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Chateau Kirwan 2003

Bordeaux Red Blends from Margaux, Bordeaux, France
  • RP93
0% ABV
  • WE97
  • D93
  • WS92
  • RP91
  • WE96
  • JS94
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  • D92
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  • RP91
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  • JS90
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  • WE93
  • RP92
  • WS92
  • RP90
  • WE90
  • WE91
  • WS90
  • WE93
  • WS93
  • RP92
  • CG90
  • WE93
  • RP90
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Winemaker Notes

This estate has been producing impressive wines since the mid-1990s, and much of the credit goes to the talented proprietress, Sophie Schyler. The 2003 Kirwan is a beauty and gets my vote as the finest Kirwan made in the last quarter century. A beautiful bouquet of forest floor, plums, licorice, creme de cassis, and smoke emerges from this opaque ruby/purple-tinged effort. Medium-bodied with plenty of sweet tannin in addition to low acidity, it leaves a beautiful tactile impression that is concentrated yet fresh and lively. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2022+.
-Wine Advocate

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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Chateau Kirwan

Chateau Kirwan

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Chateau Kirwan, Margaux, Bordeaux, France
2003
Chateau Kirwan is located on the plateau of Cantenac with some of the finest gravelly soil in the Médoc. Kirwan is exquisitely elegant, well-structured and typical of the very finest in the Margaux appellation.

The vines are thinned out in order to encourage maximum concentration and ripeness in the grapes. These are hand-picked and carefully sorted before being crushed. The wine is fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel vats and then aged in oak barrels (35% of which are renewed every year) for 18 months.

Chateau Kirwan takes its name from the Irishman, Mark Kirwan, who owned the estate in the mid 18th century. The Schyler family has owned Kirwan since 1925.

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 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/or 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 can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can 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, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

CWYKIRWAN_2003 Item# 89558

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