(72% cabernet sauvignon, 20% merlot, 4.5% petit verdot and 3.5% cabernet franc; 3.75 pH; 13% alcohol): Bright ruby-red. Intense mocha and sweet spice notes complicate ripe dark cherry and macerated plum aromas on the very ripe, deep nose. Large-scaled and plush, with ripe but not cooked red and black fruit flavors. Surprisingly lively acidity and seamless tannins give the wine good support. Finishes creamy and long, with a repeating note of mocha. For the most part I am not a fan of the 2003 Bordeaux owing to the furnace-like summer, but the Branaire-Ducru is a knockout and owner Patrick Maroteaux has always told me he thinks it’s one of the best wines he has ever made. Not surprisingly in 2003, the grapes were harvested much earlier and faster than usual, between September 9 and 24.
Smudgy garnet. Smells warm and southern and spicy. A bit dry/hard in the middle and the tannins firm on the end. (JH)
Anticipated maturity: 2009-2014