Clos du Marquis and Branaire-Ducru 2006

Clos du Marquis - St.Julien 2006

Plums and blackcurrants on the nose, with a little toast and some red berries. The first sip was disappointingly bland, so much so that I opened a Branaire-Ducru 06 instead, but I was proved wrong - a few hours later it had opened beautifully, with very silky notes of blackcurrant and plum, then a little spicy blackberry, and wafts of dark raspberry, hints of wild strawberry, plus a little menthol midpalate. It’s simply excellent, a classic combination of silky elegance and real depth midpalate. The best Clos du Marquis I have ever had. 93 pts

Branaire-Ducru - St.Julien 2006

Quite a dark nose of black cherry and plums, a touch of black tapenade too, only lightened by some redcurrants at the end. In the mouth, a little rustic and compact, especially next to the CdM - dark cherries and spicy blackberry, with quite a shy wave of blackcurrant midpalate. Decent finish. Not bad - promising better in the future, not ready now. 90 pts

The nice surprise was the Clos du Marquis. I tried multiple vintages of this over three decades before finally throwing in the towel after the 2000. I always found the wine to be perfectly competent, but no better than the average second wine and overpriced. In fact, I remember a Moulin Riche 99 comfortably outclassing it at half the price. The idea that CdM could somehow be reinvented as a “separate wine” selling at the same prices as many other St.Julien CCs seemed ludicrous and I sold my remaining bottles.

I was given a bottle of 06 last year and I confidently expected it to be in the same vein as all previous bottles - but I could not have been more wrong. I don’t know when the transformation happened, but the 06 was totally different compared to all previous vintages I had tried, The similarity with LLC was blatantly obvious - in fact, I would say that the Cdm 06 is better than some LLCs from the mid-90s (eg the 93 or the 94). So impressive stuff indeed.

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Clos du marquis is the second wine of Leoville Las Cases and is alsways a great buy.