The 2016 Giscours has a very pure, refined bouquet featuring lifted blackberry, cassis and light violet aromas. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-boned tannins, well-judged acidity and finely integrated oak toward the precise finish. This is what a finely crafted Margaux looks like, and I suspect it will get even better with bottle age. Tasted blind at the Southwold tasting.
Neil Martin, vinous.com (Aug 2020)
The 2016 Giscours is complex, aromatically intense and beguiling, with myriad layers of flavors that unfold with time in the glass. Black cherry, sage, leather, smoke and menthol add plenty of intrigue, but above all else, it is the wine's balance and sense of harmony that make the deepest impression. Under the leadership of Alexander Van Beek and his team, Giscours has been on a roll over the last few years. The 2016 is another fine vintage.
Antonio Galloni, vinous.com (Jan 2019)
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Giscours gives up aromas of cassis, chocolate, earth, tar, pepper and hoisin with touches of flowers and a meaty nuance. The palate is medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy with a great core and a long finish. Drink 2019 - 2035.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (Nov 2018)
Deep crimson. Fine, subtle cedary aroma. Pencil-lead and cassis. Soft tannins, rounded and gentle. Very early harmony here. Tannins are soft but they build to a chewy finish. Honest and complete and much more to come.
Julia Harding MW, jancisrobinson.com (Oct 2018)
This has attractive, glossy, ripe red-plum and licorice aromas with cedar, flowers and red berries, as well as a stony edge. A very fragrant, cabernet-driven nose. The palate has elegance and grace with sleek and charming, balanced style and a discreet tannin structure that holds the finish long and fresh. A blend of 81 per cent cabernet sauvignon and 19 per cent merlot. Try from 2023.
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Feb 2019)
Concentrated autumnal fruit offers a hawthorny bramble of blackberry and bilberry. Big-framed, muscular tannins are joined by plenty of acidity - it's very clearly built to last and confident in its ability to reward those with patience. Matured in 50% new oak. Axel Marchal and Valerie Lavigne consult.
Jane Anson, Decanter.com (Oct 2018)
The 2016 Château Giscours is fabulous stuff, offering a beautiful, complex (and classic Margaux) perfume of smoke tobacco, black currants, truffly earth, and spring flowers. Finesse-driven, medium-bodied, and seamless on the palate, it has ultra-fine tannins and no hard edges, and is already drinking beautifully. Nevertheless, it’s going to benefit from 3-4 years of bottle age and cruise for 20-25 years or more. The blend of the 2016 is 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot and it’s well worth a case purchase. Drink 2022 - 2047.
Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com (Feb 2019)
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 Blend
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.