Château Brane-Cantenac is a 2nd growth, and was for many years the home of Lucien Lurton - it is now owned and run by his son Henri. Its vineyards are located west of the village of Cantenac in the Margaux appellation and lie on fine, gravelly soils. Vinification includes up to 18 months' wood ageing, a third to a half in new `barriques'.
Brane Cantenac was perceived throughout much of the 70s and 80s as an underperforming property. Since Henri took over, there has been extensive investment in the cuverie and chai, as well as vastly improved vineyard management techniques. Consequently, the wines at Brane Cantenac now show more weight and concentration, although they still possess that haunting bouquet and quintessential elegance that characterise the wines of Margaux.
'Tasted at the Brane-Cantenac vertical at the château, the 1995 Brane-Cantenac is a blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc. It has retained that lovely bouquet of raspberry coulis, strawberry, leather and a touch of iodine - clearly the best aromatics of the nineties. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grain tannin, though not as grippy as previous bottles, the tannins having melted in recent years. There is something almost Asian about the finish - hints of hoisin lining the finish plus a tingle of Shezhuan pepper on the aftertaste. Probably at its peak, I would aver that this was Henri Lurton's first bonafide success at Brane-Cantenac after taking over at the beginning of the decade. Tasted March 2016.' 93pts Neal Martin, www.robertparker.com Drink 2016-2030