In the early 19th century, in the Margaux appellation, John-Lewis Brown (1769-1851) had a magnificent Château built in Cantenac with an English Renaissance influence (Tudor style) reminding him of his Scottish origins. Today, the estate stretches out over 120 acres and is among the most original ones in the Médoc. In 2019, the french Le Lous family bought the Château Cantenac Brown. José Sanfins still leads this new project and big investments are carried out, to support a modern and audacious vision of viticulture.
5% Cabernet Franc
Vineyard & Vinification Note
The vineyard: The Château’s vines are mainly located in Cantenac. In the areas known as «The Plateau», «L’Enclos» and «Benqueyre», the terroir is formed by a succession of knolls shaped by millions of years of erosion. The soils are made up of bank gravel. They are poor soils that let the water infiltrate and force the vines to root deeply in, in search of the essential minerals needed for growth.
The Terroir: In Margaux, alongside the country road and the locality of Marsac in Soussans, vines grow on more clayey limestone soils. Thanks to the diversity and quality of the soils, the estate is sure to produce a fine wine on a regular basis. This terroir, true signature of Margaux wines, is the origin of the elegance and generosity which characterise the wines of the appellation.
The Château uses growing methods fulfilling environmental requirements.
Before each plantation, a pedological study is conducted in order to optimise soil preparation, the choice of the rootstock, or grape variety. The plantation densities are between 8 500 and 10 000 vines per hectare, aimed at encouraging the best expression of the vines.
The estate carefully maintains the soils in the most environmentally friendly way with respect to the terroir (soil ploughing, composting). The vineyard is groomed with precision (desuckering, leaf stripping, shoot removal) in order to ensure an optimal maturation of the fruit.
Each year, 95 people work on the vineyard to harvest the grapes by hand, grape variety by grape variety, plot by plot, at ideal ripeness. Ripeness controls and especially berry tastings determine the date of the harvest.
Wine making: The grapes are carefully carried to the wine cellar in bins to avoid crushing them. They are sorted manually on the table and then go through the destemmer that will separate the berries from their «skeleton» (the stalk).
The berries are all scanned and sorted with an optical sorter that keeps only the best of the harvest, based on the parameters established beforehand by the technical team. This optical sorting makes it possible to remove all the impurities such as the fragments of stalk, shot berries, withered or draged grapes missed during manual sorting.
The alcoholic fermentation of the vines takes place in thermoregulated stainless steel vats. The winemaking process is broken down into the pump-over and soft extraction stages, adapted to each vat and each grape variety, depending on the vintage.
Ageing: When wines in the vat finish their malolactic fermentation, they are moved into barrels, vat by vat, plot by plot. These different batches will be tasted one by one, then blended in proportions that will provide the best alchemy: this is the birth of a wine. Once the blend is elaborated, wines will be moved back into barrels for ageing. In an optimal qualitative aim, rigorous monitoring of the different barrelmakers and regular tastings of our wines throughout the ageing process allow an adapted selection of wood origins and different toasting of the barrels.
After 15 months of ageing, the wines have evolved. After fining with fresh egg whites, final racking and blending, the wines are perfectly homogeneous and ready for bottling in nitrogen-inert bottles to preserve better the aromas.
Wine Advocate Tasting Note
The 2014 Cantenac Brown has a backward nose at first, a mixture of red and black fruit, cedar and tobacco, an attractive pastille-like scent emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with a little more extraction than its peers. It feels fleshy and pure, notes of raspberry coulis, confit fruit, orange rind and tobacco towards the well-structured, delicately spiced finish. It makes you want to come back for another sip—always a good sign! A bottle tasted six months later in February 2017 demonstrated a little more cohesion and finesse, suggesting that this Margaux will meliorate with bottle age. One to watch out for. 92 Points – Neal Martin, March 2017
Wine Spectator Tasting Note
Fleshy in feel but restrained in profile, as the plum, blackberry and black currant confiture notes glide in easily, carried by a light espresso edge and backed by a stylish black tea detail. A light echo of warm stone keeps this honest. Best from 2018 through 2026. 6,665 cases made. 91 Points – James Molesworth, March 2017
James Suckling Tasting Note
Aromas of chocolate, vanilla and currants follow through to a full body, tight tannins and a reserved finish. Needs time to open. Better in 2021. 93 Points, February 2017
Wine Enthusiast Tasting Note
The impressive Victorian baronial chateau of Cantenac Brown is one of the landmarks of Margaux. The wine is getting better each vintage. This is ripe and generous, full of freshly minted tannins and layers of wood over the ripe berry fruit. Drink this wine from 2024. 94 Points, February 2017
Best served with all types of classic meat dishes, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken,. Also a perfect match with Asian dishes, tuna, mushrooms and pasta as well as cheeses