Chateau Branaire Ducru St. Julien Bordeaux, Complete Guide

Branaire Chateau

Learn everything about Chateau Branaire Ducru St. Julien, Fourth Growth 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 Branaire Ducru, History and Overview

Chateau Branaire Ducru has a long history that goes all the way back to 1680. In those early days in Saint Julien, Branaire Ducru was a part of the massive Beychevelle estate. When the owner of Beychevelle passed away, he left behind a huge Bordeaux vineyard that was seriously in debt.

To pay the bills, the vineyard was broken up and sold to pay their debts. Several new estates were created in Saint Julien including Chateau Branaire Ducru.

The owner who founded Branaire Ducru was Jean-Baptiste Braneyre. He created the estate in 1680. As was the traditional custom of the day in Bordeaux, the owner gave the estate his name, which is where the first part of the property’s name came from.

Braneyre was later altered to Branaire. Braneyre bought the land of what we know as Branaire Ducru because of the terroir. He understood that Cabernet Sauvignon grew best on the deep gravel soils found in the Medoc.

Now, we have the birth of Branaire Ducru. Or, at least the Branaire part. The formal middle name was gained through marriage. Marie Braneyre married Pierre de Luc which as you can guess, gave us the Branaire Duluc. almost 100 years later, the first winery at the property was constructed.

In 1824, the grand chateau that is still in use today was built. It took almost 200 years for the Ducru portion of the wine’s name to make its way to the label. In 1875, with no direct descendants, Gustave Ducru, a more distant relative took over the property adding his name to the label, which gave us Chateau Branaire Ducru.

Patrick Maroteaux Branaire Ducru Clouds

Chateau Branaire Ducru, The Modern Age

Patrick Maroteaux bought Branaire Ducru in 1988 from the Tapie family who owned Chateau Branaire Ducru since 1919. Prior to his arrival at Branaire Ducru, Patrick Maroteaux had no prior experience in the wine business.

His background was first in banking and next as the president of the massive sugar company, Eurosucre. Patrick Maroteaux also served as the President of the UGCB, Union of Grand Crus Bordeaux, and as the President of the Saint Julien appellation.

Since his purchase, Patrick Maroteaux has focused much of his efforts on performing extensive work in the vineyards and in the cellars of Branaire Ducru. He also quickly began reducing the yields. He also increased the size of their vineyards by 10 hectares. Patrick was also interested in modernizing their winemaking techniques.

In fact, Patrick Maroteaux was one of the first producers in the Left Bank to fill its tanks entirely by gravity. He did this starting with the 1991 vintage. At the time, this was done with the help of the young Philippe Dhalluin.

Philippe Dhalluin left Branaire Ducru in 2004 and took over the same position as the director for winemaking at Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Pauillac. Philippe Dhalluin was replaced by the young, talented, Jean Dominique Videau.

Chateau Branaire Ducru is a family business. The son of Patrick Maroteaux, François Xavier Maroteaux followed in his footsteps and joined the estate. Sadly, November 19, 2017, Patrick Maroteaux passed away at the age of 67. His son, François Xavier Maroteaux took over the full-time responsibilities of managing the property.

All the new, technical improvements at Branaire Ducru quickly paid off for Patrick Maroteaux. Starting with the 2000 vintage, Branaire Ducru became one of the top Saint Julien wines. It’s also one of the better values for high-quality Bordeaux in the marketplace today.


Chateau Branaire Ducru, Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The 60-hectare vineyard of Branaire Ducru is planted to 65% Cabernet-Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc. This represents a slight change in the Cabernet in the vineyard. In size, the vineyard remains close to what it was at the time of the 1855 Classification.

The terroir is deep gravel with clay soils. The peak elevation reaches up to 14 meters. The best terroir is located near the chateau, closest to the Gironde river.

They also have blocks placed further inland, with a small section of vines placed close to Chateau Lagrange and Chateau Talbot. The vineyard can be divided into 15 different blocks with 70 different parcels of vines. They have an additional parcel in the Haut Medoc appellation as well, which is not used in the Grand Vin.

On average, the vines are close to 35 years of age. But the estate has older vines as well. The oldest vines date back close to 90 years of age. The vineyard is planted to a vine density that ranges from 6,700 to 10,000 vines per hectare.

The higher levels of vine density are for the newer plantings. It is the goal of the property to continue increasing the vine density in all of their better terroir.

At Chateau Branaire Ducru, fermentation takes place in 28 temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks. The 28 vats vary in size. The vats range in size from as small as 30 hectoliters and go all the way up to 210 hectoliters. Each vat is sized for the needs of each specific vineyard parcel. Each vat is filled using a gravity-based system.

Alcoholic fermentation takes place at temperatures between 26 to 28 degrees Celsius. The average length of maceration lasts about 21 days. Malolactic fermentation takes place in tanks. The press wine is aged separately.

Branaire Ducru Cellars Vats

The wine of Chateau Branaire Ducru is aged in 60% to 65% new, French oak barrels for between 16-20 months. The amount of new oak varies depending on the quality, character, and style of the vintage.

On average, the production is slightly more than 25,000 cases of Branaire Ducru each year. There is a second wine, Duluc de Branaire Ducru.

The best vintages of Chateau Branaire Ducru are: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2006, 2005, 2003, 2000, 1989, 1982 and 1961.

