2016 Chateau Branaire-Ducru, Saint-Julien, France (750ml)
Blend: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc
The core of this red is loaded with pure plum, blueberry and black currant fruit flavors. The polished structure is integrated, with alluring ganache, anise and sweet tobacco notes throughout, all in a polished and balanced frame. A very classy red that isn't shy about its power but pushes its purity to the fore. Best from 2024 through 2039.
-Wine Spectator, 96 pts.
The best vintage of this wine since 2009! Effusive, fresh redcurrant and cassis aromas give this St.-Julien terrific drive and energy, the elegant, dry tannins beautifully married to the medium body, right through the long, agile finish. Drink or hold.
-James Suckling, 95 pts.
The estate, at the southern end of SaintJulien, has produced a wine that is both structured and stylish. This bold, ripe wine shows opulent black fruits and generous tannins. Juicy and structured, it has good aging potential. Drink from 2025. Cellar Selection
-Wine Enthusiast, 95 pts.
The 2016 Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc picked from 28 September until 19 October at 50 hectoliters per hectare, one of the longest harvest periods at the estate. The nose is quite intense with black fruit infused with pencil shaving and a touch of tobacco, unashamedly classic in style, a little distant compared to some other Saint Juliens but undeniably well defined and full of character. The palate is structured and masculine, exerting a firm grip in the mouth, spicier than its peers with cracked black pepper complementing the black fruit, tobacco and smoke towards the structured finish. There is great length here, very persistent in the mouth, a little "rougher" in texture than others, but that will be smoothed out during élevage and in bottle. Give this Branaire-Ducru five or six years in bottle because it has great potential, one of the best produced at the estate in recent years. (NB This sample was taken from a new barrel, though the final blend will be 60%.)
-Robert Parker, 94 pts.
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