Bordeaux 2023: Leoville Poyferre and Brane Cantenac

22 May 2024

Second the best

Today we have two illustrious second growths from the Medoc. Neither is really considered a true “super second”, so prices remain reasonable, yet both regularly top their respective flights at Southwold, vindication if it were needed of their brilliance.

In recent years, Leoville Poyferre has established itself as a contender for the leading wine in St Julien. The Cuvelier regime keeps turning out blockbusters worthy of First Growth status. This is one of the smartest wines of the Medoc and at £337 per 6 (down 33.5% on last year), we feel compelled to give a strong recommendation.

Further south in Margaux, Henri Lurton and his team at Brane Cantenac are riding a prolonged wave of successes. 2023 is yet another superb example with sumptuous fruit and glorious tannins. Its track record at in bottle tastings is exemplary, regularly bettering more celebrated and more expensive wines from the region. At £267 per 6, this is a 26% reduction on the 2022 price.

“The 2023 Léoville-Poyferré was picked from September 14 until October 5 at 52.78hL/ha and aged in slightly less new oak than usual, simply because of the large volume. In fact, some of the lots commenced their malolactic fermentation in vat rather than barrel. This has an intense bouquet with black cherries and iodine, becoming more floral with aeration. The palate opens with a medium body and pliant tannins, fleshy and ripe, dovetailing into a dense and multi-tiered mid-palate. Typical Poyferré in style, blood orange and light graphite notes are embroidered into the ripe black fruit, and there is noticeable glycerol on the finish. It is perhaps the most opulent of the three Léovilles, and yet it arrives with a modest 13.1% alcohol. This is a contender for the best Saint-Julien in show.”95/97, Neal Martin,

“The 2023 Brane-Cantenac is a sensual, silky wine. There's plenty of depth and structure behind that, but the first impression is most definitely one of elegance. Crushed flowers, spice and dried herbs meld into a core of super-expressive, dark, red-toned fruit. The 100% new oak is impeccably balanced within the wine’s frame. Brane-Cantenac remains one of the best relative values in Bordeaux, or anywhere, for that matter. This is a fine effort from proprietor Henri Lurton and his team. Tasted two times. 2033-2063”94/96, Antonio Galloni,

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