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2018 Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien (Pre-Arrival)

SKU #1407916 97 points James Suckling

Outer quote mark Very attractive aromas of currants, tile and sandalwood with black and red currants. It’s full-bodied with a tight, dense center-palate that remains closed in and tight. Yet there is underlying seriousness and length to this. Perhaps the greatest Branaire-Ducru ever made. Try after 2026. Inner quote mark (3/2021)

96 points Vinous

Outer quote mark The 2018 Branaire-Ducru is every bit as captivating as it was en primeur. Ripe, silky tannins give the 2018 a striking air of sensuality that only grows as the wine sits in the glass. Succulent red/purplish fruit, lavender, rose petal, mint, spice and gravel inflections all open more over time. Even with all of its natural radiance, Branaire remains a model of grace. It is unquestionably one of the under the radar wines of the year. (AG) Inner quote mark (3/2021)

95 points Wine Enthusiast

Outer quote mark A deceptively smooth texture and black fruits hide a wine that has great density and richness. Firm tannins lie beneath the ripeness. They will allow this wine to age, giving future concentration and depth. Drink the wine from 2027. *Cellar Selection* (RV) Inner quote mark (3/2021)

94 points Jeb Dunnuck

Outer quote mark A beautiful Saint-Julien, the 2018 Château Branaire-Ducru reveals a deep purple color as well as ample, earthy cassis and blackberry fruits intermixed with sous bois, earth, lead pencil, and cedar. With that classic Saint-Julien pure fruit, sumptuous aromas and flavors, sweet yet present tannins, and a solid spine of acidity, it's going to need 5-7 years to hit maturity yet should keep for 20-25 years or more. I don't think it's going to match the blockbuster 2009 (it's more in the pretty, elegant style of the 2016), but it's a gorgeous, elegant wine you will love to have in the cellar. Inner quote mark (3/2021)

94 points Wine Spectator

Outer quote mark Pure and driven, with expressive cassis and plum puree aromas and flavors carried by a graphite edge and backed with applewood, licorice root and tobacco notes. Lovely energy throughout. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. (JM) Inner quote mark (3/2021)

92-94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Outer quote mark The deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Branaire-Ducru begins just a tad reduced with broody tar, rubber and fried herbs scents giving way to a fragrant core of warm cassis, blackberry pie and blueberry coulis with touches of smoked meats and tobacco. Full-bodied, firm and rugged in the mouth with brawny, muscular fruit and a sturdy frame of grainy tannins, it finishes long and savory. (LPB) Inner quote mark (4/2019)

93 points Decanter

Outer quote mark Branaire-Ducru has managed to produce an exceptionally balanced and refined St-Julien in a year when that was not the easiest task. Depth and complexity is clear, although it's just a little held back right now. The architecture is such that there are walls to scale and depths to plumb, but with less generosity overall. (JA) Inner quote mark (4/2019)

Jancis Robinson

Outer quote mark Black-cherry rim with opaque core. Scented with cassis and ripe damson fruit, quite open on the nose. Lively on the palate too, really fruity, balanced by fine layers of dry but not drying tannins. Oaky, chewy, rich, but smooth on the finish with aromatic fruit through to the finish. (JH) Inner quote mark (3/2019)

K&L Notes

92-94 points Neal Martin in Vinous: "The 2018 Branaire-Ducru was picked from 19 September until 10 October at 53hl/ha and it is currently being aged in 60% new oak. Now this has a really fine bouquet, classic in style but with more fruit intensity than the 2017: blackberry, bilberry, cedar and a touch of singed leather. It is very Saint-Julien. The palate is medium-bodied with fine grain tannin. Notes of blackcurrant, raspberry, black pepper and cedar with fine acidity and more substance on the finish compared directly with the preceding vintage. Having visited this property for 20 years, I can safely say that this is the most impressive Branaire-Ducru that I have encountered at this stage." (11/2019)


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Product Reviews:

By: Gary Westby | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/4/2021 | Send Email
This beguiling wine was the surprise stand out of our 2018 St. Julien tasting. It has a showy, pure, intense nose of top quality cassis. In the mouth it is remarkably graceful despite its concentration and power. Everything is in the right place! I love the excellent lift and acidity on the super long finish. What a wine! It is composed of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 4% Petite Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc.
Drink from 2028 to 2058

By: Alex Schroeder | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 2/3/2021 | Send Email
What a nose! Bing cherry, strawberry compote, herbs and mint, subtle toast, minerals. It's hard to move past! On the palate, rich red fruit is center stage, artfully surrounded by toast, minerals, smoke and herbs with very precise acidity and luxurious tannins that create the perfect texture. I think Branaire Ducru wins 2018.

By: Trey Beffa | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/6/2019 | Send Email
Loaded with red fruits, hints of cola and spice, long and sweet core of middle fruit, long, fleshy and silky. This is going to be one of my "must buys" from this vintage. Excellent!

By: Clyde Beffa Jr. | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/1/2019 | Send Email
Glass Full Glass Full Glass Full Glass Full Glass Full
Xavier Maroteaux has fashioned a delicious wine in 2018. Tasted three times- 58% CS, 33%M, and mix of PV and CF to finish. Elegant wine with ripe roses on the nose and palate. Lush wine with sweet, ripe tannins. Fresh and full with some tannin evident. Fabulous wine in 2018.
Drink from 2025 to 2045

By: Ralph Sands | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 5/1/2019 | Send Email
In my opinion Saint-Julien is definitely a sweet spot in the 2018 vintage. Branaire is an absolute beauty! Prue, plump red fruit with great freshness, elegance and most importantly great tasting and a complete wine. This wine hits all the marks of greatness and is a 3 Star wine and one of the best wines of the vintage. It will drink a bit earlier and give more pleasure than most wines in 2018. Ralph Sands

By: Ryan Moses | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 4/16/2019 | Send Email
I've always admired Branaire Ducru, but I've never been captured by a vintage of their wine in the same way as their splendid 2018. A core of bright red fruit and hint of cherry cola carries to a resounding finish. It is intense, full, but always refined. Tasted on four occasions, it never ceased to be one of the best wines in the room and is one of the great highlights of a superlative St-Julien vintage.

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