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2014 Chateau Branaire Ducru
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The Château Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc picked between 24 September with the early-ripening Merlot, and finishing on 11 October. The yields came in at 40 hectoliters per hectare and Patrick Maratoux explained the importance of waiting for the correct maturity of each parcel. It has a tightly wound bouquet with black cherries and orange peel aromas, focused if not quite as complex as say, Château Beychevelle. The palate is medium-bodied, sinewy in the mouth with tensile tannins. This is a wine that seems to be making a huge effort in this vintage, but I would like to see more finesse manifested on the finish by the time it is in bottle. You know, I think that will develop. That 12 to 13% vin de presse lends this Branaire Ducru impressive sustain on the finish and I suspect that it will coalesce throughout the barrel ageing in two-thirds new oak (though the sample shown at the château was 100% new oak). Drink 2018 - 2032.
Neal Martin eRobertParker.com # 218 (Apr 2015)
Focused and a touch austere for now, with a charcoal edge to the core of black currant and steeped fig fruit. Tobacco and bramble notes check in on the finish, and there's solid acidity in reserve. Well-built and should evolve nicely.
J.M. - Wine Spectator
Very well-expressed ripe Cabernet fruit with elegant structure and good length. Never showy at the start of its life, this is a classic Branaire that needs to age.
This really builds on the palate with round and velvety tannins and a juicy, savory finish. Layered and complex. Shows real potential.