Chateau Branaire Ducru, Saint Julien, France.
Classified as a Fourth Growth Grand Cru Classe in 1855, I visited Chateau Branaire Ducru Owners, Patrick & Evelyn Maroteaux, who have managed the Estate since 1988. This gorgeous estate is located in the Saint-Julien appellation of the Medoc region of Bordeaux. With a mix of grape varieties - Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petite Verdot, it has become one of the elite wines of Bordeaux.
I had the pleasure of meeting Patrick at the Le Cinq dinner hosted by the Commanderie De Bordeaux wine club at Gerry Sayers & Ernst Dorfler's magnificent Five Sails Restaurant in Pan Pacific Hotel. I also visited them both for a tour of the Estate, the vineyards, the winery for tastings and a private luncheon with friends at their home.
Patrick spent a fair bit of time with us explaining the rich history, the harvest taking place and tasting some of his vintages. In the earlier days, Branaire Ducru was part of the massive Beychevelle Estate. Upon the passing of the owner, leaving a huge estate debt, the vineyard was broken up and sold in pieces to clear the debt, creating several new estates which included Chateau Branaire Ducru. Patrick acquired the winery in 1988, coming from a background in banking and President of a large sugar company. Patrick’s efforts and focus resulted in massive growth of the operation.
It was very sad to learn of Patrick’s passing in November 2017. He will be missed and his Son will carry on a magnificent wine legacy. I am so blessed to have experienced and enjoyed him in his favorite environment.