chateau brane-cantenac 2eme cru classe, margaux 2016
Here is a wine of deceptive power and tannic strength that almost go unnoticed in the face of its flood of easy-to-access sweet fruit, and just enough firming tannin slowly appears to confirm that, youthful charm notwithstanding, this is a Margaux constructed to keep. A half-dozen years of cellaring will prove the point, but balance and structure like this ensures that it will reward longer aging and will show increasing beauty for ten to twenty or more.
I missed this wine in my recent 2016 Bordeaux report, but I was able to purchase a bottle locally. A tremendous Margaux, the 2016 offers the quintessential elegance of the appellation as well as plenty of density, concentration, and ripe tannins. Beautiful notes of blackcurrants, tobacco leaf, cedarwood, and flowery incense all emerge from the glass, and it builds nicely with air, offering medium to full body, flawless balance, and a great finish. This is classic Margaux as well as a classic 2016. It’s already approachable, and I doubt it will close down, yet it’s going to develop additional nuances with another 4-6 years of bottle age and have 25-30 years of prime drinking.
It's clear how well this wine is constructed in 2016. Vibrant cassis and violet notes are joined by a powerful shot of freshness then an austere finish with touches of white pepper, showing poise and power. A touch of Carmenère is now making a regular appearance in this wine. It represents 39% of the estate's production, from a 51hl/ha yield in 2016.
Shows a coffee edge, along with tobacco and bay notes that meld steadily into the core of steeped plum and black cherry fruit. The fleshy finish lets the bay element take an encore. A touch old-school. Rating: 90-93
So much ripe and sweet tobacco on the nose with currant and blackberry character. Full body, intense tannins with density and beauty. It’s a wine with great structure and panache for this estate. Try after 2024.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Carmenere picked from 22 September until 17 October (the tiny parcel of Carmenere picked three days later). The yields came in at 51 hectoliters per hectare and it is matured in 75% new oak and 25% one-year-old barrels, the final alcohol level 13.3%. It has a beautifully defined, very detailed bouquet with mineral-rich black fruit laced with cedar and graphite notes, living up to its nom de plume as the "Pauillac of Margaux." The palate is simply the best that I have ever tasted at the estate, without question. This has presence, but also weightlessness, filigree tannin and perfectly pitched acidity, with real intensity and drive. The tension here is outstanding and the persistence is incredibly long. It is not the showiest of all the 2016s by a long stretch, and yet it is everything you could possibly want from a Margaux. Rating: 96-98
This firm, structured wine is solid with tannins and with the weight associated with the vintage. The fruitiness is as important, an explosion of rich berry flavors that will give pleasure as the wine matures. Drink from 2025.