This second growth Margaux property was bought by the Lurton family in 1925 and inherited in 1956 by the far-sighted Lucien Lurton, who was recognised as one of the best vineyard managers of his day. In 1992, he passed the reins to his son Henri, a trained oenologist, who set out to raise the quality higher still by lowering yields and using greater selection.
Today, the 75 hectares of vineyards are split into small plots, and the vines have an average age of 35 years. The deep, poor-quality gravel soils here provide ideal growing conditions for cabernet sauvignon, both radiating heat back to the vines during cold nights and encouraging the vine roots to dig deeper for sustenance.
The grapes are vinified in small barrels to allow individual plots of vines to mature separately. The blend is generally 55% cabernet sauvignon with 40% merlot, 4.5% cabernet franc and - most unusually - since 2012, the wine has included 0.5% carmenère, a development which Henri Lurton attributes to climate change. The wine matures for 18 months in oak barrels, using 60-70% new wood, and can age for between seven to 25 years.
Brane-Cantenac is a true Margaux, with the accent on charm and fine supple texture, though not without power.