The 1979 Brane-Cantenac is a wine that was disparaged in some influential quarters, but it's a gem. It is clearly the best wine of this era, a vintage that actually favored the Margaux. It has an appealing tobacco, blackberry and brine bouquet that is not complex, yet still demonstrates satisfactory vigor. The palate is balanced but vigorous, old-fashioned yet charming, featuring mint-tinged black fruit mixed with tobacco and graphite. There is much more presence here than the 1978 or 1981. This is, dare I suggest, an insider's Brane-Cantenac that you should leap upon if you spot a bottle, as I did when I found this in a shop in Beaune. Tasted at the Brane-Cantenac vertical at the château. (NM)
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