In the glass, the Château Branaire-Ducru 2010 has a dense, inky blue color, with a deep heart of cordovan, and flashes of crimson at the edge. Aromas of blackberries, crème de cassis, and freshly sanded cedar move in and out of the foreground, sometimes alternating with mocha, fresh white tobacco, and wild roasted chicory as the classic Left Bank nose evolves in the glass.
On the palate the wine has a supple, round fleshy texture, with ripe, silky tannins, and a luxurious core of warm blackberries, sweet herbs, and fleeting suggestions of black licorice and dark chocolate that echo the evolving nose. This is a polished, elegant Saint-Julien to drink now through its anticipated maturity of 2025 – 2035.
About this wine producer: Wine was first made at the property in 1680 by Jean-Baptiste Braneyre. Braneyre created the property by buying a piece of Château Beychevelle which was always believed to have one of the Medoc's best terroirs. Over the centuries, Branaire-Ducru has had many different and distinguished owners, including Gustave Ducru who added his family name to the estate in the 19th century. All of the owners had reputations for fine wine, and the estate was classified as "Fourth Growth" in the 1855 Classification of Left Bank, Bordeaux estates. In 1988 the estate was sold to Patrick Maroteaux who has invested heavily in new equipment, plantings, and viticultural practices. He says that this is to guarantee a "...combination of purity, fruit and freshness in every vintage." He re-introduced the old practice of a "gravity-fed" winery in 1991, and rebuilt the entire facility between 2007 and 2010. The vineyards encompass sixty hectares (about 150 American Acres) densely-planted on gravel over clay at an average of 8,000 vines per hectare. Farming is "lutte raisonée" (sustainable), and harvesting is by hand. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc are an average of 40 years-old.