97 Points, James Suckling; 96 Points, Vinous; 95 Points, Wine Enthusiast; 94 Points, Jeb Dunnuck; 94 Points, Wine Spectator 92-94 Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate; 93 Points, DecanterJames Suckling: “Very attractive aromas of currants, tile and sandalwood with black and red currants. It’s full-bodied with a tight, dense center-palate that remains closed in and tight. Yet there is underlying seriousness and length to this. Perhaps the greatest Branaire-Ducru ever made. Try after 2026.”Vinous: “The 2018 Branaire-Ducru is every bit as captivating as it was en primeur. Ripe, silky tannins give the 2018 a striking air of sensuality that only grows as the wine sits in the glass. Succulent red/purplish fruit, lavender, rose petal, mint, spice and gravel inflections all open more over time. Even with all of its natural radiance, Branaire remains a model of grace. It is unquestionably one of the under the radar wines of the year.”Wine Enthusiast: “A deceptively smooth texture and black fruits hide a wine that has great density and richness. Firm tannins lie beneath the ripeness. They will allow this wine to age, giving future concentration and depth. Drink the wine from 2027.”Jeb Dunnuck: “A beautiful Saint-Julien, the 2018 Château Branaire-Ducru reveals a deep purple color as well as ample, earthy cassis and blackberry fruits intermixed with sous bois, earth, lead pencil, and cedar. With that classic Saint-Julien pure fruit, sumptuous aromas and flavors, sweet yet present tannins, and a solid spine of acidity, it’s going to need 5-7 years to hit maturity yet should keep for 20-25 years or more. I don’t think it’s going to match the blockbuster 2009 (it’s more in the pretty, elegant style of the 2016), but it’s a gorgeous, elegant wine you will love to have in the cellar.”Wine Spectator: “Pure and driven, with expressive cassis and plum puree aromas and flavors carried by a graphite edge and backed with applewood, licorice root and tobacco notes. Lovely energy throughout. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.”Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Branaire-Ducru begins just a tad reduced with broody tar, rubber and fried herbs scents giving way to a fragrant core of warm cassis, blackberry pie and blueberry coulis with touches of smoked meats and tobacco. Full-bodied, firm and rugged in the mouth with brawny, muscular fruit and a sturdy frame of grainy tannins, it finishes long and savory.”Decanter: “Branaire-Ducru has managed to produce an exceptionally balanced and refined St-Julien in a year when that was not the easiest task. Depth and complexity is clear, although it’s just a little held back right now. The architecture is such that there are walls to scale and depths to plumb, but with less generosity overall.”
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