The 2018 Cantenac Brown is deep garnet-purple in color and a little coy to begin and then, with coaxing, opens out to lovely red roses, black tea, violets and underbrush scents with a core of warm red and black currants and chocolate-covered cherries. Full-bodied and laden with perfumed red and black fruit layers, it has a firm frame of fine-grained tannins and a long, fragrant finish.
This is delicious, silky in texture and filled with luscious black fruits, exotic spiced liquorice and sweet blackberry. Touches of grilled cedar and just a trace of heat appear at the final furlong, along with a hint of menthol. The tannins close their fist around the fruit, reflecting the small berry size in the Cabernets, the percentage of which is slightly up this year as new plantings have come on line. It's an impressive construction, a little less elegant than the 2016 but with a ton of personality and a sense of bursting out of its borders, not yet fully tamed - and hugely appealing as a result.
This CB has an extremely energetic palate with beautiful elegance and power. Pure and bright. Really lively. Firm and chewy tannins.
69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc; 60% new oak. Barrel sample. Deepest black-cherry colour. Sweet small black berries, blackcurrant and elderberry. Pretty chewy on the palate, the freshness accentuating the tannins at the moment but the components are well matched if not yet integrated. (JH) Drink 2025-2032