Château Brane-Cantenac has taken some great steps forward in quality across recent vintages. This often undervalued second growth typifies the elegance and refinement that is so often associated with wines from Margaux. Elegance and refinement are, in fact, watch-words for any tasting note on Brane; whereas critics have often looked for a little more concentration and weight than was exhibited in the 1980s and 1990s, the last five or six vintages have shown a notable shift in density. That is not to say that this is a bold, powerful example, but there is far more substance than in bygone vintages with no loss of the hallmark refinement.Simon's offer, below.
In vintages that play to Brane’s strengths, such as the 2016, it is hard not to be impressed by this wine’s effortlessness and sheer poise. It shows a beautiful clarity and precision, coupled with a remarkably scented, fresh character to the deep cassis-laden fruit. The tannins are so well-handled here and create a sleek, silky and remarkably persistent impression. As ever, Brane is a wine with no hard edges, but the 2016 exhibits more verve and energy than the norm. There is no doubt that the 2016 is a great success for Henri Lurton and his team chez Brane-Cantenac.
In terms of price, there was an increase of 15% over 2015 in euro cost, so with the added impact of the exchange rate, this is healthily up on last year. However, at £310 per 6 bottle case in bond, it is hard to argue that this is not a great price in the vintage context. Frankly this is a great buy.
I have included Neal Martin’s note below for your reference.
2016 Château Brane-Cantenac
(96-98) points, Neal Martin
£310 per 6 bottle case in bond
The 2016 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Carmenere picked from 22 September until 17 October (the tiny parcel of Carmenere picked three days later). The yields came in at 51 hectoliters per hectare and it is matured in 75% new oak and 25% one-year-old barrels, the final alcohol level 13.3%. It has a beautifully defined, very detailed bouquet with mineral-rich black fruit laced with cedar and graphite notes, living up to its nom de plume as the "Pauillac of Margaux." The palate is simply the best that I have ever tasted at the estate, without question. This has presence, but also weightlessness, filigree tannin and perfectly pitched acidity, with real intensity and drive. The tension here is outstanding and the persistence is incredibly long. It is not the showiest of all the 2016s by a long stretch, and yet it is everything you could possibly want from a Margaux. Like Beychevelle this year, the 2016 Brane-Cantenac puts recent vintages in the shade, thanks not only to the growing season, but also a new punching down system in their gravity-fed winery that was completed in 2015. The 2016 is a benchmark against which future vintages will be compared. Drink 2026-2060.
Please let us know of your interest at your earliest convenience. We anticipate a busy four days of releases this week.
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