The 2022 Branaire Ducru was harvested from 12-24 September at 34.5hL/ha, the blend representative of their vineyard plantings. This feels refined and focused on the nose with plush red berry fruit, dried rose petals and orange rind scents. Classic Branaire. The palate is fresh on the entry with pliant tannins. It’s very well structured to the degree that it conveys a sense of symmetry. Lightly spiced toward the finish with notes of graphite lingering on the aftertaste, this represents an excellent Branaire Ducru that will age over many years and will surely appeal to those seeking more classical Saint-Julien. Tasted three times and was more impressive each time. Branaire-Ducru continues its upward trajectory under proprietor Francois-Xavier Maroteaux. 14.3% alcohol.
Anticipated maturity: 2030-2065
Robert Parker 95-97
A brilliant wine that’s the finest young vintage I’ve tasted at this Saint-Julien estate, the 2022 Branaire-Ducru wafts from the glass with aromas of violets, blackberries, sweet cassis, liquorice and pencil shavings, followed by a medium to a full-bodied, layered and multidimensional palate that’s succulent, sapid and perfumed, framed by supple tannins and concluding with a long, mouthwatering finish. It’s a blend of 60.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31.5% Merlot, 5.5% Cabernet Franc and 2.5% Petit Verdot that checks in at a healthy pH of 3.65. Why is it so good this year? In addition to the quality of the vintage, the new gravity-flow winery means the fruit can be handled more gently and picked more precisely, sub-block by sub-block, as the team now have fully 63 vats at their disposal, almost double their capacity through 2020. Given the Maroteaux family’s sensible approach to pricing, this is likely to number among the must-purchase wines of the 2022 vintage, and it comes warmly recommended.