About this WINE
Ch. d`Issan is a Third Growth Margaux property that produces about 100,000 bottles each year. Its richly aromatic and silky-textured Clarets are often amongst the best of the appellation.
The estate’s history dates back to the 1152 when the wine was officially served at the wedding of Eleanor of Aquitaine to King Henry II, the beginning of a special relationship between Bordeaux and England. The d’Essenault family owned the estate over five generations and rebuilt the existing château at the end of the 16th century. Surrounded by a moat, it is one of the oldest châteaux in the region and is frequently described as the most romantic in the Médoc.
In 1945 the Cruse family – already established in the Médoc for more than 150 years – purchased the property. Today Emmanuel Cruse runs the estate with the Lorenzetti family (owners of Chx Pédesclaux and Ladouys). They own 44 hectares in Margaux, planted with 62 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 38 percent Merlot. The wine spends between 16 and 18 months in oak (around 50 percent new).
If Pauillac can be seen as the bastion of ‘traditional’ Red Bordeaux, then Margaux represents its other facet in producing wines that are among Bordeaux’s most sensual and alluring. It is the largest commune in the Médoc, encompassing the communes of Cantenac, Soussans, Arsac and Labaude, in addition to Margaux itself. Located in the centre of the Haut-Médoc, Margaux is the closest of the important communes to the city of Bordeaux.
The soils in Margaux are the lightest and most gravelly of the Médoc, with some also containing a high percentage of sand. Vineyards located in Cantenac and Margaux make up the core of the appelation with the best vineyard sites being located on well-drained slopes, whose lighter soils give Margaux its deft touch and silky perfumes. Further away from the water, there is a greater clay content and the wines are less dramatically perfumed.
Margaux is the most diffuse of all the Médoc appelations with a reputation for scaling the heights with irreproachable wines such as Ch. Margaux and Ch. Palmer, but also plumbing the depths, with too many other châteaux not fulfilling their potential. There has been an upward shift in recent years, but the appellation cannot yet boast the reliability of St Julien. However, the finest Margaux are exquisitely perfumed and models of refinement and subtlety which have few parallels in Bordeaux.
The most famous red wine grape in the world and one of the most widely planted.
It is adaptable to a wide range of soils, although it performs particularly well on well-drained, low-fertile soils. It has small, dusty, black-blue berries with thick skins that produce deeply coloured, full-bodied wines with notable tannins. Its spiritual home is the Médoc and Graves regions of Bordeaux where it thrives on the well-drained gravel-rich soils producing tannic wines with piercing blackcurrant fruits that develop complex cedarwood and cigar box nuances when fully mature.
The grape is widely planted in California where Cabernet Sauvignon based wines are distinguished by their rich mixture of cassis, mint, eucalyptus and vanilla oak. It is planted across Australia and with particular success in Coonawarra where it is suited to the famed Terra Rossa soil. In Italy barrique aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a key component in Super Tuscans such as Tignanello and Sassicaia, either on its own or as part of a blend with Sangiovese.
Robert M. Parker, Jr. - 01/01/1998