95 Points Vinous
The 2021 Branaire-Ducru is sleek, elegant and nuanced. There is more Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc in the blend than in the 2018-2020 period, when the Merlots were especially successful. As a result, the aromatics are absolutely alluring, but the wine is much less forthcoming on the palate. At 12.9% alcohol, the 2021 is a classically austere Branaire that looks like it will need quite a bit of time to blossom. It is undoubtedly a very pretty wine, even if not fully expressive at this stage. Dark cherry, plum, chocolate, leather and rose petal linger. Tasted three times.
95 Points James Suckling
A very pretty wine, showing blackberry and blackcurrant aromas with crushed stone. Medium to full body with layers of fine-grained tannins. Bright and refined. Lots of dark fruit at the end. Solid weight.
94 Points Wine Advocate
Having tasted the 2021 Branaire-Ducru six times over the course of a month and a half, I feel confident in saying that it is a beautiful wine that numbers among the vintage's real successes. Offering up aromas of raspberry coulis and red cherries mingled with notions of rose petals, cigar box and spices, it's medium to full-bodied, ample and seamless, with a layered core of fruit, lively acids and beautifully powdery tannins. Why is it quite so good? It isn't because a lot of wine was declassified, as around 60% of the estate's production went into the grand vin this year—a touch more than average. Rather, the key factors seem to be waiting to pick despite an alarming weather forecast; the blend itself, which emphasizes ripe Cabernet and the estate's later-ripening Merlot on clay-limestone soils; and the fact that a partially completed new winery means that Branaire already had fully 63 fermentation vats at its disposal to pick and vinify parcel by parcel. The exact composition is 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
94 Points Decanter
Purple and pink flowers on the nose, sweet strawberries and cherries and some milk chocolate notes. Delicate and poised on the palate, this has an air of elegance and refinement from the first sip, the sleek tannins giving support and a fine grip while the herbal Cabernet and Petit Verdot touches give spice, bright summer berry fruit and tension. This has a good core and persistence of flavour that doesn't let up, not weighty of particularly dense, but well defined and focussed. Stylish and glamorous in the best way while being understated - a difficult feat in 2021. Totally moreish and just so well constructed and delivered. A top wine! You get energy and precision here but it's the understated character I like so much, it just grows and grows quietly and then leaves you with the lingering impression of the beauty of St-Julien.
92 Points Jeb Dunnuck
Bright red and blue fruits, violets, and floral notes define the bouquet of the 2021 Château Branaire-Ducru, a medium-bodied, nicely balanced, elegant Saint-Julien. It has nicely integrated background oak, plenty of mid-palate depth, and the balance and length to shine for two decades. It's incredibly well done and should end up being an outstanding wine.
Chateau Branaire-Ducru's 120 acres is located in the St. Julien region of France and has such famous neighbors as Cheateau Gruaud-Larose, Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou and Chateau Beychevelle.
The name, given by the former owner Monsieur Ducru, means "beautiful pebbles". One of the main features of the vineyard is its richness in pebbles which contribute to the greatness of so many wines of the Medoc.
Just before the war, the vineyard became run down and many Bordeaux critics felt it no longer deserved its rank as a Second Growth. During the Medoc Classification of 1855, the Chateau was rated as a Fourth Growth. In 1942 the Borie family purchased the vineyard completely revamped the vineyard and it began receiving top ratings amongst the Second Growths. Successive generations of the Borie family oversee all winemaking operations.