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History

Vineyards are stamped with the will of men. Begun 250 years ago, Brane-Cantenac’s legend is the tale of a thriving relationship between man and earth, which grows stronger as the ages go by. Named ‘Hostein’ in the 18th Century, this great wine estate was bought by the Gorce family, and produced one of the Medoc’s most renowned wines long before the 1855 classification.

As for our 2nd wine, Baron de Brane, its name pays hommage to the famous Baron Jacques-Maxime de Brane, the ’Napoléon des Vignes’, owner of the property in the 19th Century. For the past four generations the Lurton family has been at the helm, devoted wardens who continue to ensure that the property flourishes, producing wines of the greatest quality.

Since 1992, Henri has continued the journey that his father and ancestors began. Although a proponent of innovation and new technology, Henri is careful never to lose sight of the traditional values that remain an inherent part of Brane’s identity. Above all, he is proud of the unique terroir, and recognises the need to treat the soil, vines and grapes with immense respect as he carefully steers Brane’s future course.

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Vineyards

Brane Cantenac’s vineyard is carefully tended all the year round : improvements to drainage, new plantings adapted to the plots , severe pruning and de-budding to limit the crop and hand harvesting. When Henri Lurton took over the estate from his father , in 1992, he put into practice all that he had learnt  throughout his extensive training and experience acquired in vineyards all over the world. The wine of Brane is prepared in its vineyards. The family’s relationship with this land was founded by his great-grand-father, in 1922. It has continued through fine and less-than-fine vintages, through difficult or more favorable economic contexts. Such steadfast attachment has nothing to do with fashion.

 

 

Château Brane-Cantenac has built its legend around a vineyard of 75 hectares comprised  of different plots. The biggest of these lies right in front of the château of the finest bench of large-sized gravel within the Margaux appellation. This area which rises above the surrounding land is called the plateau de Brane it’s as if the earth has swelled up with pride to show off its potential. The layers of stones, from the former river-bed of the Garonne, lie as deep as 10 meters there. These are unfertile soils which also have a warming influence, favoring the region’s preferred grape, the cabernet sauvignon. They make it work hard, sending its roots deep to find sustenance.

 


Vineyards are stamped with man’s will. They grow according to its design and will produce their best fruit for he who has trust in them. A great wine cannot exist without this exchange. The time it takes to understand one another can seem long. At Brane, the learning process began 250 years ago, with the odd period of silence in between. The Lurton family has continued the dialogue over the past four generations. Since 1992, Henri, Lucien’s son, holds the floor, continuing in his father’s footsteps. It is his turn to strive for that ideal balance between man and nature which, alone can obtain the best from a particular terroir.

 

 

From mid September onwards, things get busy in the vineyard. The château nestling behind the Brane plateau ceases to be a haven of peace. It’s time to harvest and 100 hands and arms come into play, to cut, sort and then carry the bunches to the cellars. Harvest is the culminating point of the year’s work. All year long, no effort has been spared to care for and nurture this land, producing reasonable yields of around 45 hectoliters per hectare. The order to harvest is only given after the grapes have been analyzed and, above all, tasted. When each plot has reached the required point of maturity, a group of pickers starts work. Harvest often finishes in October in the flurry of excitement that accompanies any birth.

 

 

The transformation of grapes into wine is a short, violent and turbulent process. Called fermentation, it transfigures and focuses the year’s work. It requires some very sophisticated equipment which will only be used for a few weeks every year. The grapes are brought in and carefully sorted, variety by variety, and plot by plot. Then comes crushing, fermentation, maceration, pressing and filling the barrels. Every stage requires the right tolls and impeccable hygiene.

 

 

 

 

Brane-Cantenac has a long history behind it which has forged its identity. But between the sometimes stifling weight of tradition and the temptation to make a clean sweep of the past, there is a middle ground to be trodden. Brane-Cantenac has kept what is relevant in traditional practice, adding selected elements from modern techniques. The aim being always to handle grapes and wine in the most gentle natural way possible. For example, Henri Lurton combines the advantages of traditional wooden vats with those of stainless steel and concrete ones. Their moderate size enables individual treatment of batches. Such combined techniques increase the options available at blending time.

 

 

 

Tranquilit after the storm. The cellar is a functional place with no frills; dark and cool, perfectly adapted to its purpose. The wine now requires peace and quiet, as well as surrounding fresh air and people to look after it. It rests, like a patient gaining in strength and refinement, preparing itself for the long haul of its future life in the bottle.  In order to face a time-span that will, for many of these bottles, exceed 20 years, it has to gradually absorb oxygen through the barrel staves in the quiet darkness of the cellar.  Life ticks along, peacefully and gently. Ageing has begun, and it is part of the oenologists’ job to judge its pace and read its language.  At Brane-Cantenac, the type of barrel used is adapted to the vintage’s % nature (up to 70% new oak) and to the length of ageing required (around 18 months)

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Winemaking

As a living, constantly evolving product, a great wine requires attention, patience and a certain degree of experience. Since 1999, Henri Lurton has made it his aim to produce each year the best wine possible while remaining faithful to the outstanding, historic terroir of Brane. Since 1997, a new, spacious vat cellar, modern wine-making techniques and a new team have enabled him to rise to this challenge.

