Château Cantenac Brown 2011
• Domaine: Château Cantenac Brown
• Appellation: Margaux
• Classification: Third Growth, 3ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
The striking Tudor architecture of Château Cantenac Brown sets this Third Growth apart from the other properties in Margaux. There’s a proud but friendly atmosphere here. And there is a lot to be proud of at Château Cantenac Brown. From the estate’s charming Scottish roots to the expertly crafted and critically acclaimed wines, Château Cantenac Brown is truly one of the gems of the Margaux region.
Château Cantenac Brown’s story begins with the well-known Scottish animal painter, John Lewis Brown, who purchased the estate in the 19th Century. He decided to change the architecture of the property to a Tudor Mansion, and thus the iconic red brick façade was built. The property changed hands several times both before and after it was ranked as a Third Growth Estate in 1855. This could have been due to a variety of reasons, including the fact that Château Boyd Cantenac was situated in a part of Cantenac that has produced traditionally hard, tannic wines. It was owned by Remy Martin, AXA – the owners of Château Pichon Baron, and the Halabi family. In 2019, the estate was acquired by the Le Lous family, who own the property today. They are incredibly passionate about Château Canteanc Brown, and they believe they can take the estate to new heights in terms of quality.
Tristian Le Lous hails from Burgundy and was introduced to the wines of Bordeaux by his future wife. He fell in love with both the woman and the wines and began an intensive renovation process after purchasing Château Cantenac Brown. His latest and most impressive project consists of building an earthen cellar below the estate. The purpose of this new cellar is to further connect Château Cantenac Brown to the land and create a one-of-a-kind cellar that produces wines of the highest quality. The cellar is projected to guarantee thermal inertia with the perfect humidity thanks to its walls. The project was designed by Philippe Madec, a pioneer in eco-construction. When it is finished, the winery will be a gravity flow winery, preserving the essence of the grapes.
The 62.5-hectare vineyard has plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and small plantings of Cabernet Franc. A small amount of white wine is produced here, and one can find plantings of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon on the property. Though the terroir here is a bit more challenging, with limestone and sand, it is very apparent that those involved in the viticultural processes are able to craft wines that transcend any of nature’s limitations. Château Cantenac Brown practices sustainable viticulture, honoring and respecting the land around them. There is a valuable ecosystem here, with rare trees such as Sequoias and Spanish Firs. The estate produces its own honey, which is a product of the biodiversity campaign they have introduced with insect hotels and wildflower hedgerows.
The wines of Château Cantenac Brown are not meant to be drunk young. They require some time in the cellar and are usually a bit better with 12-15 years in bottle.
"Under a relatively new owner, Cantenac Brown appears to be having some success in taming the tannins, for decades a dominant component part of this wine. The more charming, supple-styled 2011 displays a dense ruby/purple color and a slightly bigger framework than many Margaux, but good purity as well as sweetness of the tannin are present. There is still a touch of rusticity to this offering, but another 1-2 years of bottle age will result in better integration of all the component parts. It should keep for 10-15 years." - Robert Parker Jr., The Wine Advocate (4/29/2014, Issue 212), Ratings: 87, Drink: 2014-2029
"Cantenac Brown is on a roll now, and even in lesser vintages. This is a full, ripe wine packed with black currant flavor, but also structured with solid tannins. With a juicy acidity on the finish, and boosted by its dry core, it's certain to age well. Drink from 2018." - Roger Voss, The Wine Enthusiast (5/2014), Ratings: 94
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