96-97pts James Suckling
The fine and intense tannins are very impressive because they fold beautifully into the wine, with blackcurrants, black cherries, hints of chocolate and hazelnuts. It's full-bodied with tight and focused fruit and a long and classy finish. Fantastic definition to this. Fresh. 60.5% cabernet sauvignon, 31.5% merlot, 5.5% cabernet franc, and 2.5% petit verdot.
95-97pts Wine Advocate
A brilliant wine that's the finest young vintage I've tasted at this Saint-Julien estate, the 2022 Branaire-Ducru wafts from the glass with aromas of violets, blackberries, sweet cassis, licorice and pencil shavings, followed by a medium to full-bodied, layered and multidimensional palate that's succulent, sapid and perfumed, framed by supple tannins and concluding with a long, mouthwatering finish. It's a blend of 60.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31.5% Merlot, 5.5% Cabernet Franc and 2.5% Petit Verdot that checks in at a healthy pH of 3.65. Why is it so good this year? In addition to the quality of the vintage, the new gravity-flow winery means fruit can be handled more gently, and picked more precisely, sub-block by sub-block, as the team now have fully 63 vats at their disposal, almost double their capacity through 2020. Given the Maroteaux family's sensible approach to pricing, this is likely to number among the must-purchase wines of the 2022 vintage, and it comes warmly recommended.
The 2022 Branaire-Ducru is a powerhouse, almost unnaturally so for this Saint-Julien, which is usually a more understated wine. A blast of of dark plum fruit makes a pretty strong first impression. Licorice, cloves, spice, menthol and chocolate fill out the layers. Readers should expect a concentrated, virile Saint-Julien with compelling aromatic presence. In this warm, low-yielding vintage, Branaire is quite the brooding powerhouse. It will be interesting to see if more finesse develops in time. Impressive.
96pts Jane Anson
This is an estate that can be so understated as to almost miss its complexity, but this vintage, with its excess and exuberance, does a wonderful job of drawing it out. The concentration is impressive, but there you'll also find a softness and balance that is juicy and enticing. Great job Branaire Ducru. Francois Xavier Maroteaux owner. I honestly think the best example of this château that I have ever tasted En Primeur (and god I hate it when critics say that).
95-97pts Jeb Dunnuck
An absolute gem of a Saint-Julien, the 2022 Château Branaire-Ducru clocks in as 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, and the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Pure cassis, black raspberries, spicy wood, and dried flower notes all define the aromatics, and it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a silky, elegant, beautifully balanced mouthfeel, and terrific tannins. In addition, it has a sense of freshness and purity that keeps you coming back to the glass. It's clearly the finest wine I've tasted from this château, which going forward merits serious attention.
95-97pts Tim Atkin
The 2022 Branaire Ducru was harvested from 12-24 September at 34.5hL/ha, the blend representative of their vineyard plantings. This feels refined and focused on the nose with plush red berry fruit, dried rose petals and orange rind scents. Classic Branaire. The palate is fresh on the entry with pliant tannins. It's very well structured to the degree that it conveys a sense of symmetry. Lightly spiced toward the finish with notes of graphite lingering on the aftertaste, this represents an excellent Branaire Ducru that will age over many years and will surely appeal to those seeking more classical Saint-Julien. Tasted three times and was more impressive each time. Branaire-Ducru continues its upward trajectory under proprietor François-Xavier Maroteaux.
One of the standouts of the vintage that impressed equally on three different occasions. Fragrant and expressive on the nose, lovely scents and dark fruits. Smooth and crisp, silky but concentrated, such precision and detail straight away with succulent and juicy acidity. There’s concentration no doubt, it’s ripe and intense, the dark perfumed blackcurrants and black cherries give a serious backbone and tension to the wine, while the minty, stony freshness carries the flavour and gives the energy and definition. Excellently weighted on the palate, with structure and a mouthwatering sensation that comes in once the weight settles. So well constructed with a beautiful texture and overall integration of all the elements. Exceptional quality and drinkability on offer with a delicious salty, graphite and flint finish that puts you at the estate. Overlook this at your peril.
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.