2020 chateau brane-cantenac 2eme cru classe, margaux
Why We're Buying
Château Brane-Cantenac is one of the most distinguished chateaux in the Margaux appellation. During the 19th century, it was run by Baron Hector de Branne, who was known as the "Napoléon of the Vines." While Château Brane-Cantenac, 2ème Cru Classe Margaux doesn't hold Napoléon-like authority over other Bordeaux wines, it remains an essential part of the region's identity.
Deep purple-hued, the 2020 Château Brane-Cantenac is another remarkable 2020 in the making. Beautiful blackberry and cassis fruits as well as notes of chocolate, lead pencil, and flower all define the nose, and it has the vintage's pure, focused, surprisingly fresh profile while still being concentrated and textured. The balance is spot on and the tannins are polished as well, so it should have some up-front appeal, yet smart money will be on giving this at least 4-6 years of bottle age.
The 2020 Brane-Cantenac was picked September 14–28 and includes 13% vin de presse. It has exactly the same blend as last year since Henri Lurton and his team did not limit the Grand Vin to the 30-hectare plateau, a similar approach to Pichon-Baron when they reorganized their own vineyard. I allowed my sample an hour to open (during which I was discussing the wine with Lurton over Zoom). It has a beautifully defined bouquet of blackberry, wild hedgerow, fresh mint and light bay leaf scents. I have sometimes found a little greenness on the nose, but there is none in 2020. The palate is very well balanced with finely chiseled, precise tannins and beautifully judged acidity. Harmonious and poised, this is an absolutely fantastic Brane-Cantenac, in my mind superior to the previous two vintages, exuding wonderful mineralité on the finish. A must-buy. -Neal Martin
Extremely floral and beautiful with blackberry and blackcurrant aromas that follow through to a full body with a solid core of fruit and loads of dark fruit, sweet tobacco, bark and earth. Chewy, fine tannins. Perhaps the best of the trilogy years.
Violet-edged, lovely vibrant colour. A low-yield wine that has kept an impressively fresh core, with expressive fruits and a vibrant grip through the centre of the wine. Powerful, tight tannins and the concentration becomes clearer in the glass, a ton of bilberry, sage and rosemary aromatics, with a generous helping of graphite and crushed stone. All of these wines are going to need very careful ageing - although the reasonable alcohols should help. A yield of 31hl/ha. 18 months ageing in a mix of new oak barrels and amphoras. 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenère completes the blend. Tasted twice.
From what is one of Margaux's leading estates, this wine is structured and initially firm. Then it reveals luscious black fruits and succulent acidity that gives the wine a fine perfumed character, dense texture and the promise of some serious aging.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2020 Brane-Cantenac is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Carménère and 1% Petit Verdot. It weighs in with 13.7% alcohol and a pH of 3.71. Deep purple-black colored, it has a beautifully expressive nose of fresh redcurrants, blackcurrant jelly, kirsch and rose oil, plus hints of tobacco leaf, wild sage and crushed rocks. The medium-bodied palate is elegantly styled with a plush texture and plenty of freshness supporting the red berry and earthy flavors, finishing fragrant.