely resembles cellar conditions and allows the wine to be lifted and have freshness. For such a young wine, if it were served today we would recommend a few hours in a young wine decanter.
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2019 Château Branaire-Ducru, St Julien, Bordeaux, France
|AOC St Julien
|Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
|93/100 - Wine Spectator
|Drinking Now - Will improve
|Roasted Meats, Sunday Roast
|96 Points - Decanter
|95 Points - James Suckling
|95 Points - William Kelley
|95 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown
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