2022 Château Giscours, Margaux, Bordeaux
The 2022 Giscours was picked between 1 and 29 September, one of the earliest ever, with no SO2 added until blending and using bio-protection (yeasts) to protect the must. It has a delightful and sensual bouquet with lifted, violet and peony-scented blueberry and black cherry fruit. This is very well-defined and perhaps the purest I have encountered from barrel.
The palate is medium-bodied with a disarming silky texture, harmonious and focused. It's mineral-driven with a poised and pixelated finish. Certainly, this represents one of the best wines from this Margaux estate in recent years, echoing their golden period of the 60s and early 70s. Tasted twice with consistent notes.
Drink 2030 - 2070
Neal Martin, Vinous.com (April 2023)
The 2022 Giscours is a regal, sophisticated wine. Succulent red cherry, blood orange, spice, menthol and rose petal lend notable vibrancy and freshness throughout. Most surprisingly, the 2022 remains light on its feet, especially for a wine made from such low yields in a warm, dry year. Over the last few years Giscours has been one of the most improved properties in the Médoc. The 2022 is another step in that direction. Sublime.
Drink 2030 - 2052
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2023)
A blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc, the 2022 Giscours has a pH of 3.7 and 13.6% alcohol. It has a deep garnet-purple colour and bursts with notes of baked black plums, warm cassis, and blackberry preserves, giving way to subtle suggestions of sassafras, roses, and Sichuan pepper.
The delicately played medium-bodied palate is soft-spoken and refreshing, featuring wonderful, silt-like tannins and seamless freshness to frame the subtle red and black berry layers, finishing on a mineral note. If you love blockbusters, look elsewhere, this is all about grace. Note that no second wine (La Sirène de Giscours) was made in 2022, and the yield for Giscours was just 27 hl/ha.
Drink 2029 - 2059
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Independent (May 2023)
Well judged and executed, with the vintage character coming through with the rich plum, cassis and fresh fig fruits, alongside black pepper and clove spices, but overall the feel is savoury, with austere tannins that are clearly revving up and has plenty of character.
Impressive lift also, with juice running right through the palate, giving breath to the concentrated muscular tannic frame. Austerity is also, at this point, relatively rare and welcome in 2022, emphasising a floral and smoky curl on the finish. 50% new oak. Entire harvest in the Grand Vin for the first time at Giscours (although I assume there must have been some of the production that was not bottled under the label).
Drink 2029 - 2044
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (May 2023)
With the 2022 Giscours, this estate takes another step up, delivering a deep and characterful wine redolent of cherries, dark berries, violets, peony and forest floor. Medium to full-bodied, broad-shouldered and layered, it's deep and elegantly muscular, with impressive concentration, abundant but refined tannins and a structural authority reminiscent of the great Giscours vintages of the 1970s.
Why is it so good? There are many reasons, but one is the high proportion of old vines—almost 60% of the blend deriving from vines that are over 50 years old—in a vintage that favoured vines with deep, well-established root systems. Another is the increasing precision of harvesting at this address: Giscours's old vines are frequently co-planted with younger replacements that have filled any gaps in the ranks over the years, so, blocks are now picked in two or three passages instead of all at once, with the younger vines picked first.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2023)
64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc. Cask sample. Deep purple. Neat, fresh, lively nose. A certain Margaux delicacy on the palate, plus the intensity of the vintage. No excess oak. Good balance suggests a wine with a good long life. A good Giscours with a definitively dry, tannic finish. 13.5%.
Drink 2028 - 2043
Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com (May 2023)
This is a big move forward for Giscours. Full-bodied yet agile and fresh with tannins that are precise and integrated, with great beauty and length. Well-structured and vivid. Extremely fine yet defined tannins, and then it opens like a butterfly.
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2023)
A seriously impressive and beguiling Giscous in 2022 and one of the most elegant. A remarkable wine with gorgeous clarity and purity and just the most gentle seduction, even more so because it really doesn't feel as if it's trying too hard yet still delivering depth and complexity.
Fresh and lifted, fragrant and so juicy but with textured tannins that give the quite bright, tangy, vibrant fruit both the weight, structure and density. Nicely composed, feels quite powerful yet restrained and finessed, offering lots of immediate drinking appeal but with a serious backbone that suggests long ageing too.
Elegant, fineseed, subtle confidence with such cool minerality that gives freshness all the way through. It's not the most dense, or fleshy, but so refined. A compelling wine. Possible upscore in bottle. 3% Cabernet Franc completes the blend. 3.70pH. A yield of 27hl/ha, the lowest ever. No Sirene de Giscours this year.
100% grand vin. Ageing 17 months, 50% new oak. 10-15% press wine. Tasted twice.
Drink 2028 - 2049
Georgine Hindle, Decanter.com (April 2023)
Clearly one of the finest vintages from this château, the 2022 Château Giscours reveals a dense purple hue to go with beautiful Cabernet-driven aromatics of smoky blue fruits, iron, lead pencil, and spring flowers, as well as an almost marine-like character developing with time in the glass. Medium to full-bodied on the palate, it has silky, perfectly integrated tannins, a great mid-palate, and outstanding length. It's a serious, age-worthy, incredibly impressive wine in the making.
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2023)
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.