2022 Château d'Issan, Margaux, Bordeaux
The 2022 Château d'Issan was picked between 15 and 28 September and represented the first vintage vinified in the new vat room equipped with smaller 20-hectolitre vats. It has a fragrant bouquet with blackberry and blueberry fruit, crushed violet and a hint of dark chocolate.
The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins. This is one of the more saline wines on the Left Bank, cohesive with a touch of Japanese nori on the moderate-length finish. This will need a decade in bottle.
Drink 2032 - 2052
Neal Martin, Vinous.com (May 2023)
The 2022 d'Issan is shaping up to be terrific. Dark and pliant, the 2022 captures all the intensity of the year in its super-concentrated Issan with a ton of fruit intensity and the tannic spine to support it. Blue/purplish fruit, lavender, dried herbs and spice infuse the 2022 with tons of depth and pedigree.
Drink 2032 - 2062
Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com (April 2023)
A blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, and 1% Petit Verdot, with a yield of 30 hl/ha and ageing in 50% new oak, d’Issan 2022 has a pH of 3.67 and a TPI of 72. It is deep garnet-purple in colour and comes bounding out of the glass with exuberant notes of crème de cassis, baked blackberries, and plum preserves, plus suggestions of tilled soil, clove oil, candied violets, and charcoal.
The full-bodied palate has a firm structure of wonderfully ripe, fine-grained tannins and lovely tension supporting the dense, muscular black fruits, with a long finish and loads of floral and mineral sparks.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, The Wine Independent (May 2023)
Fragrant dried cumin and turmeric spices on the opening, along with floral waves of rose petals, maintain the finesse of Issan, delivering estate signature alongside fleshy blackberry and baked damson fruits, with waves of liquorice, graphite and crushed rocks.
The oldest vines are kept for the 1st wine, and almost 80% of the new plots of Pontac Lynch are included here in Issan, giving a darker spiced character than you find in other hot vintages at this estate, such as 2009.
They almost pulled up the Malbec when they bought Pontac Lynch, but it has once again proved its worth. 30hl/h yield (compared to 38hl/h last year). 3.67ph. 72IPT. Eric Boissenot consultant. 50% new oak.
Drink 2030 - 2046
Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com (May 2023)
65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot. Cask sample.
Reserved, dark-fruit aroma. It certainly has substance but misses a little Margaux fragrance. Powerful tannic frame, but the tannins are refined. It drives on the finish. A slight glow of alcohol, but finds a balance. Solid but needs a little more panache.
Drink 2028 - 2040
James Lawther MW, JancisRobinson.com (May 2023)
The 2022 D'Issan is a lovely wine that will delight Médoc purists, wafting from the glass with sweet berries, burning embers, violets and loamy soil aromas. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and layered, with velvety tannins and a deep core of vibrant fruit, it's a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and the balance Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot.
The estate is now equipped with a battery of 20-hectoliter tanks, permitting sub-plot by sub-plot harvesting this year.
William Kelley, Wine Advocate (April 2023)
This is one hell of an Issan with blackberry, blackcurrant, and hazelnut aromas and flavours. Cherries. Cedar. Full and intense with tannins that are long and bright. It goes tight at the end, indicating greatness.
65% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 2% cabernet franc, 2% malbec and 1% petit verdot.
James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com (April 2023)
The 2022 Château D’Issan ratchets up the quality, offering more purity, precision, and length. Revealing notes of darker currants and blue fruits, graphite, and chalky minerality, this medium to full-bodied red has beautiful freshness and is focused, straight, and elegant.
Just a beautiful barrel sample; it’s very impressive.
Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com (May 2023)
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.
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.