The nose, which is very expressive, shows a nice complexity of ripe fruit, well balanced by fresher notes. The intensity of the bouquet develops with aeration and the oak is well integrated.
A really fine bouquet, classic in style but with more fruit intensity than the 2017: blackberry, bilberry, cedar and a touch of singed leather. It is very Saint-Julien.
This is a fantastic Branaire with deep and dark fruit, such as blackberries and blackcurrants.
Lots of raspberries, too. Full-bodied with firm and creamy tannins and a super long finish.
The first impression on the palate is one of silky roundness with impressive volume, overlaying extremely fine tannins. The wine develops slowly and gradually on the palate, following its logical path to a voluptuous mid-palate with beautiful density: always refined – never overpowering.
The aromatic complexity, and delicious acidity are omni-present with a lovely long-lasting fruit finish ensuring freshness and lift.
The house style of Branaire-Ducru is very evident in the 2018 vintage: expressive fruit, great finesse and balance, wonderful freshness, but always with exceptional depth, density and refinement.
During the winter of 2017 and the spring of 2018 there was a lot of rainfall: resulting in the water table reaching a good level. This ensured that the soils in the vineyard provided perfect conditions for the development of vegetation. However, the same beneficial rain also brought with it a certain propensity for the development of mildew, which was managed with extra vigilance and care. Bud burst was rather late, but homogeneous. Spring was warm and flowering took place under good conditions.
By mid-July things had changed substantially: summer was hot and very dry. The slight delay in bud burst was easily made up for and 2018 proved to be amongst the earliest ripening vintages for years. Autumn too was hot and dry. The grapes reached perfect maturity and showed no signs of any vegetal character. Sugar levels were high, the juice concentrated, the grapes showed good IPT levels and the pips were ripe from an early stage.
Thanks to superb weather conditions we were able to take our time harvesting: starting on the 19th of September and finishing, still under exceptional weather conditions, with the last perfectly ripe plots, on the 10th of October.
The Merlot grapes were of medium-size, but the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes were very small, which made it possible to make wines with a superb density.
At Branaire-Ducru, the output (number of inflorescences per vine) was very regular (even in the few parcels which had been affected by frost in April 2017). The even flowering meant that with vigilance and good control of any potential mildew problems, we were able to reach target volumes, with a great regularity throughout the whole of the vineyard - even in the very old parcels: the average yield of the vineyard this year was in the order of 53 hl / ha.
A deep garnet-purple color.