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Brane Cantenac to use Carmenere

Bordeaux Chateau Brane Cantenac is using Carmenere in its Grand Vin for the first time, the result of climate change, owner Henri Lurton said. Although almost never used in Bordeaux, Carmenere is a sixth variety allowed under appellation rules. It was widely-planted in the Medoc in the 19th century, and regarded as a mainstay of claret, but it is difficult to ripen and prone to disease and its popularity waned. It used to be at the Margaux second growth but it was pulled up in the mid-1990s as it never achieved full ripeness.

The chateau re-researched the grape and discovered that it was a grape which truly needs a lot of heat and sunshine so replanted it on the well-exposed terroir in front of the chateau. They replanted just half a hectare in 2007 and did not plan on using it in the 2011 vintage, but the very warm summer allowed the Carmenere to ripen well.

It was harvested 3 weeks later than the Cabernet parcels in order to avoid the vegetal character that is usually displays when harvested too early. The wine contains a tiny amount of the grape – 0.5% – but according to Christophe Capdeville, operations manager at Brane, it adds zing and personality to a wine.