Chateau Cantenac Brown Margaux Bordeaux Wine, Complete Guide

Cantenac Brown1 Chateau Cantenac Brown Margaux Bordeaux Wine, Complete Guide

Learn everything about Chateau Cantenac Brown Margaux, Third Growth, Bordeaux wine producer with wine tasting notes, and wine with food pairing tips. Learn all the best vintages, a history of the property, information on vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles

Chateau Cantenac Brown History, Overview

The Chateau for Cantenac Brown is unique in the Bordeaux wine appellation. It is perhaps the only Bordeaux chateau designed in the style of a traditional, Tudor mansion in the entire region! How did that happen?

At the start of the 19th century, the well-known Scottish, animal painter, John Lewis Brown purchased the estate and Bordeaux wine vineyards. As was the tradition in the Medoc at the time, he renamed the estate Cantenac Brown. John Lewis Brown drew up the plans and designed the chateau in the Tudor style. The property changed hands in 1843, when it was traded to a banker named Gromard. By 1860, the property was owned by Armand Lalande, the owner of Chateau Leoville Poyferre in St. Julien. More recently, in 1989 AXA, the massive insurance company with several Bordeaux chateaux in their portfolio including Pichon Baron in Pauillac, and estates in Pomerol and Sauternes bought the vineyard. AXA sold the property in 2006 to the Halabi family.

Today, the Simon Halabi family are the owners of Chateau Cantenac Brown. One of the first moves made by the new owners was to place Jose Sanfins in charge of the wine making at Cantenac Brown. Under the direction of Jose Sanfins, the level of quality has continued to improve with 2009, followed by 2010 and 2015 as benchmark vintages for the chateau.

Chateau Cantenac Brown Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The 53 hectare Left Bank vineyard of Cantenac Brown has a terroir of gravel, sandy and limestone soils. 48 hectares are under vine in Margaux. Aside from vineyards, Cantenac Brown uses a large portion of their land for a stunning, park like setting with lakes and swans. They also maintain beehives, and produce their own honey. Their closest neighbor, as their name suggests is Chateau Brane Cantenac.

The vineyards, which are spread throughout various communes in the Margaux appellation is planted to 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. The average age of the vines are 35 years of age. The oldest vines, which are close to 60 years of age, are located in view of the tasting room, close to the chateau. The density of the vines varies from a density of 8,500 vines per hectare for the old vines, and up to 10,000 vines per hectare in other parcels, most of which are the more recent plantings. Replanting takes place at 10,000 vines per hectare. The peak elevation is close to 18 meters. Their best terroir is their 16 hectares of vines planted on the plateau of Cantenac, which are close to the chateau. They also have vines in Margaux, Soussans and further inland, close to Chateau du Tertre. The vineyard of Cantenac Brown is farmed using a sustainable approach in their farming techniques. This approach means only plant based fertilizers are used. The grapes are picked parcel by parcel, which is how they are vinified as well.

Chateau Cantenac Brown 300x200 Chateau Cantenac Brown Margaux Bordeaux Wine, Complete Guide

Chateau Cantenac Brown Winemaking

To produce the wine of Cantenac Brown, the wine is vinified in 28, temperature controlled, stainless steel vats that vary in size from 50 hectoliters to 190 hectoliters. Malolactic fermentation takes place in a combination of French oak barrels and vats. The wine of Cantenac Brown is then aged in 60% new, French oak barrels for 12 to 15 months, depending on the vintage.

On average, Chateau Cantenac Brown produces 11,000 cases of Bordeaux wine per year. There is a second wine, BriO de Cantenac Brown, which made its debut in 2001. Before 2001, their second was sold as Chateau Canuet.

The best vintages for Chateau Cantenac Brown are: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2006, 2005 and 2000. Cantenac Brown has truly increased the level of quality at the estate starting with the 2009 vintage. I’ve heard good things about older vintages from the 1950’s, but I’ve never seen a bottle. As prices are probably low, it could be worth taking a chance on.

When to Drink Chateau Cantenac Brown, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Cantenac Brown is not a wine to drink on the young side. The wine is usually far too tannic, and concentrated in its youth. Young vintages can be decanted for an average of 2-3 hours, give or take. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Cantenac Brown is usually better with at least 12-15 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau Cantenac Brown offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 18 and 30 years of age after the vintage.

Serving Chateau Cantenac Brown with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips

Chateau Cantenac Brown is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Cantenac Brown is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Cantenac Brown is a perfect match with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta as well as cheese.

Cantenac Brown also started to produce a small amount of white Bordeaux wine called AltO de Cantenac Brown in 2011. AltO de Cantenac Brown comes from a specific 1.8 hectare parcel of vines planted to 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon. AltO de Cantenac Brown is vinified in French oak barrels. There is no malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in 100% new, French oak barrels for 12 months before bottling. The wine is sold as a generic AOC Bordeaux Blanc. The average production of AltO de Cantenac Brown is close to 800 cases a year.

