The core of this red is loaded with pure plum, blueberry and black currant fruit flavors. The polished structure is integrated, with alluring ganache, anise and sweet tobacco notes throughout, all in a polished and balanced frame. A very classy red that isn't shy about its power but pushes its purity to the fore. Best from 2024 through 2039. (JM)
The best vintage of this wine since 2009! Effusive, fresh redcurrant and cassis aromas give this St.-Julien terrific drive and energy, the elegant, dry tannins beautifully married to the medium body, right through the long, agile finish. Drink or hold.
The estate, at the southern end of Saint-Julien, has produced a wine that is both structured and stylish. This bold, ripe wine shows opulent black fruits and generous tannins. Juicy and structured, it has good aging potential. Drink from 2025. *Cellar Selection* (RV)
You can immediately see the quality and the depth of the 2016 vintage in the complexity of the expression and construction. Bottled in early July, extremely rich and full of black brambly hawthorn-edged fruits. The quality of the tannins is extremely impressive, there are lots of them, and they build over the course of the palate, but they are not constraining, and have a fine texture. After five minutes in the glass the blackcurrant fruit starts to come out. The tannins close in again on the finish, suggesting there is a long life ahead. A vintage that is so good for St Julien, not to be missed. (JA)
The 2016 Branaire-Ducru is a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc picked from 28 September until 19 October at 50 hectoliters per hectare, one of the longest harvest periods at the estate. The nose is quite intense with black fruit infused with pencil shaving and a touch of tobacco, unashamedly classic in style, a little distant compared to some other Saint Juliens but undeniably well defined and full of character. The palate is structured and masculine, exerting a firm grip in the mouth, spicier than its peers with cracked black pepper complementing the black fruit, tobacco and smoke towards the structured finish. There is great length here, very persistent in the mouth, a little "rougher" in texture than others, but that will be smoothed out during élevage and in bottle. Give this Branaire-Ducru five or six years in bottle because it has great potential, one of the best produced at the estate in recent years. (NB This sample was taken from a new barrel, though the final blend will be 60%.) (NM)
The 2016 Branaire-Ducru is powerful, dense and explosive to a degree that is surprising for a wine that is typically much more sensual. There is lovely definition throughout, but readers will have to be patient to catch the 2016 at its very best. Hints of leather, smoke, tobacco and dried flowers begin to open up in the glass, but the 2016 is quite reticent at this stage. In two tastings I found the 2016 unusually closed. Needless to say, it will be interesting to see what time brings. (AG) 93+
Concentrated purplish crimson. Intensity and a real St-Julien edge and balance to this wine on the nose. Juicy and polished. Lively and transparent. Great texture and future. 17/20 points. (JR)
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