Wine Words & Video Tape

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Château Desmirail

Address: 33460 Cantenac

Telephone: 05 57 88 34 33



Classed as a third growth in 1855 Château Desmirail was bought by Lucien Lurton in 1981, the running of the property passed to his son Denis in 1992 at the age of 33. Recent vintages seem good with Margaux finesse and made in a forward, early drinking style.

Vineyard: 30 hectares on gravel planted with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Average age of 30 years, planted at a density of 7600 vines per hectare. Harvest by hand and sorted at the winery.

Winemaking/Elévage: Fermentation at 30C and maceration 28C. Aged in barrel for 12-18 months 40% of which are new. Egg white fined.

  • 2015 Healthy colour; forward aromatics; spices; fruitcake and mineral notes; bright fruit on the palate; nicely melded; pain grillé notes; forward and early drinking Margaux; some extract on the finish but this will round out during elévage. Good Desmirail. [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 13% alc]. Drink 2020-2028. 88-90
  • 2014 Deep and saturated look; dark at centre; purple at edge; earthy blackcurrant tones; little spicy note; savoury and fruit cake tones; forward; pure fruit; some cream; some extract and matter; some coarseness at the end of the palate; spice and oak; grip and acidity. Little chew on the finish. [57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 42% new oak, 12.5% alc]. Drink 2019-2025. Tasted 31 March, 2015 at UGC. 85-87
  • 2013 Mid depth; some spice; little softer and rounder aromatically than some; tight and sappy. Bit thin on the end. Light certainly. Drink 2016-2020. Tasted UGCB April 2014. 83-85
  • 2012 Mid depth; earthy; some development; forward style; easy; soft forward style with some undergrowth and blackcurrant tones; bit loose and rather light. Drink 2015-2020. 84 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and dense; lively at edge; spicy, attractive nose; fruit cake and spicy plum, little undercurrent of earth; earthy entry; modest palate already quite forward and enjoyable; soft and early maturing style. Overall attractive. 87-88+ Tasted UGC Thursday April 11, 2013 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; tight to the edge; some spice, oak and coffee bean; lifted and quite integrated; some perfume; easy entry, attractive mid palate; lacks a bit of tension on the finish. Also maybe a little too much oak? Not bad though. 54% Merlot and 46% Cabernet Sauvignon 12.2 degrees Alc 86-88 Tasted Tuesday, April 9, 2013.
  • 2011 Mid depth, clearer at centre; spicy, tobacco nose quite full and forward; full and easy palate; nicely done given the vintage. Quick maturing. Now-2021. 86 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated colour; lift and honey and some sawn wood notes; little vegetal hint but red fruits here too, ripe and a bit thick and worked on the palate; lots of blackcurrants and ripeness but a rather thick, leaden-footed quality too. Easy enough with some chew. 86-87
  • 2010 Deepish core; easy, some satin notes, red fruits and lifted resin characters; quite full palate; gutsy with spicy fruit, structured and chewy. Not a whole lot of flesh though but enough. Drink 2015-2025. 87 MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deepish; dark core; spicey open nose; not unattractive; some earth and undergrowth and blackcurrant tones; leafy edge; earthy blackcurrants again on the palate, some spice and herbal notes and tobacco; quite forward style and attractive now. Grip on the finish. 88+/100 UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Dense, but not as saturated as some; mid weight nose; ripe, some cassis, quite supple; polished and glossy; some blackcurrant; good palate, open and drinkable but with some concentration. Good grip. Some leaf on the palate. Elegant mid weight and attractive. 88-90/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Deep and saturated colour; lots of coffee, liquorice and cassis; ripe and quite supple and modern; blackcurrant cassis on the palate along with some oak; ripe but a faint green streak here too; bit of tannin and austerity on the finish. Slightly vegetal/green streak in this sample.  86-88?/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC
  • 2009 Saturated look; dark core; forward and open; leaf and cedar tones with blackcurrant fruit tones; very appealing on the nose; leafy blackcurrant palate spicy and very fruit forward – perfectly ready to drink now. Savour and some chew on the finish but very supple fruit here. Drink now-2022 90 MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and thick looking; meaty substantial nose but attractive nonetheless; layered palate, quite forward style; blackcurrants, undergrowth, coffee and chew and grip. Not a perfumed Margaux, more meaty and substantial but this is good stuff. 91+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Deep inky; intense and focused nose; tight; layered but good; some minerals and stone quality; palate intense; some real layers and concentration; little bitterness; mocha and chocolate; lots of tannin and good acid and fruit. Could be good. Good length here 90+/100 [Second tasting] Deep black; ripe fruit and violets, good, coffee and mocha, very attractive nose; intense with real layers, some minerals and spice; very impressive; palate silky and fine – very nicely done. Layers and extraction but balanced. Violets, cassis and blackcurrants; tannins very round and soft. Not aggressive. Very well done. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot 93+/100 Tasted 30th March and 1st April 2010.
  • 2008 Mid depth; translucent at core; some iron, tea notes and elegance with herbal spicy tones; not that bad in leafy elegant way; mealy note on the palate., some spice and chew. Angular on the finish. Spicy fruit can’t hide a hollow edge here. 85 MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Mid red; attractive open nose of earth, violets and oak; some lift here; intense; palate attractive and already quite forward with some tobacco notes. Quite a forward and attractive modern styled wine for relatively early consumption. Good. 88+/100 [60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot] UGC Oct ’10
  • 2007 Mid depth, dark at centre, red edge; earthy and meaty note; some tobacco; quite forward and developed; solid meat and tobacco flavours on the palate, quite chewy, lacks finesse, dryish tannin but just enough ripeness to get by. Shortish finish. 85/100 MW Institute Nov ’11
  • 2006 Quite deep core, bit loose at the edge; meaty savoury note, quite appealing and forward in style; not long term clearly as it’s almost fully mature; some leaf and blackcurrant and some intensity; palate some leaf, less of the meat and bolder notes here; quite structured with acidity and developing in an OK way but also some dry, austere tannins. 86-87/100 MW Institute Nov ’10

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