Tasting 11 consecutive years of the Chateau’s grand vin, this event was a fantastic walk through the last decade of Bordeaux vintages, but the evening’s real revelation was the remarkable consistency of character and quality that the wines showed, through these varied times.
Kiran’s tasting notes:
2001: Heady mix of perfume, sandalwood and spice on the nose, lovely savoury and complex flavours in the mouth, fruit & cedar. Delicious, fresh and lively finish. Gorgeous.
2002: Quite closed at first on the nose, some floral hints, opening up after decanting to give delicate mature nose of earth and forest floor, on the palate medium body tasty and rounded.
2003: On the nose baked fruits and some earth and wood, in the mouth more fruit and spice but with enough acidity and lift.
2004: Slowly opening up with floral notes, sandal wood, beginnings of forest floor, lovely silky mouthful of black fruit tart, savoury, balanced, fresh and long. The gem of the evening. As with all of the wines tonight, a haunting perfume characteristic of the Chateaux lingers on in the empty glass. Wow!
2005: A little tight on the nose, sweet green pepper then opening up with blackcurrant, spice and cedar. In the mouth more fruit and a touch of spice. Quite concentrated with nice integrated tannins and great freshness. Still a tightly coiled spring.
2006: Needed decanting, sweet floral and fruity core then a whiff of hoisin sauce on the nose. Concentrated flavours of black fruit and bit of toast on the palate, again compact, packed with nice tannins.
2007: A floral nose with sweet fruit, lighter bodied than the previous wines but with nice red fruits and a few savoury notes, cool and clean.
2008: After decanting and some coaxing revealing some classic black fruit and cedar on the nose, but characteristically of these wines as if delivered from a perfume vaporiser making it delicate and sensual. Medium body, with nice fruit and some savoury notes. Amazing how this wine has evolved into such an enjoyable experience from the awkward and unfriendly barrel sample I tasted EP 4 years ago.
2009: At first not as expressive as last time I tasted this wine (Corrine says it is beginning to close down for a period). After decanting and some air, ripe fruit, flowers a touch of toast, lots of everything making a heady nose. On the palate lovely silky body, lots of fruit with enough savoury notes and a super crisp balance. Remains refined even though a bigger wine. Lovely!
2010: Wow! This wine has an intense yet somehow delicate perfumed nose, violets, red currants. Just a touch of cigar box, the vaporiser is working overtime on this one. Then in the mouth really concentrated, again silky but with strong backbone of tannin. The Chateau seems to really sing in this vintage, hitting equilibrium between refinement and substance. Outstanding!
2011: This wine really impressed. Side by side with the 2010, one could appreciate just how close in quality it is to that great vintage. Similar perfumed delicate nose, a nice sweetness and silky on the palate, with fresh red fruits and a hint of toast, good acidity. Really fine.
Brane-Cantenac is a second growth from the original 1855 Bordeaux wine classification of 1855 in the Margaux appelation. In 1922 it was acquired by the Lurton family and in 1992 control passed to Lucien Lurton’s son, Henri Lurton. Brane-Cantenac’s vineyards lie on fine, gravelly soils, grapes include Cabernet Sauvignon (55%), Merlot (40%), Cabernet Franc (4.5%), and Carmenere (0.5%)
Brane Cantenac wines are available widely. The wonderful 2009 vintage is still vavailable from Nickolls and Perks at a good price http://www.nickollsandperks.co.uk/product.asp?product=NPCS19452
The superb 2004 and older vintages from Fine & Rare: http://www.frw.co.uk/searchWines.aspx?keywords=Brane+Cantenac+2009&sid=4&FRS=ws
The evening was in the private room at Bistro Aix, Crouch End, with a tantalizing selection of French classic cuisine. http://www.bistroaix.co.uk/