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This is opulent, but with restraint. The fruit is rich, black and delicious. Touches of spice and wood are present, lending complexity to the ripe fruits and balanced tannins. Impressive.
As usual, the 2005 Branaire-Ducru is one of the more distinctive wines of St.-Julien. Proprietor Patrick Maroteaux has turned out another classic. While not as opulent or fleshy as the 2003, and it remains to be seen if it will eclipse the 2000, the 2005 is a big, structured, intensely rich effort with raspberry, blueberry, and spring flower garden characteristics, stunning purity, full-bodied power, and good underlying acidity as well as harmony. The hard tannins suggest 8-9 years of cellaring will be beneficial; it should last for three decades. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030+.
Already back in 1680 when Jean-Baptiste Braneyre acquired the estate, he understood how exceptional this wonderful terroir was, made up mainly of stones, called "graves" in the Medoc, and located so near the very wide Gironde estuary.
The soils are unique in their mineral make-up and are the cornerstone of the wines' special quality. Together with those of other prestiguos neighbors they form the extraordinary little unit known around the world under the name of Saint-Julien. Their prestige was confirmed in 1855 when 61 chateaux were listed in the classification of Medoc Grand Crus and Branaire-Ducru was one of them.
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