Chateau Cantenac-Brown, Margaux 2015
A sophisticated and smooth Margaux, blending vibrant and balanced expressions
|Critics Top Rating
NEW, Top Rated
Bordeaux Blend, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
Formal Entertainment, Indulgence
Bordeaux, Bordeaux – Left Bank
Cantenac-Brown, a 3ème Cru Classé estate, is located in the Haut-Medoc wine appellation on the western extremes of the Margaux appellation.
As with so many Bordeaux estates, the tale of the last 120 years focuses on early years of problems, caused by both vineyard diseases and economic depradations, followed by recent revival once the property has been bought by someone with the means to invest properly in its future.
The revitalisation of Cantenac-Brown only really looked a realistic possibility with its acquisition in by AXA Millésimes in 1989. The AXA team, led at that time by the since semi-retired Jean-Michel Cazes, with the help of Daniel Llose and under the direction of Christian Seely, began to turn the estate around. The team had a history of success in Bordeaux, not least at Lynch-Bages but at other estates such as Pichon-Baron, Suduiraut and Quinta do Noval.
Cantenac Brown has 42 hectares of vineyards – 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc.
Cantenac Brown is typically Margaux in character – fragrant and perfumed on the nose and medium bodied and harmonious on the palate, with soft cassis-scented fruits and a lingering finish.
The soul of a great terroir, a radiant, full-bodied, velvety wine for keeping. It stands out by its fresh fruit flavours, its density and its very fine tannins. Its best vintages express freshness, an elegant bouquet of red and black fruits, with opulence and tension on the finish, and spicy undertones.
Wine Enthusiast – 94-96 points
Beautiful dusty tannins permeate this ripe wine. It has a smooth and rich texture, with bright blackberry flavors and a refreshing, vibrant close.
Decanter – 95 points
I love the fruit here, with pure´ed damson and deeply focussed, bitter dark chocolate. It has lovely grip and persistency, a wine that you want to take your time with and watch as it develops. It is poised and balanced, with lots of impact and well-extracted, not afraid to push things, but pulls back at the end. 60% new oak.
Vinous – 95 points
A rich, exotic wine, the 2015 Cantenac Brown is simply stunning. Dark cherry, plum, mocha, espresso, licorice and leather all flesh out in this ample, voluptuous Margaux. A rush of super-ripe dark cherry, plum, violet, lavender and sweet French oak builds as this plush, explosive wine shows off its bold personality. The 2015 is quite concentrated and extracted in style, and yet all the elements are wonderfully fused together. I would give the 2015 at least a few years to assimilate some of its new oak.
Jeb Dunnuck – 94 points
Readers who need more proof that Margaux was the place to be in 2015 just need to taste the 2015 Château Cantenac Brown. Based on roughly 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot it offers an extraordinary nose of crème de cassis, caramelized cherries, flowers, and spices. This medium to full-bodied effort has plenty of tannins, as well as toasty oak, yet is perfectly balanced and has a great mix of both freshness and richness. It’s a tour de force that will be drinkable in 4-5 years and last for 25-30 years!
James Suckling – 94 points
Instantly appealing ripe dark berries and plums with graphite and other dark stony notes. Very well-integrated wood here. The palate has a plush, suave and supple feel to it. Great concentration and energy. Really intense yet fresh finish. Try from 2022.
Wine Spectator – 94 points
This brims with voluble plum cake, boysenberry and blackberry compote flavors, embedded with brambly structure while keeping a polished feel overall. Alluring black tea, roasted alder and licorice details line the finish. You’ll want to jump on this one. Best from 2022 through 2035.
Wine Advocate – 92-94 points
The 2015 Cantenac Brown follows their excellent 2014 with another great Margaux. Here, a nuanced nose that does not come racing from the blocks, but keep your nose in the glass and it reveals detailed blackberry, cranberry and strawberry aromas that are neatly embroidered with the new oak. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, quite tensile tannin. There is breeding interwoven into this Margaux, palpable sophistication, and it finishes with panache, fanning out with lightly spiced red and black fruit. It is not the most ostentatious Margaux in what is a fecund season for the appéllation, but I suspect it will surprise a few wine-lovers as its ages.