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Brane Cantenac 2018

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Margaux
Grape VarietyCabernet Sauvignon/Merlot

Henri Lurton, the proprietor here, has been working to improve quality in the vineyard with regrafting of Merlot to high quality Cabernet Sauvignon as they look to keep freshness and structure in the wines. The vineyard is now planted with 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 1% Carmenere with the remainder Merlot. The classic 2018 has a high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon - 74% - with 23% Merlot, 2% Cabernt Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

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Tasting Notes

The 2018 Brane-Cantenac was picked from September 17 until October 11 at 45hl/ha, and aged in 70% new French oak. As I wrote in my barrel report, the bouquet is more forthcoming than other vintages, scents of blackberry, cranberry, fern and mint lending it a Pauillac touch, as you often find on Brane-Cantenac in its youth. The palate is very well balanced with a fine bead of acidity. As usual, there is a soupçon of underlying greenness that will dissipate with bottle age. This brims with energy yet remains very classic in style. Will it drink earlier than other vintages? I am not so sure; revisiting this in bottle, I would certainly afford it 4–5 years. 2024 - 2048.

Neal Martin, vinous.com, March 2021

Aromas of mushroom, meat, bark and iodine with blackberries and blackcurrants, following through to a full body with firm, creamy tannins that give structure and form to the wine. Tight on the finish. Long and persistent with presence. Drink after 2025.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, March 2021

The 2018 Brane-Cantenac is made from 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple colored, it gives up vibrant notions of baked black plums, stewed black cherries, and creme de cassis, with touches of Indian spices, chocolate mints, and licorice. Medium to full-bodied, rich, spicy, and seductive, it has a firm frame of grainy tannins and just enough freshness, finishing long and opulent.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent, May 2022

This is a serious wine, with well constructed walls and floor, but it's full of life too, with brambled, succulent and generously-extracted fruit on the nose. It has less immediate charm than some in the appellation and will take a while to come round, but it has clear ageing ability and is one to savour. You feel the precision and confidence in how it presents itself.

1% Petit Verdot makes up the blend - there was no Carmenère in the grand vin in 2018. 45hl/ha yield. 70% new oak.

Drinking Window 2027 - 2042

Jane Anson, Decanter.com, April 2019

Tasted blind. Nice Margaux fragrance and then easy, if a bit simple, fruit. Soft tannins (relatively) and a bit of acid. 13.5%
Drink 2025 – 2037

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, February 2022

74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot; 70% new oak. Barrel sample.
Darkest core with barely a rim. Prettily scented, reminding me, along with Angludet just tasted, of the aromatic distinctiveness of classic Margaux. A bit dry and slim on the palate but the tannins have been gently handled and there’s freshness to finish. (JH) 13.4%
Drink 2024-2032

Julia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2019

Deep in colour, with strawberry and red cherry fruit on the nose layered with notes of tobacco and incense. The palate is juicy and rounded but cut by fresh acidity that gives a cooler, brighter edge to the black fruit at the core. The oak is integrated but smoky, with notes of roasted coffee bean and bonfire. The finish is vibrant, juicy, long and savoury.

Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, April 2019

The grand vin 2018 Château Brane-Cantenac checks in as 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot that fermented in wooden tanks and saw malolactic fermentation and aging in 70% new French oak. It's a beautifully layered, sexy beauty loaded with notions of blackcurrants, spicy oak, camphor, and dried tobacco. Medium to full-bodied, balanced, and layered on the palate, it has a seamless texture, sweet tannin, remarkable freshness and purity, and a great finish. Count me in as a fan. This is another irresistible 2018 that should be snatched up by readers. It will keep for 25-30 years.

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com, May 2019

(74 Cabernet Sauvignon, 23 Merlot, 2 Cabernet Franc) | 70% new oak | 13.4% alc | 45 hl/ha | 3.78 pH This is yet another superb Brane-Cantenac and the fruit is clean, ripe and smooth and it is not too overblown or heavy. There is delicious intensity here and the tannins are wonderfully mouth-watering and complete. I would not hesitate to recommend this wine not least because it will surely drink early and hold well, too. The only problem I have with it is that the blend that I noted down only adds up to 99%!

Matthew Jukes, MatthewJukes.com, April 2019
Read more tasting notes...

The 2018 Brane-Cantenac was picked from September 17 to October 11 at 45hl/ha, and aged in 70% new French oak. The nose is more immediate compared to other vintages, demanding less coaxing and offering attractive cranberry, raspberry, mint and chalk dust aromas that feel well defined and focused. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannins and good acidity (pH 3.78). This is quintessential Brane-Cantenac, its DNA overriding the leitmotifs of the growing season. Touches of sour cherry appear toward a saline finish that lingers nicely in the mouth. This is full of freshness even at this early stage, and I suspect it will drink sooner than other recent vintages. 2024 - 2048

Neal Martin, vinous.com, November 2019

What strikes me about this Brane-Cantenac is the gorgeous center palate of ripe fruit, which gives an impression of generosity, yet it’s tight and reserved at the same time. Fine and polished tannins follow on and drive this gorgeous fruit.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2019

The 2018 Brane-Cantenac is medium to deep garnet-purple in color, leaping from the glass with vibrant notes of kirsch, black raspberries and warm cassis, plus suggestions of roses, forest floor and cinnamon stick with a waft of cedar chest. The medium-bodied palate is wonderfully elegant and refreshing, weighing in at just 13.5% alcohol, while not scrimping on the interplay of red and black fruits. It has lovely soft tannins and a long, perfumed finish. Impressive! 2024 - 2042.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, March 2021

The deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Branaire-Ducru begins just a tad reduced with broody tar, rubber and fried herbs scents giving way to a fragrant core of warm cassis, blackberry pie and blueberry coulis with touches of smoked meats and tobacco. Full-bodied, firm and rugged in the mouth with brawny, muscular fruit and a sturdy frame of grainy tannins, it finishes long and savory.

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (April 2019), April 2019
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.