Château Branaire-Ducru, 2015 Update

Who doesn’t love a slice of St Julien? Who hasn’t fallen for the brimming self-confidence of the wines from Château Léoville-Las-Cases, the seductive yet masculine funk of Château Ducru-Beaucaillou, or the eternally restrained classicism of Château Léoville-Barton? This is the appellation for the real claret drinker, quintessential wines which for many typify the region, providing a valuable personal benchmark. It is not infrequently that I find myself asking of a good left-bank wine I have tasted is it as good as the 2000 Léoville-Barton? Is it as good as 1996 Léoville-Las-Cases? This appellation might not have any of the region’s most highly exalted first growths, but it still turns out what are for me benchmark wines for the Bordeaux region.

Château Branaire-Ducru

Thankfully, it is also a region where relative value exists (sadly, I do find myself using the ‘relative’ qualification with most discussions of value in Bordeaux these days). But estates such as Château Saint-Pierre, Château Beychevelle and of course Château Branaire-Ducru frequently turn out wines of very fine quality at less eye-watering prices. Always eager to keep up with the latest releases of wines from Bordeaux I might actually be able to afford, I recently met up with proprietor of Château Branaire-Ducru, Patrick Maroteaux (pictured above), to taste through some of the most recent vintages.

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