Branaire Ducru 2016

St Julien, Fourth Growth

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Tasting Notes

The 2016 Branaire Ducru has a fragrant bouquet of plush blackberry and graphite aromas, hints of bilberry and briar developing in the glass. The medium-bodied palate is quite succulent and multilayered, offering supple tannin and gentle grip on the finish. Real potential here. One of the best Branaire Ducru in recent years. Chapeau!

Score: 93

Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2023-2055 01 January 2019

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%.)

Score: 92 - 94

Neal Martin, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2023-2050 28 April 2017

The 2016 Branaire-Ducru is powerful, dense and explosive to a degree that is surprising for a wine that is typically much more sensual. There is lovely definition throughout, but readers will have to be patient to catch the 2016 at its very best. Hints of leather, smoke, tobacco and dried flowers begin to open up in the glass, but the 2016 is quite reticent at this stage. In two tastings I found the 2016 unusually closed. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what time brings. (93+)

Score: 93

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026-2046 01 January 2019

Branaire-Ducru is gorgeous in 2016. A rush of inky blue/purplish fruit, licorice, violet, lavender and dark spices give the wine its rich, textured feel. Gracious and nuanced, in the classic Branaire style, the 2016 possesses lovely depth and sensuality, with no hard edges and terrific overall balance. Time in the glass brings out the wine's more floral and spiced notes. Above all else, Branaire is a wine of finesse despite its considerable intensity. It is also arguably the most polished of the Saint-Juliens. Tasted two times.

Score: 92 - 95

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com 25 April 2017

Always a supremely elegant, measured take on St-Julien that delivers in spades in 2016. Plush damson fruit comes through with just the right level of extraction. Beautifully rich, ripe fruit is joined by touches of oak at exactly the right moment. An exceptional showing from Branaire that rises above its 2015.

Score: 94

Decanter Maturity: 2027-2045 20 April 2017

64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc. Harvesting from 28th September to 19th October. Wild bramble fruit nose. Huge concentration of blue and black fruit in the middle, this is powerful stuff with plenty of extract and ripe but chewy tannins on the back end. Extremely ripe, achieving slightly higher alcohol in 2016 than 2015.

Score: 92 - 95

Albany Vintners 19 April 2017

Juicy, savoury nose. Fresh and fine-boned. Could only be bordeaux - tant mieux! Silky texture with some energy.

Score: 17

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2026-2043 18 April 2017

A fresh bay leaf note leads off, followed quickly by pure, enticing layers of cassis, blackberry and black cherry fruit that emerge steadily through the long finish. Offers lovely mouthfeel and purity. A very pretty expression of St.-Julien.

Score: 94 - 97

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator 06 April 2017

This is clearly the best wine I have tasted from Branaire-Ducru. Exquisite depth and richness are on offer, yet this is always framed and focused. Layers of fruit and tannins. So deep and long. Incredible quality.

Score: 95 - 96

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com 24 March 2017