However, gaining a technological cutting edge is not an end in itself. Even when new ideas have been properly tried and tested, they are only adopted if they can bring about definite improvements. At Brane, wine production is more based on what the soil can offer. Henri Lurton above all seeks to achieve optimal grape quality and perfectly healthy and ripe fruit.

 

The quality of the tannins in a wine is the key to its ageing potential. Achieving quality tannins however is also dependent on terroir and the age of the vines; and enhancing that quality assumes grapes that have ripened to perfection (neither under-ripe, nor over-ripe). Those tannins then have to be extracted gently from the grapes during the vinification. This is the reason why Henri Lurton for the last twenty years has tasted the grapes himself before every vintage, so as to choose the right date to begin the picking. With his experience and expertise he can predict with precision the potential of each parcel.

Brane’s greatest asset is the amazing quality of its historic terroir, because at the end of the day wine is made in the vineyard. This is why Henri Lurton attaches such great importance to vine canopy work, very strict selection and moderate yields (an average yield of 45hl/ha). Contrary to what may have been written about the estate, Brane produces a very limited quantity of First Wine. Scarcely a third of the production carries the famous gold and black label! The two other thirds are divided between Baron de Brane, the Second Wine, and Château Notton.

 

Harvesting by hand, transporting of the grapes to the cellar by the Air Tec Wine carrier and sorting using the Vistalys de Bucher optical sorting line process guarantee that the berries that end up in the fermentation vats are of perfect quality.

Henri Lurton believes that a great wine should combine structure with elegance and possess great aromatic purity. Château Brane Cantenac’s aromatic qualities have been acknowledged for a great many years. Its bouquet develops over time. The more the wine ages, the greater power it develops.  

 

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People

  • Henri Lurton

    Owner
    "As a living, constantly evolving product, a great wine requires attention, patience and a certain degree of experience".

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Brane-Cantenac . In a tasting of  30 wines 

Château La Conseillante 1945-2015 / La Conseillante 2005 95p. Tasted four times. Consistent notes. Yield - 38 hl/ha. Great stuff coming from this outstanding vintage. Truffles, seductive nose. elegant and incredibly classy wine, red meat, very sophisticated and with excellent length and structure, incredibly long aftertaste. Fantastic wine and I wonder if 2010 will turn out to be better.

2m 14d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Brane-Cantenac . In a tasting of  126 wines 

Every now and again one stumbles across a paradox that confounds the accepted natural order of things. The 2016 Bordeaux vintage was born out of a growing season that was near-catastrophe and near-perfection. After the Hesperian Dragon’s relentless torment, the Titan God Atlas had seemingly kept the sky aloft with the help of a Phoenix. Following five months of diabolical weather patterns, a warm to hot dry summer arrived in the nick of time, not only saving a vintage, but creating one of the most spectacular vintages in a lifetime.


 The sense of relief in Bordeaux must have been as thrilling as avoiding the bullet of Russian Roulette, or the adrenalin of surviving a base-jump. The razor’s edge has never been so exquisitely fine. While the end result is not always perfect, with the odd abrasions here and there, the overall quality of the 2016 Bordeaux vintage is remarkably consistent with many Chateaux making some of their best wines in 50 years. Typically, the wines have deep colours, pure fruit aromatics, generous saturated flavours, dense rich tannin structures and bell clear acidities. Precision, freshness, elegance, smoothness and “delicate opulence” are words that are being used by various Chateaux to describe their wines.


 The Bordelais are, of course, the world’s greatest spin doctors. They leave snake charmers for dead when it comes to the art of mesmerising. The newly opened and impressive Cité du Vin, which sits on the banks of the Garonne River in Bordeaux, sparkles like a polished turd; a monument to the exaggerations and optimism of this particular type of fine wine game. Momentum is achieved through belief. There is no room for wavering or self-doubt.

3m 25d ago

 Christer Byklum / Leading Scandinavian wine blogger, Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Brane-Cantenac . In a tasting of  55 wines 

Finally, after some busy days tasting back home in Oslo, here is 2016 Margaux. A vintage with a lot of success in this commune as well. Beautiful texture, pure fruits and that gorgeous scented in abundance almost Margaux typicity that is shining very clearly this year. Another stellar commune in 2016.

3m 25d ago

 Izak Litwar / The most important Scandinavian Bordeaux Critic, Pro (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Brane-Cantenac . In a tasting of  161 wines 

Bordeaux 2016 vintage!

4m 23h ago

 Jeannie Cho Lee MW, Pro (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Brane-Cantenac . In a tasting of  30 wines 

My TOP 30 wines of the Bordeaux 2016 vintage.

