Young, as expected, but it's impossible not to enjoy all the fresh, sweet, ripe fruits, soft textures and the elegance, paired with freshness in the finish. A few hours in the decanter, or more cellar time will be amply rewarded.
My Grade: EX+. Pure, well-defined and elegant St. Julien. Lovely black-cherry color. Expressive nose with prominent licorice, menthol, cherry, plum, vanilla, secondary notes of toast and wet earth. On the palate: focussed cassis, tart plum, burnt toast, fine-lined acidity, very smooth tannins, very long finish. This has some way to go to reach its peak (at least 5 years), but very drinkable now.
Addendum: showed more power and complexity the next day after vacuvin, upgraded to EX+.
Decanted 6 hrs. No notes taken but my general impression was of a suave, complete, and elegant wine that showed excellent St. Julien typicity. Open and giving now (at least after the decant) with a long life ahead. A noble offering from this 4th growth. Drank alongside a 2001 Haut Brion, the Branaire was the better wine. Fabulous value!
now,, this is GOOD Bordeaux. So refined, classy and classic. So "St Julien" I would say in the middle of the road between the flamboyant right bank wines and the strictest that Pauillac has to offer. It is hedonistic without losing control of it's structure. Lovely red cherries, blackberries, violets, earth and liquorice. It possesses that quality I love in a great red wine.... the last glass is every bit as good as the first, and you are always left wanting more.
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(Château Branaire-Ducru (St Julien)) Highly perfumed black fruits here, full of blackcurrants and rose petals, a nose suggestive of a bright, crystalline intensity of fruit. Aromatically an impressive wine, and quite distinctive within the context of the vintage, at this tasting at least. This comes through on the palate too, which shows a perfumed layer first of all, then a more solid frame, which isn't quite as well filled out by the fruit character as I hoped. On returning to it though it does show an admirable weight of fruit with a defined texture, gritty and tangible, which leads into a more tannic finish. This has delightful appeal, and could well be brilliant.
(Chateau Branaire-Ducru St Julien) This wine has a lovely concentration on inspection, with a vibrant cherry red. The nose has a cherry aroma, with a confit edge to it, but certainly very rich and pure in terms of fruit definition. The palate is lovely in terms of fruit definition, with good grip around the edges, Fresh acids, rather soft but building tannins with the usual rich and velvety feel of the vintage. Supple and quite juicy fruit, and a sappy finish. Really good character here, and plenty of potential.
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