2013 Château Giscours, Margaux, Bordeaux
About this WINE
Château Giscours is one of the largest Margaux properties and now producing wine worthy of its 3ème Cru Classé status. It is located in the commune of Labarde and has over 80 hectares of vineyards.
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.
Recommended Châteaux: Ch. Margaux, Ch. Palmer, Ch. Brane-Cantenac, Ch. Rauzan-Ségla , Ch. Dufort-Vivens, Ch. Ferrière, Ch. du Tertre, Ch. Giscours, Ch. d'Angludet.
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.
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Much of the estate lying outside the commune and therefore providing a bit more backbone than most other Margaux is arguably a good thing in 2013. The 75% Cabernet Sauvignon provides Giscours with a deep intensity of crunchy blackberry fruits and energy few others have managed. A hit of beautifully sweet ripeness on the palate combined with fine, ripe tannins, gentle but balanced structure will give immense drinking pleasure in the next 5 to 15 years. An honest estate making the most of their terroir year in year out and a rare opportunity to have a quality Margaux on your table for less the £30 a bottle, difficult to say no!
Jake Dean – Fine Wine Sales Director
A vibrant red colour, with redcurrant and blackberry on the nose, weaved with a touch of spice. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon gives a kick of cassis on the palate which flows neatly through the wine. Structure is very gentle and this should be approachable relatively early. Touch of toast on the finish. One of the successes in the Margaux appellation this year.
Fergus Stewart – Private Account Manager
There is a record amount of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend this year and it has helped to create a lovely expression of Ch. Giscours. There is a good balance, a touch of sweetness, ripe engaging fruit and superbly integrated tannins.
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