4m 3d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Brane-Cantenac . In a tasting of  272 wines 

BORDEAUX VINTAGE 2016 / Tasting "en primeur" is a challenge every year. The wines tasted are showing a tendency only and it is still the beginning of a longer process of evolution and maturation in the barrels. There might be some changes during the next year and a half until the wines will be bottled, but already today the tendency is quite clear. For most of the red wines it will be an outstanding vintage, a vintage for Cabernet, old vines, limestone and clay soil. It was a challenging year for the vintners. An incredibly wet spring was worrying the winegrowers and at the beginning of June, the spirits were down. However warm and dry weather between June 3 and June 11 creating an close to ideal situation for the flowering and good weather conditions starting in mid June changed the nature of the vintage. The fine weather continued into July and August. The month of August was featuring hot weather and a remarkable amount of sunshine but the absence of rain let to water stress. Heavy rain in mid September set an end to water stress and when the sun returned on September 20 the vintage was saved as there was excellent weather till to the end of the harvest. The effects were various. the white wines are on a good quality level and display fruit and flavour but the acidity is lower than in previous vintages and the white wines show an opulent and rather soft style. The noble sweet wines are extremely pure and are more on the rich and powerful side than on the freshness. For the red wines originating from the right terroirs and old vines, the vintage an be called outstanding. Water stress was managed well on limestone and clay terroirs, Cabernet varieties did extremely well and old vines found water even during the stressful dry periods of summer. In some few red wines the tannins are slightly harsh, almost bitter, a result of water stress and/or intense extraction. In general the red wines are on an excellent level with an advantage for the left bank, mainly the Médoc area, and the classic great terroirs of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. 

4m 5d ago

 Mikke Frisk, Wine Collector (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Brane-Cantenac . In a tasting of  28 wines 

DRC Romanée-Conti 1961, Pétrus 1961, Unico 1961, Krug 1961, Château margaux 1961....etc.

6m 13d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Brane-Cantenac . In a tasting of  104 wines 

“Bordeaux Vintage 2015 Part I / Vieux Château Certan 2015:100 points: Deep colour. Fresh aromatic musky dark plum aromas with praline, fine espresso, vanilla oak. Sweet dark cherry, musky plum praline violet flavours, beautiful long fine chalky silky tannins, superb savoury oak complexity and mid palate viscosity.  Fine dry grainy finish with beautiful flavour length. A very sophisticated wine with lovely freshness and line. Finesse and elegance. ”

1y 4m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Brane-Cantenac . In a tasting of  502 wines 

“2015 will be one of the excellent vintages however hardly to compare to 2009 and 2010 or 2005. In 2015 the region played a major role, terroir was the key to success. For red wines, the limestone plateau in Saint-Emilion performed extremely well as there was water available during the hot summer days and drainage proved to be ideal during rainy August. Therefore the best wines of Saint-Emilion come from limestone soils. The sandy parts of the appellation produced a quite heterogeneous result. In Pomerol it looked the same with very successful wines from the central plateau and more heterogeneous qualities from the areas around. In Fronsac it was not only the terroir which proved important, the vintners decision had a major impact. Pessac-Léognan did extremely well in this vintage with a homogenous quality. The Médoc was divided. The southern part, mainly Margaux and the southern part of Saint-Julien have seen less rain and produced more powerful wines. The northern part of the Médoc, especially Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe have produced a very fine and elegant style with excellent persistence. On the good terroirs, the seeds were ripe which results in very ripe tannins with a silky or velvety expression. In addition the cooler conditions of autumn provoked a very pure and fresh fruit. For the dry white wines the quality depends very much on the origin again. Due to the hot and dry growing season, a lot of white wines show very mild, almost soft acidity but also some phenolic hints in the aftertaste. A few dry white wines are standing out, having preserved freshness and acidity. The sweet wines are remarkably good, very rich in character and the best of them have a crisp acidity balancing the opulent sugar. The tasting conditions were rather good, however the weather was quite mixed affecting the presentation of the wines. The wines were tasted blind where possible and open. The final decision on the rating is based on both tasting types.”

1y 4m ago

 Sho-Chieh Tsiang / Sommelier, Pro (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Brane-Cantenac . In a tasting of  24 wines 

“First day of the Bordeaux 2015 en Primeur-tasting is behind - my favourites are so far Angelus, Canon, Canon-la-Caffeliere, Smith-Haut-Lafitte and Domaine de Chevalier.”

1y 4m ago

 John Kapon / CEO / Ackerr Merrall & Condit, Pro (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Brane-Cantenac . In a tasting of  30 wines 

“My notes started out with the universally accepted .Ooooooooooooo, plus or minus an o or two. This was very nutty in the nose, in an oily way this time, and was very rich and almost creamy. The palate was enormous, especially the concentration of fruit. The oily texture of the fruit was amazing and really left an impression. The nose got more and more complex, and the wine had great t .n a. The palate was .so f.ing delicious,. I put. Sometimes, less is more when it comes to the pen. It was beefy and oily with traces of toasted brown sugar. Yum - 97 points Bruno Giacosa Le Rocche del Falletto 1990.”

1y 7m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW / Best Sommelier in the World 1998, MW (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Brane-Cantenac . In a tasting of  124 wines 

“Today’s Bordeaux 2013 tasting was very interesting. Margaux and Saint-Julien are performing much better than in the primeur tasting.”

1y 7m ago

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