Released this morning, 2021 Château Branaire-Ducru stands out for quality and value, at just £370 per dozen and scoring up to 94-95 points from James Suckling, with widespread praise for its 'pretty' but complex nose and layered, 'solid' weight on the palate. The Wine Advocate's William Kelley calls it "a beautiful wine that numbers among the vintage's real successes (93-94 points).
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|RED||2021||Château Branaire Ducru||75cl||£370 per case of 12||Château Branaire Ducru
2021 / / 75cl
£370 per case of 12
Tasting Notes"66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 6.5% Cabernet Franc, 5.5% Petit Verdot. Cask sample. Open and aromatic on the nose with savoury and dark-fruit notes. Supple and fleshy on the palate. Lacks a bit of density but there’s a structure well in place. Competent rather than stirring. Drink 2026 – 2036. 16 points" jancisrobinson.com (JL)------"Well balanced, showcasing the possibliities of the vintage, a little austere in its rose stem and cassis bud character, but it opens up to show finessed blackberry fruit, precisely cut tannins, and has plenty of potential to age. 32hl/ yield, up to 20 month ageing depending on tasting. Tasted twice. 92 points" janeanson.com------"The 2021 Branaire Ducru was picked from September 24, albeit slowly, until October 14, at 32hL/ha. It has quite an intense, dare I say precocious bouquet of bold brambly red fruit that eventually settles in the glass and turns darker. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit and a touch of black pepper and tobacco. Quite a marine-influenced Saint-Julien, it fans out gradually toward the finish and exerts a gentle grip. Though not quite reaching the heights of recent vintages, it represents a true articulation of the growing season and of Branaire-Ducru itself. 91-93 points" Neal Martin, Vinous.com------"Having tasted the 2021 Branaire-Ducru six times over the course of a month and a half, I feel confident in saying that it is a beautiful wine that numbers among the vintage's real successes. Offering up aromas of raspberry coulis and red cherries mingled with notions of rose petals, cigar box and spices, it's medium to full-bodied, ample and seamless, with a layered core of fruit, lively acids and beautifully powdery tannins. Why is it quite so good? It isn't because a lot of wine was declassified, as around 60% of the estate's production went into the grand vin this year—a touch more than average. Rather, the key factors seem to be waiting to pick despite an alarming weather forecast; the blend itself, which emphasizes ripe Cabernet and the estate's later-ripening Merlot on clay-limestone soils; and the fact that a partially completed new winery means that Branaire already had fully 63 fermentation vats at its disposal to pick and vinify parcel by parcel. The exact composition is 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. 93-94+ points" William Kelley, RobertParker.com------"The 2021 Branaire-Ducru is sleek, elegant and nuanced. There is more Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in the blend than in the 2018-2020 period, when the Merlots were especially successful. As a result, the aromatics are absolutely alluring, but the wine is much less forthcoming on the palate. At 12.9% alcohol, the 2021 is a classically austere Branaire at looks like it will need quite a bit of time to blossom. It is undoubtedly a very pretty wine, even if not fully expressive at this stage. Dark cherry, plum, chocolate, leather and rose petal linger. Tasted three times. 93-95 points" Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com------"A very pretty wine, showing blackberry and blackcurrant aromas with crushed stone. Medium to full body with layers of fine-grained tannins. Bright and refined. Lots of dark fruit at the end. Solid weight. 94-95 points" jamessuckling.com