Here is a bit of fun, Branaire Ducru trivia for you. In the short story “Taste,” written in 1953 by the famous author, Roald Dahl, in which two wine lovers are arguing about wine during a blind tasting, the wine they are discussing is Chateau Branaire Ducru!

The estate also owns 3.5 hectares of vines in the Haut Medoc appellation. The wine is made by the same team that produces Chateau Branaire Ducru. The wine is sold under the name of Haut Medoc de Branaire Ducru. There are also a few rare bottles of Branaire Ducru released during the 1960’s which consisted of multi-vintage blends, that are impossible to find today.

When to Drink Chateau Branaire Ducru, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Branaire Ducru can be enjoyed on the young side with decanting, due to its elegant, fresh character. 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.

Chateau Branaire Ducru is usually better with at least 8-10 years of bottle age. Of course, that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau Pibran offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 12-25 years of age after the vintage.

Serving Chateau Branaire Ducru with the Best Wine, Food, Pairing Tips

Chateau Branaire Ducru is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift.

Chateau Branaire Ducru is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised, stewed, and grilled dishes. Branaire Ducru is also good when served with Asian dishes, hearty seafood, or fish like tuna, mushrooms, pasta, and cheese.

Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru) Wine Tasting Notes

44 Vintages 647,699 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating

2021 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 93

Flowers and black raspberries with black and red currants open the wine in the nose. The wine is medium-bodied, fresh, sweet, juicy and pure. Classic in style, this is going to be approchable early, so you will be able to enjoy all the ripe, elegant, cherries, plums and peppery currants without a long wait. Yet, the wine will age for 2 decades ore more easily. The wine is a blend of 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 6.5% Cabernet Franc and 5.5% Petit Verdot, 13% ABV, 3.68 pH. The harvest took place September 24, finishing October 14. The yields were low at 32 hectoliters per hectare and from there, roughly 60% of the harvest was placed into the Grand Vin. Drink from 2024-2050. 92-94 93 Points

0 Views   Tasted
2020 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 94

Cedar, tobacco, red and black currants, mocha, spice and smoke come through loud and clear in the nose. Soft, silky and supple, the fresh red fruits are already quite expressive creating a refined, medium/full-bodied, silky, wine with purity, character and precision. This will drink well with 7--8 years of aging and will age and develop quite nicely. 93-95 Pts

2,327 Views   Tasted
2019 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 95

Opening with a strong sense of florality, the wine quickly moves to tobacco leaf, red currants, mocha and cassis on the nose. On the palate, the wine is elegant, fresh, soft and polished, with silky tannins and a palate filled with sweet, ripe, elegant, black plums and currants with a touch of cocoa at the end in the finish. This is a fabulous vintage for Branaire Ducru. Drink from 2027-2055. 95 Points

3,544 Views   Tasted

Tobacco, mocha, cassis, blackberry and flowers are what you initially notice. This is a sensuous, medium/full-bodied, silky, fresh and pure wine exuding sweet, ripe, black plums, juicy blackberry and cassis from start to finish. The lift in the endnote gives you ample time to enjoy all the purity in the fruit, which is just great. Produced from a blend of 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13.7% alcohol with a pH of 3.65. Harvesting took place September 19 to October 9. The Grand Vin was produced from 55% of the crop. 94-96 Pts

9,317 Views   Tasted
2018 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 95

Showing better from the bottle than in barrel, the wine is loaded with black and red berries, smoke, mocha, flowers and coffee bean. Elegant, refined, silky and fresh, the fruit offers this gorgeous sense of purity from the start continuing straight through to the vibrant, red berry packed finish. Fans of Branaire-Ducru should be all over this gem. The wine is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc. 95 Points

5,163 Views   Tasted
2018 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 94

Like a cushion cut ruby with its facets reflecting violet around the rim, the wine opens with a perfume of flowers and black raspberries and mocha, spice and tobacco leaf appear effortlessly. On the palate the wine is bright, fresh, silky and even creamy. The fruit shows a strong floral spirit that gracefully marries into the crème de cassis. The wine remains balanced and fresh with no touch of heat in the high-degree of ripeness. This will be among the best vintages of Branaire ever produced. The wine is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc, reaching 14.3% alcohol with a pH of 3.6. The Grand Vin was produced from 60% of the harvest and the picking took place from September 19 to October 10. 93-95 Pts

8,876 Views   Tasted
2018 Duluc de Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 90

Ready to drink on release, the wine is medium-bodied, elegant and charming, with a focus on its freshness, purity and soft tannins, finishing with sweet kirsch and dark cherry notes. 89-91 Pts

2,029 Views   Tasted
2017 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 93

On the fresh, lifted classic side, with good length, purity, elegance and polished tannins, the finish is clean, crisp and focused on this beautiful core of sweet, red fruits. 93 Points

4,119 Views   Tasted

Tobacco, cassis, flowers and a hint of mocha dance in the nose. On the palate, the medium-bodied wine is fresh, bright, sweet and soft. There is an extra bit of lift in the red fruits but the tannins are gentle enough to soften the brightness while adding structure and backbone for aging. Produced from a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 6.5% Petit Verdot and 4.5% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13.2% alcohol with a pH of 3.65. Harvesting took place September 13 to October 4. 93 Points

2,539 Views   Tasted
2016 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 95

