Wine Words & Video Tape

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Château Brane-Cantenac


Address: 33460 Margaux

Telephone: 05 57 88 83 33

Visits: By appointment



Château Brane-Cantenac is now run by Henri Lurton who took over from his father Lucien Lurton in 1992. Classified as a second growth in the 1855 classification Brane-Cantenac enjoyed a wonderful reputation in the nineteenth century. The quality here is based on a fantastic terrior, made up of a number of plots but the most significant of which is a bench of gravel that sits above the surrounding vineyard areas and is known as the Brane plateau which favours Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines have wonderful Margaux perfume and in recent vintages [2009 & 2010] have proved excellent. They have elegance and finesse and can be a bit deceptive early on, particularly during the primeur tastings, and the wines often seem to put on more flesh and body during elévage and in bottle. Brane Cantenac made extremely successful wines in 2011 and in 2012, both tricky vintages.

Vineyard: 75 hectares, soils deep gravel, planted with 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc and 0.5% Carmenere. Average age 35 years plated between 6666 to 8000 vines per hectare. Average yield 45 hectolitres per hectare. A number of plots here, the most significant of which is a parcel known as the Brane plateau, an area of soil with large sized gravel that sits up above the surrounding land by twenty metres and favours Cabernet Sauvignon. Other plots include Le Verdotte and Notton.

Winemaking/Elévage: Fermenting capacity split equally between wood, concrete and stainless steel vats. Second wine Baron de Brane and a third wine Chateau Notton. Aged 18 months in barrels, 60-70% new.

  • 2015 Deep and saturated looking; healthy; lovely purity to the nose; layers; Cabernet dominates; cassis; blackcurrants; black cherry; fresh and ripe; lovely palate; some tension; pure and cool overall; pretty seductive wine; some floral notes; cool and sleek with nice extract, depth and length. Lovely Brane-Cantenac. [70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Carmenere, 13.6%alc]. Drink 2022-2035. 93-95+
  • 2014 Deep colour; purple at edge; stalky blackcurrant Cabernet fruit; black cherry and blackcurrant tones; opens up in the glass; freshness here; lots of blackcurrant fruit here; strong and fresh on the palate; purity and acidity. Clean and fresh with matter and extract. Very good effort. Expect this to fill out. 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc. 13% alc. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 91-93+
  • 2013 Mid depth; glossy; some spice and earthy tones with a little streak of green pepper; blackcurrants on the palate; elegance; not too forced; sappy and grippy at end. Drink 2017-2025. Tasted UGCB April 2014. 86-88
  • 2012 Mid depth; attractive perfumed aromatics with some coffee bean hints; blackcurrants and menthol tones; polished palate – very good Margaux; elegance and layers here. Good length. Drink 2015-2026. 91+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Very good colour; deep and saturated; dense to edge; violets, layers, very composed and excellent manners; lushness too; quite tight on the palate but obvious depth and layers; some earth, little undergrowth; structure beneath but very attractive overall; grip and chew on the end. Consistent notes. 92-93+ UGC Thursday April 11, 2013 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated colour; very fresh and elegant; vivacious on the nose; real delicacy here; very attractive; palate very flattering with real delicacy and lush flavours from what appears to be extremely attractive Merlot in the blend; very good wine with some grip at the end. Nicely done. 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot. 92-93+ Tasted UGC Tuesday April 9, 2013. Drink 2017-2027
  • 2011 Mid depth; saturated at centre; violet perfume – yippee! Spicy blackcurrant tones alongside some coffee bean and mocha notes; complex with some undergrowth notes; blackcurrants, with spice and coffee tones; tannins have some bite but palate not too sappy and acid. Very nice length. Impressive for the vintage and the commune. Drink 2016-2026. 90+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep, earthy purple at edge; sappy, earthy note, hint of green pepper; violets here [hurrah!], some coffee bean – this will be an attractive nose; palate has freshness and fruit – cool Cabernet and some real perfume too. Has bite but depth and chew and could work really well. 37% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 56.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 0.5% Carmenere] 90-92 Drink 2018-2028
  • 2010 Deep and saturated looking; seam of beautifully pure blackcurrant fruit; ripe and clean; elegant and perfumed; very voluptuous and caressing on the palate; really terrific; grows and grows; lots of layers here which uncoil wonderfully; real power to this alongside the elegance. Long spicy finish. Excellent effort. Beautiful Margaux. Drink 2015-2035. 95 MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep looking; nice cassis, pure, some violet lift with earthy undergrowth; elegant palate, layers and nice tension here; ripe fruit, good acid and structure here with bite at the end. Quite a bit of tannin. 90+/100 UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and saturated colour; some reductive notes; some violets too; cassis; palate quite grippy and backward; little awkward needs to settle and blossom a bit, but not over extracted. 87-89/100 Tasted 5 April 2011. [Second tasting] Deep and saturated; floral and perfumed, fresh blackcurrants and violets, quite seductive; some grip on the palate, blackcurrants again, some coffee; elegance with intensity. Some chew at the back. Much better sample. 90-92/100 [62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc 13.5 alc] Tasted 7 April 2011 UGC Drink 2018-2030+
  • 2009 Deep and saturated; tight to rim; leafy blackcurrants; earthy; herbal lift; real density and saturation on the palate – very full – but there is structure here and some freshness on the end. Drink 2016-2030. 93+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Deepish; less thick in the glass than some; vibrant cassis and blackcurrant; has some meat here too; perfume too; leafy notes; blackcurrant notes on palate; very attractive; real Margaux charm; good grip; some coffee and mocha on the finish. Will open further [and I may be underrating this] 91-93+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Dense supple attractive nose, violets, perfumed; very attractive nose, some coffee; little geranium here; seductive; palate medium weight; soft and supple but with intensity; very feminine; some coffee and mocha with the perfume. Palate round, supple; good length 90+/100. [Second tasting] Fresh; blackcurrants and mocha here; very seductive and ripe palate; nice and flattering; elegant yet intense with perfume and violets coming through on the palate. Attractive & elegant with intensity – very good wine and good length here. 90-92+/100 30th March & 1st April 2009. Drink now-2030
  • 2008 Mid depth; some red at edge; some chalk, blackcurrant notes and earth; chewy blackcurrants, spices some dryness and acid – structured. Some flesh here but nevertheless feels a tad hollow. May come round as there may be just enough ingredients here. 87 MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Mid red; purple at edge; some stalky blackcurrant notes; feels a bit angular and tannic on the palate; quite chewy, not the most appealing [2nd] Slightly dumb [fresh bottle]; elegant palate with some savour and grip with some length but tannic at the end. Needs to settle. 86-88/100 Drink 2018-2028 UGC Oct ’10
  • 2007 Mid depth; darkish; some coffee and leaf; earthy and some bell pepper/capsicum notes; feels a bit tight, angular and not at all generous; thin and mean though not over extracted. May come good with another year or so? 86?/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 Drink 2015-2020
  • 2006 Mid red, some depth; earthy, leafy, reminds me a little of d’Issan, quite intense, blackcurrants earth and chocolate at the back; good blackcurrant intensity with some leaf; some spice and undergrowth. Attractive and earthy Margaux 88+/100 MW Institute Nov ’10. Drink now – 2020

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