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Chateau d'Issan 2016

  • JS96
  • WE96
  • RP94
  • D94
  • JD94
  • WS91
750ML / 0% ABV
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750ML / 0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Blend: 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot

Critical Acclaim

All Vintages
JS 96
James Suckling
The brightness and precision already comes through on the nose with floral, blackcurrant character. Full-bodied and very tight and creamy with polished tannins that last for minutes. Warm and intense. Needs four to five years to show all it has, yet already a beauty.
WE 96
Wine Enthusiast
This wine has an austere structure, with firm tannins. The fruit comes through slowly, revealing an attractive black-currant flavor and ample acidity. This will be a very fine wine with time; try after 2029.
Barrel Sample: 94–96 Points
RP 94
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2016 D'Issan is blended of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Merlot, aged in 50% new and 50% one-year-old French oak for 18 months. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, it has vibrant black cherries and blackcurrants notes with chocolate mint, beef drippings, black olives and cigar box. Medium-bodied with a well-sustained, intensely flavored mid-palate, it has a rock-solid, grainy frame and long savory finish. 10,500 cases produced.
Rating: 94+
D 94
Decanter
A lovely wine that delivers on its en primeur promise, with contemporary touches of cocoa-dusted rich damson, creamy blackberries and extremely well handled grilled oak. It has lovely lift and the fruit is buttressed neatly by well worked tannins, while the acidity gives an elegant twist. Welcoming and sculpted.
JD 94
Jeb Dunnuck
I loved the 2016 Château d'Issan and this is a certainly a wine to seek out. Made from a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Merlot from yields of 55 hectoliters per hectare, aged 18 months in 50% new oak, it has a beautiful perfume of blue fruits (cassis, blueberries, etc.) as well as hints of graphite, subtle oak, and charcoal. Medium to full-bodied, with integrated acidity, a terrific mid-palate, and perfect balance, it needs 4-5 years of bottle age and is going to cruise in good cellars for 20-25 years or more. It’s a beautiful, elegant, seamless wine that’s very much in the style of the vintage.
Rating: 94+
WS 91
Wine Spectator
Light pepper and savory hints lead off in this bouncy, juicy version, with bright cassis and bitter cherry fruit forming the core. Shows a light mineral edge on the finish.
Barrel Score: 88-91 Points
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Chateau d'Issan

Chateau d'Issan

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Chateau d'Issan, 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.
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Margaux

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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.

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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.

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