The wine is all about its balance between the purity in the red fruits, depth of flavor, sweetness and length on the palate. The salty chalky finish, with all of its ripe, delicious red fruits shows well. Elegant, lively, silky and stylish, with nothing out of place, give this beauty 10-12 years of age and enjoy it over the next 2 decades after that. 95 Points

6,517 Views   Tasted

It is hard to say what worked better here, the soft, silky tannins, the freshness in the fruit, the purity in the berries or the elegant stylings. The cassis and boysenberry fruits make an impression on the nose and the palate. This should age for decades. 95 Points

6,316 Views   Tasted

Elegant, polished, bright, fresh and clean, with a purity of fruit that stands out. Everything here is in balance from the silky tannins to the sweetness in the bright, red fruits. The wine lingers and expands. 94 Points

7,836 Views   Tasted

Spicy boysenberry and sweet cassis with licorice and a kiss of oak on the nose, this wine displays elegance and a natural goodness of fruit. Oddly it gives the impression of fading in the mouth but it’s all an illusion as the essence rushes back in and lingers. Produced from a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13.49% alcohol with a pH of 3.59. Harvesting took place from September 28 to October 19, which is the latest as well as the longest harvest in the history of Branaire Ducru. 94 Points

7,230 Views   Tasted
2016 Duluc de Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 90

Medium-bodied, finesee styled, ready to drink charmer with a refined, soft, fresh, clean, red berry and tobacco leaf character that is going to be perfect to enjoy, while waiting for its big brother to mature. 90 Points

2,978 Views   Tasted
2015 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 95

Clearly on the right track. The wine is elegant, refined, fresh, pure, classy and classic. The tannins are soft with the right amount of polish, The juicy, sweet, red fruits offer lift, purity and persistence to this medium-bodied wine. As this ages, it it only going to get better and better. This bottle was opened in the name of science, to know where the wine is going. It is going to be a beauty of you can wait another 7-9 years to reach maturity. 95 Points

6,116 Views   Tasted

Blackberries, cassis, thyme, tobacco and cedar notes help define the nose. There is a sweetness and purity to the ripe red fruits that shine through. On the palate as the wine lingers, elements of juicy, blackberries poke through, giving you a melange of silky textured fruits in the finish. This is so soft, you can drink it now, but if you can wait 6-10 years, the wine will offer a much more interesting experience. 95 Points

4,521 Views   Tasted

The wine expresses its elegant, refined character with ease. There is a sweetness and purity to the deep red fruits. The added cedar, tobacco and floral elements are coupled with soft, silky tannins and a finish, that focuses on the fresh character of the fruit. 94 Points

3,941 Views   Tasted

Elegant and refined, with purity and freshness, the wine keeps getting better and should age quite nicely. 93 Points

3,669 Views   Tasted

Tobacco, cedar and plump red and black fruits start off the nose. Ripe, soft tannins, purity of fruit and perfect balance are the hallmarks of this wine. Clarity and sweetness of the fruit, the freshness and elegance with the ability to age make this a strong vintage for Branaire Ducru. Produced from a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 4% Cabernet Franc, this wine reached 13.3% alcohol with a pH of 3.64. The harvest took place from September 18 to October 4. 92 - 94 Pts

3,832 Views   Tasted
2014 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 92

Medium/full-bodied, classically styled wine packed with juicy, fresh, bright, crisp cassis, cedar and tobacco leaf. The wine is vibrant and fresh on the palate and in the finish. Early days here. Give this until 2024 before pulling a cork. 92 Points

3,910 Views   Tasted

Elegant, refined, fresh and with purity of fruit and ripe tannins, the fruit here is crisp, sweet, ripe and vibrant. 92 Points

4,125 Views   Tasted

With the blossoms of a black raspberry bramble with a quick sift of white pepper, mocha and earth in the perfume, this wine is all about its elegant tannins, the finesse, freshness and purity of the sweet black and crisp, spicy red fruits. Produced from a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. The wine reached 13.5% alcohol with a pH of 3.63. 92-93 Pts

4,265 Views   Tasted
2013 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 90

Elegant in style, with fresh, sweet, red fruits from start to finish. The wine is medium bodied, already open and drinking well, ending with a soft, likable, fresh cherry tinged finish. 90 Points

1,877 Views   Tasted

From blending 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, the wine reached 13% alcohol. The grapes were harvested between September 30 and October 15, and the wine is aging in 60% new French oak barrels. Garnet in color with a touch of vanilla, fresh herbs, spicy blackberry, smoke and floral notes. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied and offers bright red berries and fresh cassis, ending on a light, spicy fruit note. This should be accessible on release. 90-92 Pts

1,936 Views   Tasted
2012 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 91

Already showing some interesting secondary notes of tobacco, earth, black cherry and mocha in the nose, this medium bodied, feminine, fresh, soft textured wine can be enjoyed young, and it has the potential to age as well. 91 Points

3,155 Views   Tasted

From an assemblage of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. The wine reached 13.3% alcohol with a pH of 3.66. The wine will be aged in 60% new French oak. Ruby in color, the wine offers flowers, jammy raspberries, vanilla and earth. Medium bodied, fresh and dominated by sweet raspberries and cherry, this is an elegant Branaire Ducru to enjoy while waiting for the 2009 and 2010 to mature. 90-92 Pts

2,585 Views   Tasted
2011 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 91

Forward and fresh, with a medium bodied, open, black raspberry, earth, spice and espresso bean nose, the clean finish delivers an elegant, polished display of fresh dark cherries. You can drink this young, or age it for a few years. This is another wine that is better than you might think for the vintage. 91 Points