The estate makes a third Margaux wine, Sijac de Cantenac Brown. From a 3.5 hectare section of Bordeaux AOC vines, the owner also produces Brown Lamartine, a 50/50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, which is sold a Bordeaux Superieur wine. The technical director, Jose Sanfins also produces a value priced wine in the Margaux appellation, Chantelune. The family of Jose Sanfins also makes a great olive oil from the Duro, Quinta da Lua.

Château Cantenac Brown Wine Tasting Notes

21 Vintages 106248 Views Sort    Vintage    Rating

  1. 2016 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. A fertile violet-ruby in color with a complex array of scents ranging from espresso, violets, truffle, cassis and dark chocolate, the wine is fresh, long and energetic with a lot of lift in the endnote. Balanced and classic with loads of fresh boysenberry and black cherry, this is quite intense and succulent. From 68% Cabernet Sauvignon and 32% Merlot, this wine reached 13.3% alcohol with a pH of 3.68 and is aging in 60% new, French oak barrels. The harvest took place from September 23 to October 19. Only 49% of the harvest was used in the Grand Vin.

      94 points - Tasted
  2. 2016 AltO de Cantenac Brown ( Bordeaux)

    1. Made from a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon, the wine shows its floral, lemon, lime and honeysuckle quickly. Vibrant, with a green apple and citron finish.

      90 points - Tasted
  3. 2015 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. Clearly one of the top vintages produced here ever, the wine is focused, ripe, deep, long and richly textured. There is volume, freshness, weight, complexity and character.

      95 points - Tasted
    2. Deep, rich violet-ruby in color with a complex array of scents ranging from espresso, violets, truffle, boysenberry, cassis and black cherry, this wine is sensuous, concentrated, opulent and balanced with a long, intense, mouthful of fresh, pure berries. The finish is impressive and lingers with a flurry of sweet, dark, red fruits and even darker chocolate. Easily the best wine since 2009. From 61% Cabernet Sauvignon and 39% Merlot, this wine reached 13.9% alcohol with a pH of 3.7 and is aging in 60% new, French oak barrels. The harvest took place from September 17 to October 8. Only 51% of the harvest was used in the Grand Vin. 94 – 96 Pts

      95 points - Tasted
  4. 2015 AltO de Cantenac Brown ( Bordeaux)

    1. Flowers, honey, lemon chiffon pie, lime and green apple scents pop with no effort. Using 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon, the wine is fresh, lively and vibrant, with loads of just squeezed citrus in the finish. Enjoy this young for its fresh, juicy fruits.

      90 points - Tasted
  5. 2015 Château Cantenac Brown BriO ( Margaux)

    1. Brio de Cantenac Brown- Using 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc, Brio produced a wine with fresh, floral characteristics, earthy notes and sweet, red fruits. Medium-bodied, forward, light, fresh and ready to drink. 87 - 89 Pts

      88 points - Tasted
  6. 2014 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. Soft textured, with a generous blast of sweet, ripe, black cherry, dark chocolate, espresso and wet earth, the wine has charm, character and backbone to age, yet, drink well relatively early.

      92 points - Tasted
    2. Vibrant, full-bodied and alive with easy to find notes of fragrant violets, blackberry, boysenberry and espresso, this wine continues ripe and sweet with a soft and even, fruit-filled finish. From 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot, the wine reached 13% alcohol and is being aged in 60% new, French oak barrels. 91-93 Pts

      92 points - Tasted
  7. 2014 AltO de Cantenac Brown ( Bordeaux)

    1. Lemon, lime and green apple on the nose with enough acidity to keep this wine hoppin’ on the palate, teasing your tasters with the welcome impression of lemon chiffon pie. This should be easy to drink on release. 89 Pts

      89 points - Tasted
  8. 2013 AltO de Cantenac Brown ( Bordeaux)

    1. From a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon, the wine is fresh, refreshing and lively, packed with ripe lemon, grapefruit and minerality. 92 Pts

      92 points - Tasted
  9. 2013 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. Smoke, licorice, flowers and bright red fruits are found on the nose. The wine is medium bodied, crisp and fresh, with a dusty, cherry finish.

      88 points - Tasted
    2. Black cherry, spice and herbs open this medium-bodied wine that ends with bright cherries and an open finish. From a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon and 32% Merlot, the wine reached 13.1% alcohol with a pH of 3.6. The wine represents 40% of the harvest and is aging in 60% new French oak. 88-90 Pts

      89 points - Tasted
  10. 2012 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. Earthy, tobacco, fresh, bright, crisp, cassis and dark cocoa, with a tannic, energetic, smooth finish.

      92 points - Tasted
    2. Soft textured, with sweet cherries, floral notes, plum and earth, the wine ends with a mélange of red and black fruits. 90-93 Pts

      92 points - Tasted
  11. 2011 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. From a blend of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon and 33% Merlot, the medium bodied, tannic wine is more interesting in the nose, with its blackberry, earth, coffee bean and smoke filled prefume, than on the palate, which ends with herbs, cherries and a bit of dryness in the finish.

