2005 Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien

SKU #1044044 95 points Wine Enthusiast

 This is opulent, but with restraint. The fruit is rich, black and delicious. Touches of spice and wood are present, lending complexity to the ripe fruits and balanced tannins. Impressive. (RV)  (6/2008)

94 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Dark red-ruby. Plum, chocolate and some exotic smoky oak on the nose. Lush, smooth and sweet but not at all over the top; offers unusual volume and breadth for Branaire. The exotic aspect carries through on the palate, and yet this wine is holding plenty of material in reserve. Finishes with building tannins and excellent length. Offers superb potential for aging. (ST)  (6/2008)

93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Floral nuances combined with lots of mulberry, raspberry and sweet blackcurrant fruit are followed by a medium to full-bodied, beautifully pure, textured, complex wine with soft tannin. It should drink well relatively early on (2-3 years) and last 15 or more. (RP)  (6/2015)

93 points Vinous

 Bright dark ruby-red with a pale rim. Blackcurrant, red cherry, minerals and sweet aromatic spices on the enticing, exotic nose. Then pure, clean and refined in the mouth, showing terrific sweetness to the flavors of blackcurrant, black cherry, mocha and wet stone. This sizable wine offers wonderful poise and precision thanks to vibrant but harmonious acidity. The finish is long and seamless, with a plush, tactile mouthfeel. This is an outstanding Branaire-Ducru and easily one of the best wines ever made at the estate. The grapes were harvested between September 20 and October 10. (ID)  (5/2014)

92 points Wine Spectator

 Very floral, showing blueberry, licorice and mineral on the nose. Full and very silky, with beautifully polished tannins. Long and caressing. This is always very well done and good value for the quality. (JS)  (3/2008)

91 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Unabashed in its ripeness and conveying plenty of extract, the Branaire-Ducru is among the weightier workings of the Saint-Julien class of 2005. Its frontal fleshiness reminds a bit of a fine Pomerol, but its ample tannins are those of Left Bank Bordeaux. A deep and sturdy and ageworthy wine, it could do with slightly longer aging than its mates, and eight to ten years in the cellar should do the trick.  (3/2008)

K&L Notes

92 points Neal Martin's Wine Journal: "The Château Branaire Ducru 2005 has a ripe bouquet with red berry fruit laced with marmalade, cedar and sous-bois. It is a little more approachable than its peers, more expressive. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, a little grainy in texture with a well balanced cedar-infused finish that is quite linear and strict. This will be earlier drinking than other 2005 Saint Juliens, but its easy-going style belies what will probably be a long-term wine." (2/2015)

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.


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Specific Appellation:

Saint Julien

- St. Julien, the smallest of the four famous appellations of the Haut Medoc, is known for highly extracted, finely structured, Cabernet-based reds. It is nestled between Pauillac to the north and Margaux to the south. Like St. Estephe, there are no first growths in this area. Leoville-las-Cases, Leoville Poyferre, Leoville Barton, Ducru Beaucaillou, and Gruard Larose are the second-growths of St. Julien followed by Lagrange which is the only third-growth. Beychevelle, Branaire Ducru, St. Pierre, and Talbot, which are all fourth-growth wines, round out the grand cru classe chateaux. In the last several vintages, wineries from this appellation have been out-performing their traditional rankings making many of the wines from this region some of the best values in red wine today.