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 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
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.
Apr 29, 2017points - Tasted 1106 Views
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.
Apr 29, 2017points - Tasted 428 Views
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.
Jul 12, 2017points - Tasted 1459 Views
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
Apr 29, 2016points - Tasted 2211 Views
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.
Apr 29, 2016points - Tasted 1241 Views
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
Apr 21, 2016points - Tasted 1178 Views
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.
Feb 4, 2017points - Tasted 2091 Views
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
Apr 22, 2015points - Tasted 2181 Views
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
Apr 22, 2015points - Tasted 1174 Views
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
Apr 20, 2014points - Tasted 1113 Views
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.
Feb 11, 2016points - Tasted 2013 Views
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
Apr 20, 2014points - Tasted 2516 Views
Earthy, tobacco, fresh, bright, crisp, cassis and dark cocoa, with a tannic, energetic, smooth finish.
May 15, 2015points - Tasted 4094 Views
Soft textured, with sweet cherries, floral notes, plum and earth, the wine ends with a mélange of red and black fruits. 90-93 Pts
Apr 25, 2013points - Tasted 4207 Views
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.
Feb 17, 2014points - Tasted 3519 Views
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
Apr 19, 2012points - Tasted 2253 Views
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
Apr 19, 2012points - Tasted 1566 Views
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.
May 17, 2014points - Tasted 3593 Views
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.
Feb 13, 2013points - Tasted 4931 Views
Licorice, black cherry, mint and coffee bean scents open to a supple, polished, fresh, medium bodied, round, chocolate covered cherry wine.
May 1, 2012points - Tasted 4170 Views
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.
May 17, 2014points - Tasted 3334 Views
Truffle, mint, coffee, tobacco, jammy blackberry and subtle vanilla scents lead to a polished, fleshy, fresh, sweet, cocoa and boysenberry filled wine.
May 1, 2012points - Tasted 6141 Views
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!
Feb 2, 2012points - Tasted 6284 Views
Charming, finesse style of Bordeaux. Medium bodied, soft, elegant, fresh and forward, this drinks well now, and will get better with age.
Oct 5, 2014points - Tasted 4248 Views
Sweet, polished and structured, medium bodied, with an olive and plum finish that has some dryness to the tannins on the back end.
May 17, 2014points - Tasted 4672 Views
Coffee, tobacco, stewed fruit and cassis in the nose. With some dryness in the tannins, the wine ends with black cherry, herbs and coffee.
May 1, 2012points - Tasted 4045 Views
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.
Oct 18, 2011points - Tasted 4311 Views
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.
Mar 21, 2017points - Tasted 914 Views
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.
May 25, 2016points - Tasted 2511 Views
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.
Nov 16, 2011points - Tasted 4405 Views
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.
Jun 28, 2015points - Tasted 2572 Views
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.
Dec 20, 2011points - Tasted 5801 Views
Fully mature, this medium bodied wine serves up more secondary notes of tobacco and wet forest floor than red fruit.
Jan 4, 2015points - Tasted 2262 Views
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.
Aug 22, 2011points - Tasted 6060 Views
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.
Apr 1, 2017points - Tasted 749 Views