Château Brane Cantenac
Domain Brane Cantenac history and wine
This prestigious wine estate is located in the commune of Cantenac in the Gironde. Classified as the second Grand Cru in the official classification of 1855, the history of this 75 hectare property dates back to the beginning of the 17th century. Its wines are renowned for their racy and balanced style. Many of its best vintages are relatively recent. Let's take a closer look at the history of Château Brane Cantenac and the characteristics of its wines.
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History of the Brane Cantenac estate
As early as the 17th century, Château Brane Cantenac was already listed as a winery producing wines with a good rating. It was then called successively Hostein and Gorce after its owners. At the end of the 18th century, the estate's wine was listed behind that of Latour. But the Revolution tore the Gorce family apart. The young orphan, Marie-Françoise de Gorce, was forced to sell the property to Baron Hector de Brane in 1833. The latter completely restructured it and allowed it to be classified as a second Grand Cru in the Margaux appellation. His son Jacques-Maxime de Brane continued to improve the estate to make it a modern operation and gave it the name Brane-Cantenac. However, with no heir, the baron decided to sell it to his friends, the Roy family. Due to the financial difficulties caused by the war, the son-in-law of the Roy family left it abandoned again and sold it to the Société des Grands Crus de France. After the dissolution of this structure in 1925, one of its shareholders took over the château, which he then bequeathed to his son-in-law, François Lutton. The latter's second son, Lucien Lutton, an agricultural engineer by training, then inherited it. He took the reins of the estate, restored its reputation and propelled it to the top. Between 1956 and 1970, this man of the field and no less talented winegrower acquired 11 châteaux, 6 of which are classified as crus. Today, his son Henri manages the estate with the help of his other elder sons. They have set themselves the goal of perpetuating the complex and balanced style of the estate's wine.
Terroir and winemaking process of the estate
Like many wines, the products of this estate have also experienced ups and downs due to many factors such as the richness or poverty of the organic components of the soil, rainfall, sunshine etc. The vineyard covers 75 ha and is planted with grape varieties consisting of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 4.5% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot and 0.5% Carménère. The terroir is composed of gravelly, clay and sandy soils. The estate now adopts a policy of integrated farming and a reduced ecological footprint for part of its vineyard area, as well as parcel-based vinification. Modernisations of the cellars and vats are also undertaken to enable it to be at the cutting edge of modern viticulture. To produce its exceptional wines, Domain Brane Cantenac vinifies its wines in concrete, oak, and stainless steel vats ranging in size from 40 hl to 200 hl. The oldest vines are vinified in oak vats. The grapes are then fermented in a combination of new French oak and vats for 17 months before bottling. The lees are kept for the first 2 months of ageing to give the wine its deep character.
Quality of the wines of the Brane Cantenac estate
The wines of the estate have an elegant, light and feminine style with fine tannins. The young wines are recommended for those who want to learn how to taste. But they are also very pleasant to drink after one or two decades of ageing. Younger vintages can be decanted for 2 hours to allow the sediment to settle to the bottom while aerating and softening the wine. Older vintages can also be decanted just to remove sediment. The best vintages reach their maximum maturity between 15 and 35 years after the release of the vintage.
-Château Brane Cantenac 1928: this rare vintage 2nd Grand Cru Classé 1855 is available in excellent conditions on Vins Grands Crus. It is a true masterpiece of the estate with a medium reddish brown colour and beautiful, balanced aromas of wild red fruit, dried flowers and a palate of minerals, chocolate and tobacco. All this with silky, elegant tannins, perfect acidity and a long finish. A wine at its best that can be drunk on its own. A rare treat for wine lovers.
-Château Brane Cantenac 1947: another rich, high-flying post-war bouquet that time has failed to spoil. This highly regarded 1947 2nd Growth with long aging is ripe cherry-colored with medium opacity, silky flavors and deep perfume. Superb and lively, this vintage with minimal deposit also delivers on its promise as an exceptional vintage.
-Château Brane Cantenac 1976: The Château offers here a blend of 4 grape varieties harvested in 1976. Like most of the estate's vintages, it has good staying power and a long finish. The nose leaves aromas of black fruits, leather and pepper. The colour and structure are light but refined and elegant. The wine is well preserved and has decent tannins. It is an ideal wine for a thank you gift or a gift for an important event.
-Château Brane Cantenac 2000: This wine is considered the best of the estate's younger vintages and has a dense ruby/purple colour. It is accompanied by a myriad of very distinctive, dense aromas of juicy blue, red, and black fruits, as well as a hint of wetlands, smoke, black currants, and tobacco. On the palate, it also evolves with spicy, ripe round, lush, savoury, delicate and firm flavours. All this with a medium length.
-Château Brane Cantenac 2008: this garnet-coloured vintage Margaux reaches its peak between 2020 and 2030. It develops powerful aromas of juicy black fruits and spices. On the palate, it displays fruit notes, coated tannins and a long finish with mineral notes. A wine that will age well and is likely to reveal further nuances of aroma and flavour after a few years. A must have in your bar cabinet!
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