A Visit to Brane-Cantenac, 2011

As I drew my car to a halt in the grounds of the rather dainty château at Brane-Cantenac it felt remarkably familiar, despite my never having visited this property before. Tasted its wines, yes; I’ve had regular appointments with the wines over the years, both in London with the Union des Grands Crus tastings, and in Bordeaux during the primeurs. Driven past it, yes; the Route d’Arsac is a useful thoroughfare which heads north towards the great communes of the Médoc, joining with the better-known D2 as it reaches Margaux. But visited? No, never; Brane-Cantenac was one of a handful of properties in and around Cantenac, one of the principal communes of the Margaux appellation, on whose door I had never knocked. Happily it was now time to put that right.

Château Brane-Cantenac

As I arrived the skies overhead began to darken, thanks to a blanket of thick, grey cloud, and the first few drops of rain began to fall. It had been threatening to do this all day, ever since my first appointment at Château Talbot at 9am, so it was no great surprise. I hurried over to the door on the far side of the courtyard where Christophe Capdeville, Brane-Cantenac’s technical director was waiting, together with Maria Martinez-Ojeda. Maria’s role here was translate for me (I have a little French, but I am always grateful for some assistance when I become unstuck, not an infrequent occurrence) but – having tasted with her later in the day – she also clearly has a very deep knowledge and understanding of the wines. After our brief introductions we immediately headed out into the vineyard, Maria stopping only to pick up some umbrellas to ward off the increasingly heavy rain. Unfortunately for me I am not skilled in managing three objects – one notebook, one pen and one umbrella – with only two hands. If I recall correctly Maria offered to hold my umbrella for me, but as that would have induced diva-esque feelings of Jennifer Lopez proportions I declined, and soldiered on unassisted. The result was a close shave for Christophe as my poorly controlled umbrella wandered about in the wind, coming close to removing his right eye at one point. Ooops!

Please log in to continue reading:

Subscribe Here / Lost Password