Located in Saint Julien, Chateau Branaire-Ducru started life as part of the neighbouring Chateau Beychevelle estate until, in 1680, Jean-Baptise Braneyre purchased a piece of the estate having understood the potential of the gravelly terroir. Jean-Baptise gave his name to the new state, with the spelling later being changed to Brainaire. The 1855 classification confirmed the quality of the terroir Jean-Baptiste had bought, with the Chateau being ranked as a 4eme Cru Classe. The Chateau itself was built by his descendants in 1824 before being inherited by a relative, Gustave Ducru, and remained in the family until 1919.
Covering 60 hectares, the estate has views over the Gironde Estuary with vines growing in quaternary silicious and gravel alluvium soils. The Chateau has remained true to the Saint Julien style over the course of its history, creating pure and elegant wines that are full of ripe fruit and are well balanced. The vineyards are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and a smaller percentage of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with the vines having an average age of 35 years.
In 1988, Patrick Maroteaux bought the estate and invested heavily in all aspects of the Chateau, from production technology to carrying out extensive work in the vineyards and cellar. Since 2017 the estate has been run by Patrick’s son, Francois-Xavier Maroteaux, who strives to continue the estate’s legacy in producing top quality wine alongside consulting oenologist Eric Boissenot. Branaire Ducru was the first left bank estate to start filling their tanks entirely by gravity, which minimises damage to grapes. The grapes are then fermented for three weeks in temperature controlled stainless steel vats. Once fermentation is complete, they are transferred to age for 18-24 months in 65% new oak. The proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend is 80-85% in most years, which is one of the highest in the Médoc. These wines have become increasingly refined over the years and are made to age, often showing their best after at least 10 years in the bottle. The Chateau’s second wine, Duluc de Branaire Ducru, is made from the estate’s younger vines and is released in a more approachable style.