Tasted at the Château Giscours vertical, the 2011 Château Giscours is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, picked between September 8 and October 1. It offers more fruit intensity than the 2012 and I find more Margaux florality here. It would benefit from more delineation, but there is decent delineation here. The palate is medium-bodied with supple ripe tannin on the entry, red cherry and raspberry fruit intermingling with cedar and tobacco notes. It feels a little conservative on the finish and needs more finesse, but it is a commendable contribution to the vintage.
Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (Jul 2016)
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Nov 2015)
Offers a solid core of violet, plum, red licorice, currant paste and sanguine notes that fill out steadily through the fleshy finish. A mesquite hint lurks in the background and should emerge more with cellaring, as there's ample stuffing in reserve here. Best from 2016 through 2027.
James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Mar 2014)
The wine is only just coming out of its shell. The nose is subdued but fresh and incisive, the palate firm verging on austere with grippy tannins present. There's length and freshness, the Cabernet providing a linear edge, the fruit adequately juicy. If you can, wait another couple of years.
Drink 2021 - 2035
James Lawther MW, Decanter.com (Jul 2021)
About this WINE
Giscours was in a dire state when it was acquired by Nicholas Tari in 1952. He invested heavily and the quality of the wine improved beyond recognition. In 1995 he sold up the property to Dutch businessman Eric Albada Jelgersma.
Giscours's wine is typically a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. The grapes are fermented in temperature-controlled tanks and the wine is then aged in small oak barrels (30-40% new) for 18 months.
Giscours produces richly aromatic wines that are surprisingly powerful on the palate, displaying ripe, black fruit with hints of cedar and new oak.
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.
Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.
In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.
In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and Australia.