Château Brane-Cantenac: Vineyards

The vineyards of Château Brane-Cantenac amount to 75 hectares of the Margaux appellation and have been subject to intensive soil-mapping following Henri Lurton’s arrival at the estate in 1992. Subsequently there has been a gradual increase in the proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon planted here, although only in those areas where the vineyard studies showed the soil to be suited to this variety. Broadly speaking, the mapping process described three main terroirs; the first and the most valued is a large sweep of gravel in front of the château at the top of the Margaux-Cantenac plateau, the Plateau de Brane as it is also known, at a height of about 22 metres above sea level. Perhaps the most important feature of this 30-hectare parcel is the thick layer of surface gravel, up to 12 metres deep in places, which provides both radiant heat to the vines as well as excellent drainage. The water table is fairly deep, says Christophe Capdeville, about 6 metres below the surface, and the roots drink deep as a result, their growth downwards encouraged by superficial ploughing which was reintroduced 1994. The wines from this section of the vineyard are marked by high-quality tannins with a silky-velvety presence, and even if he extracts hard this seems to remain true, Capdeville reassures me. The wine from this section are largely destined for the grand vin.

Château Brane-Cantenac

The second section is centred around and behind the château, about 15 hectares which formed the heart of the original Gorse estate. Here there is still gravel, but a higher proportion of sandy soil, and no clay. The water table is not so deep here, lying only about 3 metres below the surface, and the fruit harvested here usually develops tannins that are somewhat more robust than from the vines on the higher plateau. Nevertheless, the fruit from this section is also generally destined for the grand vin.

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