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Chateau d'Issan 2012

Bordeaux Red Blends from Margaux, Bordeaux, France
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0% ABV
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4.4 31 Ratings
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4.4 31 Ratings
0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

A wine of finesse and elegance, expressing the exquisite bouquet particular to the Margaux region, the wines are outstanding for their suppleness, charm and finesse. Every vintage is specific to the terroir.

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
RP 95
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Château d’Issan, builds on the richness of the second wine and adds more body, structure and density. It has an inky purple color and a stunning nose of spring flowers, blueberry and blackberry fruit as well as touches of incense and graphite. Medium to full-bodied and stunningly concentrated, this 2012 is a great success in the vintage, one of the superstars. Moreover, its precociousness suggests it could be drunk in the next 4-5 years or cellared through 2025. I underrated this wine dramatically in my report of April, 2013 (Issue 206).
D 94
Decanter
The complexity of the construction here is striking. This has relatively high acidity, but the depth of cassis and bilberry fruits balances things out, along with touches of slate, cigar and pencil lead. The tannins retain a fairly strong hold right now. Successful in both 2011 and 2012, proving once again just how consistent Issan is. 50% new oak.
JS 92
James Suckling
This is an excellent red now with sweet tobacco, truffles and berries. Full body, velvety tannins and a savory finish. This shows the Issan character of decadence and richness.
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Chateau d'Issan

Chateau d'Issan

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Chateau d'Issan, Margaux, Bordeaux, France
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The present-day chateau (surrounded by a moat) was constructed in the 17th Century; like so many Bordeaux estates, it was essentially in ruins after the First World War. Acquired by the Cruse winemaking family in the 1950's, the vineyards were extensively replanted and the estate restored to its former glory. It was declared a Third Growth Grand Cru in the 1855 Bordeaux classification.

Silky, seductive and polished are the words that characterize the best wines from Margaux, the most inland appellation of the Médoc on the Left Bank of Bordeaux.

Margaux’s gravel soils are the thinnest of the Médoc, making them most penetrable by vine roots—some reaching down over 23 feet for water. The best sites are said to be on gentle outcrops, or croupes, where more gravel facilitates good drainage.

The Left Bank of Bordeaux subscribes to an arguably outdated method of classification but it is nonetheless important in regards to history of the area. In 1855 the finest chateaux were deemed on the basis of reputation and trading price—at that time. In 1855, Chateau Margaux achieved first growth status, yet it has been Chateau Palmer (officially third growth from the 1855 classification) that has consistently outperformed others throughout the 20th century.

Chateau Margaux in top vintages is capable of producing red Cabernet Sauvignon based wines described as pure, intense, spell-binding, refined and profound with flavors and aromas of black currant, violets, roses, orange peel, black tea and incense.

Other top producers worthy of noting include Chateau Rauzan-Ségla, Lascombes, Brane-Cantenac, and d’Issan, among others.

The best wines of Margaux combine a deep ruby color with a polished structure, concentration and an unrivaled elegance.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

CVB143688_2012 Item# 143688