4,700 Views   Tasted

From an assemblage of 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.08% alcohol. Yields were about 10% lower in 2011 than what the estate produced in 2010. With mocha, black cherry, truffle, smoke and earthy aromas, this medium-bodied, soft-textured Branaire Ducru is dominated by cherries and finishes with a fresh, sweet chocolate and black raspberry finish. 91-93 Pts

3,375 Views   Tasted
2010 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 95

Young, fresh, vibrant and a bit tight, as you would expect, yet, it is hard not to notice the soft, ripe, smooth tannins, sweet, fresh, dark red fruits, concentration of flavor and the sense of purity in the finish. Give this another 5 years and it should be showing a lot of what it has to offer. 95 Points

6,993 Views   Tasted

Licorice, oak, truffle, black cherry and plum, soft tannins, round fruit and freshness in the finish. This is a contender for the best wine made at Branaire Ducru since Patrick Maroteaux bought the property in 1989. 94 Points

7,579 Views   Tasted

It's fun drinking these young wines. It's not close to mature, but it's not shut down either. The showy, tobacco, cigar box, blackberry and mocha aromas, coupled with soft, refined dark berries on the palate let you know this is going to be a treat in a decade or so when it matures. 94 Points

7,328 Views   Tasted

Deep ruby in color, the wine is filled with earth, tobacco, blackberry, mocha and anise. The wine is fresh, soft, polished and sweet, delivering, pure blackberry, black cherry with just a hint of truffle in the finish. With the ripe fruits and soft, tannins, the wine can be enjoyed young, yet it can age for two decades or more. According to the owner, Patrick Maroteaux, this is the best he's produced yet. 94 Points

11,569 Views   Tasted

Starting to shut down and tighten up, with coaxing, the wine offers fresh blackberries, earth, mocha and stone aromas. The tannins and polished, ripe and round. Medium/full bodied, Branaire Ducru is never about power, it's about finesse and elegance. This could be the best vintage for Branaire Ducru yet. At least that is what the owner Patrick Maroteaux suggests. It will be fun tasting this against the 2009 in the years to come. 94 Points

8,307 Views   Tasted

Floral, coffee, tobacco, mocha and blackberry notes lead to a powerful vintage for Branaire, with a beautiful sense of purity to the fruit, freshness and the structure to age and develop well. Patrick Maroteaux feels this blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23.5% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2.5% Cabernet Franc is the best vintage yet for his chateaux, he could be right. 94 Points

6,726 Views   Tasted

Flowers, bitter chocolate, smoke, blackberry and wet earth aromas open to a concentrated, tannic, fresh, sweet, ripe, concentrated, fresh, mocha and black cherry, supple textured finish. 95 Points

7,055 Views   Tasted

Sporting a deep ruby color, the smoke, boysenberry, blackberry, truffle, mocha scents form an enticing perfume. Polished, elegant, fresh and filled with deep, ripe, pure fruits. The wine is expansive and mouth filling, finishing with a long, boysenberry, cocoa and black cherry finish. This wine has improved since last tasted in April. This is the best vintage of Chateau Branaire Ducru that Patrick Maroteaux has made at the property. 94-95 Pts

7,546 Views   Tasted

Branaire Ducru From an assemblage of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23.5% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2.5% Cabernet Franc, (Similar to the 2009) the wine sports a deep ruby tint. Jammy black raspberry, spice and hints of toasty oak start off the perfume. In the mouth, fresh cassis, mocha, olives and spice combine with strong, ripe tannins, ending in a blackberry filled finish. The wine reached 13.8% alcohol, which is higher than they recorded in 2009. Due to the high level of acidity, there is no sensation of heat. According to the owner, Patrick Maroteaux, one of the keys to the success in 2010 is due to their new method of handling the press wine. This includes ageing the press wine in one year old barrels and utilizing more selection in the press wine. 40% of the press wine was allocated to the Grand Vin. The remainder was included in the second wine. 93-94 Pts

7,518 Views   Tasted
2010 Duluc de Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 88

Oak, fennel and cherry notes open to a forward, accessible, easy to like, black cherry flavored wine that will be best in its youth. 88 Points

4,209 Views   Tasted

Earthy black fruits and tobacco on the nose lead to a polished, bright, finish. This is a nice wine to seek out on restaurant wine lists. 87 Points

3,273 Views   Tasted
2009 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 95

Elegant, refined, fresh, pure and precise, the wine pops right from the initial sniff and sip. The freshness in the juicy sweet, ripe, earthy red fruits, with their cocoa accent hits the spot. And the long, polished, refined, silky, red berry finish just doesn't want to quit. While you can pop a cork now, I'd wait at least 3-5 years for the wine to fill out and really shine! 95 Points

7,890 Views   Tasted

Full bodied, and holding most of what it has in reserve, the wine has rich textures, ripe, elegant, pure fruits, balancing acidity and a long finish. Hang on to your bottles for at least another 5-6 years, as this is going to develop nicely. 94 Points

7,704 Views   Tasted

Young, as expected, but it's impossible not to enjoy all the fresh, sweet, ripe fruits, soft textures and the elegance, paired with freshness in the finish. A few hours in the decanter, or more cellar time will be amply rewarded. 94 Points

