I opened a bottle of this the other night at a friend's place (he opened the '94 Chave Rouge!).
I was expecting something very ripe and perhaps over the top, especially given the elevated score it was given by RMP. Well now I see why the denizens of eBob are confused. This is not overblown, hot, garish or even just ultra-ripe. The 2003 Branaire is exactly what I would hope to see from this producer in a hot vintage. It's medium to full bodied, balanced between fruit and tannin, and betrys no heat whatsoever. It does not taste like a blockbuster, but a very young wine with every component exactly where it needs to be. There's plenty of stuffing for extended aging, but I suspect that this wine will always taste good. It will just evolve. What a lovely drink.
I've been buying Branaire on a regular basis (to go with my Barton), and the more I drink it the more I like it. In fact I think I could just go with the wines of St. Julien from now on, and let the rest of Bordeaux fade into wine-buying history. In fact let's just restrict it to Branaire, Barton and Lagrange. I could be happy with those three.
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