Until the mid 17th century Branaire-Ducru had been part of a `super-estate` that included Ducru-Beaucaillou and others. It was split up at that time and went through the hands of a succession of families through inheritance or sale and experienced varying fortunes until in the first half of the 20th century it left to run down after suffering the phylloxera problem and rescued after WW2 by corporate investors who reconstructed both vineyards and chais.
Branaire-Ducru is not a single, contiguous entity as an estate, in fact it is perhaps the most parcellated of any St-Julien. The vines planted across the plots are 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Merlot. In most years two thirds of production is the grand vin and one third the second wine Duluc du Branaire-Ducru. This is a chateau that consistently punches above its weight. You might say that the four crowns in the corners of the label, which represent the four noblest families of previous owners, also represent the high breeding of the wine. Continuing investment is paying dividends in wine quality. (CW 19/02/18)