9,335 Views   Tasted

Young and full of promise, the wine is polished, plush and supple. The fruits are ripe, fresh, vibrant and spicy. 94 Points

9,057 Views   Tasted

This polished, sexy, silky wine delivers beautiful, fresh black and red fruits, spice, mocha, licorice and earth. Forward in style, this will have an incredibly long drinking window. 94 Points

11,127 Views   Tasted

Forest floor, earth, sweet ripe blackberry, plum, earth, cedar and tobacco scents get your attention with little effort. Soft, ripe, silky tannins, purity of fruit and concentration are the hallmarks of this wine. 95 Points

12,702 Views   Tasted

Blackberry, blueberry, licorice, caramel, smoke, spice and mocha. With soft, round, fleshy textures and ripe, silky tannins, the feels great on your palate. The best Branaire Ducru yet. But it might be surpassed by the 2010. We’ll have to wait and see. Regardless, it’s going to be fun to compare the two vintages over the next few decades. Branaire Ducru remains the best buy in St. Julien for its combination of price and quality. 94 Points

14,146 Views   Tasted

2009 Branaire Ducru is dark, with scents of boysenberry, dark chocolate, spice, cassis, and mocha. This elegant wine feels round in the mouth, finishing with flavors of licorice, black and blue fruit, and spice. This is a polished style of St. Julien. This outstanding wine is probably not going to reach the same level as the sublime 2005. Nonetheless, the 2009 Branaire Ducru is one of the better values for serious wine in 2009. 93-95 Pts

13,078 Views   Tasted
2008 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 92

Elegant, refined and subdued, it takes some coaxing before the wine begins to open and show off its mocha, earth, spice, tobacco, cigar wrapper and cassis filled charms. Give this another 5 years for the remaining tannins to soften and this will be an even better treat. If you cannot wait 5 years, 2 hours in the decanter will work. 92 Points

3,608 Views   Tasted

Cassis, cocoa powder, chocolate, earth and cinnamon make up the intriguing perfume. Elegant, supple and already approachable, the wine ends with a strong, sweet cassis and spice filled finish. 93 Points

9,118 Views   Tasted

08 Château Branaire Ducru consists of 68% cabernet sauvignon, 25% merlot, 5% cabernet franc, and 2% petit verdot. Deep ruby with hints of purple at the rim, the wine features a delicate perfume of boysenberry, tobacco, mocha, and earth. Elegantly styled with ripe tannins, and softly textured, the wine finishes with polished, blackberry flavors. 91-94 Pts

7,145 Views   Tasted
2007 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 89

Elegant, soft textured, medium bodied and fully mature, the wine offers a nice mix of tobacco, wet earth and red fruits with a dash of spice box. Successful for the vintage, this is not a wine to hold for further development. 89 Points

3,213 Views   Tasted
2006 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 92

Showing signs of maturity in the color, tobacco, cedar wood, red and black fruits, this is starting to show well. Yet, there are still tannins to be resolved. The elegance associated with the chateau is clearly evident, but the tannic structure is still in forefront. Give this another 5 years in the cellar, or a few hours in the decanter. 92 Points

4,134 Views   Tasted

Spice, mocha, coffee, anise, caramel and cassis aromatcs were easy to locate. This tanninc, full bodied wine ends with a long, chocolate, blackberry filled finish. 92 Points

9,524 Views   Tasted
2005 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 94

This continues improving with each tasting. The tannins have softened and now you find an elegant, soft, refined, and silky wine with all the cassis, red currant, tobacco leaf, mocha, and cedar you could ask for. The finish is bright, fresh, and lifted, with ample sweet, mildly spicy, ripe, red fruits. Give this beauty 60-90 minutes of air before service. 94 Points

5,194 Views   Tasted

Between 60-90 minutes of air brought out the soft, silky tannins, nuances of tobacco, cassis, blackberry, spice and wet earth. Elegant, fresh and refined, this is coming on strong. Another few years in the cellar and this promises to be even better! 94 Points

6,502 Views   Tasted

Opened in honor of Patrick Maroteaux, who passed away, November 19. Still showing a nice depth of color, the wine offers cassis, cedar, thyme, smoke, and spice on the nose. Decanted for 1 hour, and enjoyed over the next 90 minutes, the wine continued improving and filling out with time. Freshness meshed with sweet, juicy ripe cassis and a beautiful purity of fruit on the palate. There is still a bit of firm tannins remaining, that will continue softening with time. Give this another 5 years and it could merit a better score. 93 Points

7,728 Views   Tasted

Still young, it's easy to see how much this has to offer. The nose is starting to develop secondary characteristics, the tannins are beginning to soften and the textures continue adding more silk in the mouth. Give it another 3-5 years and this should be even better. 93 Points

6,610 Views   Tasted

Cedar wood, flowers, tobacco and dark red fruits are hidden and require coaxing in the nose. On the palate, the wine is silky, elegant and fresh. This is still quite young and shows a lot of promise. The wine is however, clearly letting you know, there is a nice future ahead if you give it another 3-5 years of bottle age. 93 Points

7,424 Views   Tasted

Absolutely charming and surprisingly open with its tobacco, cassis, coffee bean, licorice, blackberry, earth and cocoa scents nose. Silky and polished on the palate, there is a lot of room for improvement as it's still a very young wine. 94 Points