      89 points - Tasted
    2. Blending 67% Cabernet Sauvignon with the remainder taken up by Merlot, the wine reached 12.9% alcohol. The wine will be aged in 50% new oak. With some coaxing, earth, coffee and black cherry can be found. Soft in texture, this medium-bodied, soft wine ends with a short, clean, black cherry finish. 88-90 Pts

      89 points - Tasted
  12. 2011 AltO de Cantenac Brown ( Bordeaux)

    1. For the 2011 vintage, Cantenac Brown introduced a 750 case wine from 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon aged in 1 year-old barrels. With grapefruit, lemon and honeysuckle, the wine ends with a short, lemon wax finish. 87 Pts

      87 points - Tasted
  13. 2010 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. Still quite young as you would expect, smoke, tobacco and blackberry aromas are paired with soft tannins and good density of material. The wine leaves a lasting impression of sweet dark berries and freshness.

      93 points - Tasted
    2. Coffee bean, oak, olives, blackberries and bitter chocolate, the wine is soft, ripe and round, but there is a dusty quality to the tannins in the finish of this blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon and 34% Merlot.

      93 points - Tasted
    3. Licorice, black cherry, mint and coffee bean scents open to a supple, polished, fresh, medium bodied, round, chocolate covered cherry wine.

      92 points - Tasted
  14. 2009 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. Silky, polished and long, with velvety, soft tannins, opulent textures and sweet blackberries on the end note that really linger. This is only going to better with more time in the bottle. This is a very good wine, in a great style that still sells for a fair price.

      94 points - Tasted
    2. Truffle, mint, coffee, tobacco, jammy blackberry and subtle vanilla scents lead to a polished, fleshy, fresh, sweet, cocoa and boysenberry filled wine.

      93 points - Tasted
    3. It’s always nice to be surprised when you discover a wine has turned out much better than you originally anticipated. This delicious Margaux offers licorice, earth, cassis, spice and truffles, With rich supple textures, concentrated layers of juicy, ripe, dark berries and freshness, this Bordeaux wine is a winner!

      93 points - Tasted
  15. 2008 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. Charming, finesse style of Bordeaux. Medium bodied, soft, elegant, fresh and forward, this drinks well now, and will get better with age.

      91 points - Tasted
    2. Sweet, polished and structured, medium bodied, with an olive and plum finish that has some dryness to the tannins on the back end.

      89 points - Tasted
    3. Coffee, tobacco, stewed fruit and cassis in the nose. With some dryness in the tannins, the wine ends with black cherry, herbs and coffee.

      88 points - Tasted
    4. Espresso bean, licorice, flowers and black cherry aromas, medium body and soft textures are found in this wine, which ends with a vanilla, red and black plum finish. This will drink well young.

      89 points - Tasted
  16. 2007 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. Earth, truffle, dark red fruits and tobacco. Still showing nice color for the vintage, there is sweet and tart fruit, the wine is medium/full bodied, soft textured, and ends with a slightly dry, uncomplicated, fruity finish.

      89 points - Tasted
  17. 2006 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. Forest floor and tobacco coupled with blackberries are found in the nose. The wine is fresh, medium/full bodied and finishes with a crisp cassis note, coupled with an herbal streak. The wine was made from a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot and was aged in 60% new, French oak barrels. Only 30% of the harvest was used in the Grand Vin.

      90 points - Tasted
    2. Blackberries, coffee bean, cassis, earth, blueberry and tobacco aromas lead to a medium/full bodied charming, supple style of Margaux wine that finishes with a round, ripe, chocolate, plum finish. Give it a few more years to develop additional layers of complexity.

      90 points - Tasted
  18. 2005 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. With coaxing you find the truffle, cigar box, cassis and forest floor aromatics. More interesting on the nose than the palate, the wine is full bodied, tannic and fresh, with a fine, dusty texture in the crisp finish. Give it another 5 years to soften and come together and this could be even better. Over the past few years, the estate has clearly upped their game.

      89 points - Tasted
    2. Lean, simple, medium bodied and a bit oaky. This was the last vintage made by the previous owners. Starting with the 2006, there is a marked improvement in the wine, along with a commitment to ratchet up the quality for future vintages.

      88 points - Tasted
  19. 2004 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. Fully mature, this medium bodied wine serves up more secondary notes of tobacco and wet forest floor than red fruit.

      87 points - Tasted
  20. 2000 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. Cassis, blackberries, spice, mocha, tobacco and earthy aromas lead to a medium bodied, soft textured Margaux wine that ends with a plum, cherry and cassis filled finish.

      90 points - Tasted
  21. 1961 Château Cantenac Brown ( Margaux)

    1. Tired, with more tannin than fruit, the wine offers a mostly secondary tasting experience of tobacco, earth, truffle, cigar box, cedar and light, red berries. Drink up as this is not going to get better with age.

      85 points - Tasted