We were generally very impressed by the balance and harmony of the wines at the St Julien UGC. Few were blockbusters, but they all had ample fruit, a sense of freshness, sympathetic tannins and a sense of cohesion. Branaire is a good honest St Julien; it feels slightly unambitious, but we'd rather it this way than the other extreme. There are some nice perfumed fruits on the bouquet interspersed with herbs. On the palate there is ample bramble fruit; quite wild and engaging. It is a down to earth, gentle style, which displays restraint and charm.
Château Branaire-Ducru, located in the commune of Saint Julien, is surrounded by illustrious neighbours such as Beychevelle, Ducru-Beaucaillou and Gruaud Larose. Originally a part of Chateau Beychevelle, the property was acquired by Jean-Baptiste Braneyre and became known as Chateau Branaire in 1680. It was owned by various members of the 'de Luc' family for well over a century until 1875 when Gustave Ducru became the sole owner. The modern era for Chateau Branaire-Ducru began in1988 when the estate was purchased by the Maroteaux family. The wine is aged for 20 months in 50% new oak and is typically rich, brooding and powerful style of Bordeaux.
St-Julien may not have any first growths like its neighbour Pauillac but has a raft of high-performing Châteaux in its ranks, second through to fourth growths, Including Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville Las Cases, Léoville-Poyferré, Léoville-Barton.
Gruaud-Larose and Talbot. For many St-Julien is quintessential claret, robust, powerful but refined subtle and poised. Gravelly soils dominate, hence wide plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot.