Chateau Branaire Ducru Saint Julien 2021
|France, Bordeaux, St. Julien
|Chateau Branaire Ducru
En Primeur / Futures / arrives 2024
A very pretty wine, showing blackberry and blackcurrant aromas with crushed stone. Medium to full body with layers of fine-grained tannins. Bright and refined. Lots of dark fruit at the end. Solid weight.
The 2021 Branaire-Ducru is sleek, elegant and nuanced. There is more Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in the blend than in the 2018-2020 period, when the Merlots were especially successful. As a result, the aromatics are absolutely alluring, but the wine is much less forthcoming on the palate. At 12.9% alcohol, the 2021 is a classically austere Branaire that looks like it will need quite a bit of time to blossom. It is undoubtedly a very pretty wine, even if not fully expressive at this stage. Dark cherry, plum, chocolate, leather and rose petal linger. Tasted three times.
Having tasted the 2021 Branaire-Ducru six times over the course of a month and a half, I feel confident in saying that it is a beautiful wine that numbers among the vintage's real successes. Offering up aromas of raspberry coulis and red cherries mingled with notions of rose petals, cigar box and spices, it's medium to full-bodied, ample and seamless, with a layered core of fruit, lively acids and beautifully powdery tannins. Why is it quite so good? It isn't because a lot of wine was declassified, as around 60% of the estate's production went into the grand vin this year—a touch more than average. Rather, the key factors seem to be waiting to pick despite an alarming weather forecast; the blend itself, which emphasizes ripe Cabernet and the estate's later-ripening Merlot on clay-limestone soils; and the fact that a partially completed new winery means that Branaire already had fully 63 fermentation vats at its disposal to pick and vinify parcel by parcel. The exact composition is 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
The Wine Independent
Made from 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 6.5% Cabernet Franc, and 5.5% Petit Verdot, the 2021 Branaire-Ducru is deep garnet-purple in color. It comes bounding out of the glass with bold scents of warm cassis, blackberry preserves, and ripe black plums, followed by hints of camphor, violets, black truffles, and tapenade, with a waft of wood smoke. Light to medium-bodied, the palate delivers impressive intensity with firm, fine-grained tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long with a mineral lift.
Bright red and blue fruits, violets, and floral notes define the bouquet of the 2021 Château Branaire-Ducru, a medium-bodied, nicely balanced, elegant Saint-Julien. It has nicely integrated background oak, plenty of mid-palate depth, and the balance and length to shine for two decades. It's incredibly well done and should end up being an outstanding wine.