Branaire-Ducru has a history dating back to the 17th century when the property was part of the enormous Beychevelle estate. Beychevelle was broken up (in order to pay the bills of a former owner), leading to the creation of several new estates, including Branaire, which was created by Jean-Baptiste Braneyre. By 1824, the chateau building had been built and in 1875, Ducru was appended to the name with the purchase of the property by Gustave Ducru.
In 1988, current proprietor Patrick Maroteaux, a businessman with experience in both banking and the sugar industry, purchased the property and set about an extensive renovation and modernization of the facilities and vineyards. He also brought in a young Philippe Dhalluin, a veritable superstar in the Bordeaux wine world, who has since become director of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild. And the work has paid off handsomely as Branaire-Ducru is now considered one of Saint Julien’s top properties. With the untimely passing of Patrick in 2017, his son Xavier has taken the reins at the estate.
The 60 hectare vineyard is planted to 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Merlot. The terroir of Branaire-Ducru consists of deep gravel and clay soils, with a modest 50 foot elevation, and is divided into 15 blocks of vines and 70 distinct parcels with an average age of 35 years. Fermentation is temperature controlled and takes place in stainless steel vats of varying size, with each vat sized to the specific needs of each vineyard parcel. The wine is aged in 60-65% new French oak with the balance used oak of varying age.