Two of the very best

Two of the very best
It’s not really a secret that Margaux and Pessac Leognan are two of the best performing communes in 2015. In Brane Cantenac and Domaine de Chevalier, we have two of the most sublime, awe-inspiring wines of the vintage. The Lurton owned Brane is back with a bang with a wine that will rival their exceptional 2009. This is just glorious; a luxurious, effortless wine that seduced us with its glorious perfume and mass of suave fruit. It is right up there with Rauzan Segla amongst the best wines of the appellation. Whilst we agree with Neal’s score (although he is maybe a little on the conservative side), we are at odds with his note. This has tons of fruit, in fact it is one of the ripest and most generous wines we tasted!

Olivier Bernard’s Domaine de Chevalier also mixes it with the elite. The red is serious, concentrated stuff, yet has a grace and subtlety that many Pessacs are lacking. Neal Martin is spot on with his analysis. ‘What a fabulous, intellectual wine from Olivier Bernard. Expect four decades of drinking pleasure - probably more - given my experience of ancient vintages’. We wholeheartedly agree – this is magnificent stuff. The only problem is, we can’t decide between Brane and DDC. It’ll have to be one of each then!

We also have tiny quantities of Domaine de Chevalier Blanc. This along with Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc is our favourite (affordable) white Pessac.

‘The 2015 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Carmenère that was picked from 17 September until 7 October (that Carmenère was actually picked on 19 October). It was cropped at 51 hl/ha. This is classic Brane-Cantenac down the line: austere at first, almost aloof, but very well defined and over time it starts revealing lovely tobacco-stained black fruit. The palate is very well balanced with raspberry and wild strawberry on the entry, perhaps more red fruit than I was anticipating. Veins of undergrowth and cedar are in situ on this very well-balanced, reserved and classic Margaux boasting a long and persistent finish that feels satisfying, reassuring even. Not a Margaux for those that seek tons of fruit, it is nonetheless a very terroir-expressive wine that will repay those who know that this cru demands preferably 12-15 years in the cellar. Henri Lurton never wavers from his style of Margaux and it pays dividends here on this great wine for those with patience. Drink 2030-2060. 93-95/100’. - Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate

The 2015 Domaine de Chevalier is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot picked from 23 September until 15 October at just 35 hl/ha, matured in 35% new oak. It has a sophisticated bouquet that is more reserved than its peers. It possesses one of the most precise, detailed aromatic profiles that I have encountered from this estate, wonderfully poised with black fruit, incense and cold stone. It has wonderful focus and class. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine tannin, very complex with lightly peppered black fruit. What marks this Domaine de Chevalier is the reserve and precision on the finish, a wine that is holding something back for its secondary evolution, a salinity that beckons you back for another sip. What a fabulous, intellectual wine from Olivier Bernard. Expect four decades of drinking pleasure - probably more - given my experience of ancient vintages. Tasted three times with consistent notes. 95-97/100’. - Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate

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