10,657 Views   Tasted

Tobacco, earth, cigar box, black cherry aromas lead to a wine that is on a more rapid path of development than anticipated. While not mature, this polished, rich style of Branaire Ducru is already starting to be fun to drink. I’m holding mine, but to quote the owner, Patrick Maroteaux, "It’s still young, but it would not be criminal to have it at a dinner now.” 94 Points

11,756 Views   Tasted

Deep ruby in color, this wine opened with tobacco, smoke, earth, fresh berries, soil and forest scents. Concentrated with ample fresh fruit, coupled with a solid structure, this has the potential to bome one of the longest lived vintages of Branaire Ducru. The round textured wine ends with fresh berries, cassis and spice. I'm waiting another 5 years before opening my case. 94 Points

17,107 Views   Tasted

You can smell, taste and feel the perfectly ripe fruit this wine is made from. Add a kiss of blackberry and cassis, sweet oak and mocha and you're off to the races. This full bodied wine offers a juicy mouth full of Cabernet. Elegant tannins, concentration and depth of flavor keeps everything in balance. This is without a doubt the best Branaire Ducru ever made. Give it 12 years in the cellar, if you can keep your hands off it. 95 Points

11,688 Views   Tasted

Plush, stylish, balanced and charming. Packed with elegant, ripe, black fruit, mocha and spice. I like this better than their 2003. 94 Points

6,002 Views   Tasted
2004 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 90

Straddling the edges between classic, firm and elegant, the wine is medium bodied, and restrained, with a strong, cedar and leafy component that completes with the tobacco, red berries and spice on the nose and palate. 1-2 hours of air adds to the wine. 90 Points

4,559 Views   Tasted

Fresh, elegant, polished and focused on the sweet, ripe, red fruit side of the style range. There is enough ripe berries, earth, mocha and cherries to keep you interested as the wine remains in your glass. 90 Points

4,053 Views   Tasted

Earth, spice, cassis, truffles and tobacco define the wines aromatics. This elegant wine is already open and will offer pleasure for another decade or more. 90 Points

10,280 Views   Tasted

This is already showing some lightening at the edges. Scents of jammy dark berries, spice and chocolate tints come forth with only a bit of swirling. The style has more firmness than 03 or 05. The finish shows a hint of under ripeness from the vintage. This is a Branaire to enjoy today and over the next decade. 90 Points

5,705 Views   Tasted
2003 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 94

An hour of air and the wine truly blossomed. Texturally, the wine was supple and fresh. The fruit was perfectly ripe, the flavors were bold and finish offered the right mix of purity, pleasure, length and style. This is drinking really well today. If you've been sitting on your bottles, now is a good time to pop a cork. 94 Points

3,992 Views   Tasted

A fully developed nose shows tobacco, cigar box, cassis, earth and blackberries on the nose. There is a little grain in the tannins that takes just a bit away from the deep layers of black cherry fruit. Still, this is a very good wine. 93 Points

5,673 Views   Tasted

Tobacco, spearmint, spice, cassis and earthy notes are the first thing that hits you. On the palate, the wine is silky, plush and round. There is good sweetness to the soft, polished black cherry core of fruit. This is drinking great today. While there is no hurry to drink it, if you have a bottle, pop a cork. 93 Points

6,773 Views   Tasted

As this continues to approach its 10th birthday, it just keeps getting better and better. With 20 minutes of decanting, truffles, cocoa, black raspberry, earth and spice too no effort to find. Soft, lush textures and a fresh, lush, plummy, spice and mocha finish were just what the doctor ordered. If you are sitting on a case, do not wait, pop a bottle. If you want to age it, it's only going to improve from here. 94 Points

8,487 Views   Tasted

Another great performance from this wine. Inch by inch, or should I say, sip by sip, it keeps adding subtle nuances and more silk to the texture along with licorice, cassis, earth and fresh blackberry. While not mature, with 30 minutes to an hour of air, this is a lot of fun to drink. 94 Points

9,668 Views   Tasted

Truffle, earth, black cherry jam, licorice, mocha and chocolate scents lead to a plush, polished, sexy, forward wine that is a lot of fun to drink today and over the next 15 or more years. 94 Points

9,520 Views   Tasted

Truffle, jammy cassis, strawberry pie, cedar, tobacco, smoke and spice fill out the perfume. Full bodied, round and opulent in texture, this sultry St. Julien ends with a cassis, licorice and coffee flavored finish. 2-3 more years of sleep, will add a lot to this wine. 94 Points

8,986 Views   Tasted

This wine sports a very deep ruby color. Dark black fruit flavors mark the perfumes core. The plush, round mouth feel, complicated with ripe blackberry and spicy red fruit accents in this finish turn this wine into a tasty treat for the senses. 93 Points

5,579 Views   Tasted

Sweet entry with a spicy, black fruit nose that finishes with clean, chocolate covered cherry and cassis flavors. This feels very fresh and clean. The finish lasts almost forty seconds. 93 Points

5,307 Views   Tasted
2002 Château Branaire-Ducru  (St. Julien) 90

Developing nicely, but there is a touch of green along with the blackberry, cassis, black cherry, earth and tobacco notes. At 10 years of age, this medium/full bodied wine with a slight hint of austerity in its normally elegant personality is starting to drink well. 90 Points

3,654 Views   Tasted
2001 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 90

Charming, elegant, classic, full mature, medium bodied claret, with balance, soft textures, refined tannins and more red than black fruit. This is drinking great today. No hurry to drink it, but no reason to wait either. 90 Points

