Château Branaire-Ducru is a wine estate based the Saint-Julien appellation, in the Haut-Médoc region, on the so-called “left bank” of the Garonne estuary north of the city of Bordeaux. The estate was ranked a fourth growth in the 1855 Classification of Médoc and the Graves.
The estate was founded in 1680 by Jean-Baptiste Braneyre, who reportedly saw the potential of the soils of the Bordeaux commune of Saint-Julien and the ability of Cabernet Sauvignon to flourish upon them. Before his death he gave his name to the estate, which was later changed to the current spelling, Branaire.
Today the château encompasses 125 acres (50 ha) and is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, with some vines almost 90 years old. The property was once part of neighboring Château Beychevelle before it was broken up in the middle of the 17th Century to pay off the debts of the owners.
Since 1988, Branaire-Ducru has been owned by Patrick Maroteaux, a former banker who fell in love with the Saint-Julien appellation and Branaire-Ducru itself. Under his ownership, 10 hectares (25 acres) have been added to the estate, and the winery and vineyards have undergone a complete modernization and renovation.
Tasting: Perfumed blackberry and black currant fruit, lined with licorice root and fruitcake notes that give way to a grippy, brambly finish. Just a touch chewy at the very end, but this should soften soon enough.