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. Like Beychevelle this year, the 2016 Brane-Cantenac puts recent vintages in the shade, thanks not only to the growing season, but also a new punching down system in their gravity-fed winery that was completed in 2015. The 2016 is a benchmark against which future vintages will be compared. NM
The 2016 Brane-Cantenac has been on a roll of late, under the watchful eye of Henri Lurton. This latest bottled vintage is superb. The divine, pure blackberry and bilberry bouquet develops touches of graphite in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, silky-smooth texture and a superb bead of acidity. This is not a powerful Brane-Cantenac, and it is perhaps less austere than I suspected en primeur, but it should drink beautifully over the next three decades. If you have a penchant for traditional claret, it really doesn’t come better than this. - vinous.com, Jan 2019
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. - James Molesworth (WineSpectator.com, April 2017)
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.
Dark purplish crimson. Neat, unforced, smells fully ripe. Salty finish and a fine spread across the palate. Bone dry, but not too drying, finish. Cool, unforced and sophisticated. Very competent indeed. Drink 2026-2044. - jancisrobinson.com, April 2017
The 2016 Brane-Cantenac is very pretty and nuanced. The richness of the year comes through, and yet there is a good bit of freshness and energy as well to balance things out nicely. Brane-Cantenac offers a fine expression of the year in a wine that will drink well with minimal cellaring. Time in the glass brings out an attractive register of floral notes that add to the wine's undeniable appeal. - vinous.com, January 2019
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. - decanter.com, Jane Anson, October 2018
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