This wine is more backward than I would have normally expected, but nevertheless, it is very impressive. The 2010 Branaire-Ducru displays an inky bluish purple color and loads of mulberry, raspberry, black currant, graphite and floral notes in its intense aromatics. Medium to full-bodied , with sensational ripeness, purity, texture and length, the tannins are slightly more prominent than I remember from barrel, but they are sweet and ripe (as opposed to astringent and bitter). This beautiful wine needs 4-6 years of cellaring and should keep 25-30 years.
|Score: 94||Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (205), March 2013|
Proprietor Patrick Maroteaux has completed a decade of brilliant performances at this chateau across the Medoc's Route de Vin from Beychevelle and a stone's throw from Ducru Beaucaillou, St.-Pierre and Gloria. A fabulous effort, the 2010's notes of raspberry jam, black currants, crushed rocks and spring flowers are followed by a wine of impeccable purity, medium to full-bodied power, sweet tannin and stunning texture and length. With superb richness and beautiful overall equilibrium, it will benefit from 4-5 years of cellaring and keep for 25 or more years.
|Score: 93-95||Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (194), May 2011|
Tasted at the Union de Grand Cru in London. The Branaire Ducru is slightly richer and more extroverted on the nose compared to the Beychevelle. There are copious black cherries, bilberry and cedar aromas, with a hint of Lapsong Souchang. The palate is medium-bodied with spicebox and black pepper on the entry. Good structure here: a Saint Julien that has gained a little breeding during its élevage. Very fine. Tasted November 2012.
|Score: 93||Neal Martin, eRobertParker.com, February 2013|
Tasted at the chateau and the UGC, the Branaire Ducru is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23.5% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot including 10% of the vin de presse. It has 13.8% alcohol with a pH of 3.53. The nose is very primal compared to other samples with high-toned dark cherries, dark plum and cassis. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tensile tannins, very good acidity and precision; not a wine of dimension like Ducru Beaucaillou but I like the subtle touch of spiciness interlacing the finish. Very fine. Drink 2014- Tasted March 2011.
|Score: 91-93||Neal Martin, eRobertParker.com, April 2011|
A layered young red with lots of black olives and berries on the nose. Full body, with velvety and chewy tannins. It all comes together at the end with a lovely sweet fruit. Try after 2017.
|Score: 94||James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2013|
Tasted 17 Feb: Very dark purple. Nice freshness on the nose. Very round and supple and polished. Opulent without being sweet. All assembled by end Feb with about 9% vin de presse. More approachable than most of the 2010s I have tasted so far. Fresh and the fruit almost disguises the marked tannins on the finish. Stricter selection than usual. Dry - very dry summer. 41 hl/ha compared to 47 hl/ha in 2009. Small berries.
Tasted blind 8 Apr: Very sweet, almost Marmite aromas. Great freshness but no great intensity on the palate. A little angular with some green notes on the finish but a competent wine. Relaxed and comfortable. Not forced.
|Score: 17||Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2011|
A classic Saint Julien Chateau that in recent vintages has pushed the quality level up considerably under owner Patrick Maroteaux and winemaker Jean-Dominique Videau. It produces wines of real St Julien class and structure. Made from 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. The yield here was down to just under 40 hl/ha compared to 47 hl/ha in 2009. Classsic Cabernet character. Quite dry and cedary with tobacco notes. Ripe tannins and attractive blackcurrant fruit. Firmly structured, this will require 15-20 years to resolve but will make a great Branaire.
|Score: 16.5||Farr Vintners, April 2011|
The nose has lots of ripe fruit just a bit sweaty sweet. Ripe black fruits give richness on the palate slightly sticky sweet but there is enough freshness right at the back to balance the rather fleshy richness.
|Score: 88-92||Derek Smedley MW, April 2011|
Lots of depth and already showing fragrance and complexity, perfect concentration and refreshing, harmonious length, another great wine from the château on top of its form. Drink 2018-30.
|Score: 17.5||Steven Spurrier, Decanter.com, April 2011|
|Score: 93||Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2011|