4,169 Views   Tasted

Mushroom, cassis, mocha, tobacco and smoke make up the aromatics. This elegant, round, open style of Branaire that finishes with black cherry flavors is a pleasure to drink. And the best part is, not only does the wine show well today, it's available for a song! 90 Points

7,975 Views   Tasted
2000 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 93

Clearly, this has entered its prime-time drinking window. Medium-bodied, elegant, soft, and refined, with a nice shot of red currants, black cherry, forest floor, cigar box, cedar, and mocha, the graceful finish feels just great. 93 Points

2,916 Views   Tasted

Elegance, freshness, ripe fruits and soft, silky tannins bring this right where it needs to be at 16 years of age. With its classic Left Bank Bordeaux personality, the wine is filled with cedar, tobacco, blackberry and cassis, ending with a nice refined quality to the dark red fruits. This wine will easily remain at this level for another 10 or perhaps 20 more years. 93 Points

4,916 Views   Tasted

Truffle, tobacco, smoke, cigar box and cassis are found in the nose. Polished, round and filled with juicy, red and black fruits, with ripe tannins, give this another few years and enjoy it for at least 15-20 more years. 93 Points

9,477 Views   Tasted

The easy to find aromatics offer chocolate covered, black fruit and spice. Similar in weight to the 03, but different in style, this finesse filled St. Julien needs a few more years until its ready for prime time drinking. 93 Points

5,231 Views   Tasted
1999 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 88

Fully mature, medium-bodied, soft, bright and with a lean to the cool, red cherry side of the style range. There is ample cedar and tobacco leaf to add complexities. 88 Points

2,447 Views   Tasted
1998 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 91

Medium-bodied, fresh, bright and floral, the wine carries its core of sweet, clean and slightly crisp, soft red berries with ease. The cedar, tobacco, sweet and tart red fruits with their hint of mocha really hit the spot. The wine is fully ready to go. 91 Points

3,898 Views   Tasted
1996 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 91

Tobacco, cigar box, cassis, mocha and cedar wood scents lead to a mature, soft, round wine with a fresh, sweet cassis and earthy finish. 91 Points

3,831 Views   Tasted

Ruby colored with hints of bricking, this tobacco laden wine also offers coffee, smoke, cassis, dark berries and spice scents. Soft, elegant, approachable and round, this mature Branaire Ducru ends with soft textured dark berries and mocha flavors. 92 Points

5,902 Views   Tasted
1995 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 91

Avoiding the hardness displayed by many wines from 1995, this is drinking great at 21 years of age. Slightly more interesting on the cedar, tobacco and spicy, dark, red fruit filled nose, than the medium/full bodied, eleganty styled, soft, fresh, cassis finish. 91 Points

3,905 Views   Tasted
1990 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 88

This is fully mature. With a light berry and spice nose, this medium bodied wine does not compete with the level of quality being produced at the property today. As a matter of style, this traditionally made wine is slightly austere and lacks the freshness, as well as the ripeness and deoth offered in current vintages from 2000 on. Drink up. 88 Points

2,984 Views   Tasted
1989 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 91

A beautiful bottle at full maturity, the wine is soft, medium bodied, elegant and fresh. The ripe, red fruit notes are front and center. The lively finish is soft, polished, refined and complete, with its earthy, tobacco leaf and cocoa touches. There is nothing to be gained by holding this any longer. 91 Points

3,966 Views   Tasted

Slightly past fully mature, the wine is medium bodied, with more interesting things going on in the nose, than on the palate, as the fruit is starting to fade, and the finish is short. Drink up if you have any bottles you've been waiting on. 87 Points

5,494 Views   Tasted

Light in style, tobacco and strawberry notes lead to a light wine which seems to be dropping its fruit. Drink up. 86 Points

3,695 Views   Tasted

Is light in color. Tobacco, cassis, spice, and coffee aromatics are a pleasure to sniff. Light and elegant in style. The silky mouth feel ends with a blackberry filled finish. This wine is fully mature and gives no reason for owners to wait any longer. Branaire Ducru is another property that is producing markedly better wines today than previously 90 Points

5,964 Views   Tasted
1989 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru) Cuvée Evelyne  (St. Julien) 87

This unique cuvee was named after the owner’s wife and was made from 100% Merlot. This experimental wine produced only one barrel giving 25 cases . This was the second vintage for the owner, Patrick Maroteaux, who began picking the Merlot on August 31. The wine was made using 100% new oak, while the regular wine saw 60% new oak. The wine showed coffee, black fruit, mocha, and plum aromatics. The wine finished with a velvety, blackberry and chocolate sensation. Not as complete or complex as the fully blended wine, it was a pleasure to taste 87 Points

1,635 Views   Tasted
1985 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 89

Fully mature, there is an elegant charm going on here. Loads of tobacco, cedar wood, cassis and wet earth in the nose. Soft, silky elegant tannins and fresh, sweet, red fruits in the finish. This is not a wine to hold as it is giving all its pleasures today. 89 Points

3,906 Views   Tasted
1982 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 92

My last bottle of this gem. Medium-bodied, elegant and showing its secondary cedar, tobacco leaf, cherry, spice, cranberry and cigar box character with ease. Classic and classy, this is about elegance over power. Popped and poured, this is at or slightly past its peak. If you are holding any, you should enjoy it over the next couple of years before it fades away. 92 Points

3,535 Views   Tasted

Medium bodied, elegant, charming and fully mature, if not slightly past its best days, there is still a lot to like going on here with its fresh, soft, silky charms. I would not hold this any longer as it requires drinking sooner than later. 90 Points

4,350 Views   Tasted

Fully mature and just starting to fade a bit. Still, there is a lot of charm in this medium bodied wine its ripe dark cherry, tobacco, spice and earthy personality. Elegant and refined in character, there is no reason to hold this wine any longer. 90 Points

4,445 Views   Tasted
1975 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 90

Fully developed, medium bodied with loads of cedar, forest floor, tobacco, cigar wrapper and spicy red fruits. Fully mature, but not as rustic as you would think, given the vintage, this was still holding on to its charm. 90 Points

3,157 Views   Tasted
1970 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 89

A flawless example from the cellars of Branaire, this bottle of 1970 Branaire Ducru opened with tobacco, truffle, cassis, cedar, coffee and spice filled aromatics. Medium to full bodied, soft in texture, the wine ends with cassis, spice, strawberry and cherry flavors to round out the finish. 90 Pts

4,794 Views   Tasted
1966 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 90

Starting to slowly decline, the wine offers more secondary notes than red fruit. Medium bodied, with a finish that is just a bit too bright and sharp, if you are sitting on any bottles, you should pop a cork sooner than later. 90 Points

3,112 Views   Tasted

At 5 years of age, this smoky, tobacco, cedar, wet forest and cherry filled wine is still delivering the goods. Medium bodied, and on the finesse side of the style range, this bottle was a flawless example that was not moved from the property since it was bottled. 90 Points

3,405 Views   Tasted

This wine displays a rusty, coffee color appearance, making it seem older than it is. The perfume, with its leather, earth, tobacco and truffle nose, paisr perfectly with the silken patina of age found in the mouth. Tasting younger that its 42 years of age would lead you to believe, it was a pleasant surprise proving that after 20 years, there are no great wines, but there is great bottles to be found! 90 Points

4,790 Views   Tasted
1962 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 75

With a tea color, tobacco, earth and hints of spicy red berries were found in the perfume. Showing the patina of age, the wine was tired. Rustic and tart, this Bordeaux wine is in decline and requires drinking now. 75 Points

3,754 Views   Tasted
1961 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 91

Tobacco and cedar, paired with ripe, sweet, red fruits and cigar box, held up nicely. Medium bodied, vibrant, and just a hint of classic rusticity on the palate, this is fully mature. 91 Points

2,328 Views   Tasted

Brick colored with hints of ruby, this fully mature wine had scents of cassis, Cuban tobacco, ash, cedar, earth and forest floor aromas. Light in style, this round, traditionally styled wine has good concentration and round textures. It finishes with cassis and spice flavors. This is the oldest bottle of Branaire Ducru I have tasted yet. While I won't be around to experience the current vintages being made at the same level of maturity, others will. If the 61, produced with no selection or new oak was this good at close to 50 years old, I'm sure the current vintages will be even better when they reach the same age! 90 Points

2,825 Views   Tasted
1959 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 92

Tasted from a bottle that was never moved from the chateau. With a ruby tea color, the wine opens with charming perfume of truffle, tobacco, smoke, coffee, minerals and cinnamon. Soft textured, with the satiny patina of aged Cabernet, this elegant, round wine ends with chocolate covered cherries and spice. 92 Points

5,094 Views   Tasted
1949 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 91

From a magnum, the bottle was a slow starter. With an hour in the glass, the silky, polished textures matched the elegance of the fruit, tannins and polished, ripe, spicy red berries and tobacco charm. 91 Points

2,378 Views   Tasted

With scents of cigar smoke, cherry, tobacco, ash, 5 spice, cherry pipe tobacco, mineral and earth, the palate enjoys sweet, soft, polished, fully mature Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium bodied, gentle textures and pure cherry/kirsch flavors are found in the finish. From a bottle that never left Bordeaux, this was a rare treat! 91 Points

2,946 Views   Tasted

This wore a rusty, coffee colored robe. The perfume had a very nice nose, but the palate was short. This was not a complex wine. However, it tasted much younger than its 58 years would have led you to believe. It was a rare treat to taste that I was honored to have been able to try. 83 Points

2,888 Views   Tasted
1934 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 83

This was stored in the Chateau for its entire life. Provenance does not get any better. The wine was much lighter in color than the 34 Lafite from the same lunch. The lighter color also expressed much brighter fruit. Spicy, red and black fruits and tobacco notes were easy to find. But this bottle had lost much of its fruit and charm and was showing marked levels of acidity. Sharing the wine my father and Patrick Maroteaux, the Chateau owner was worth its weight in gold. The moment will never be forgotten. 83 Points

4,807 Views   Tasted
1928 Château Branaire (Duluc-Ducru)  (St. Julien) 95

This was stunning! Blind, I am sure I would have guessed it was from the 50's or probably 1961. There was volume, density, length and vivacity. The fruit was all dark berries. The nose offered everything from rootbeer, to forest floor, cedar wood, smoke, ash, dark red berries, truffle and cigar box. Every sip was better than expected. The wine remained at a high level for at least an hour in the glass. This was from the chateau, so your experience might not mirror this, but this bottle was a stunner! 95 Points

3,194 Views   Tasted