Wine Words & Video Tape

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Château d’Issan


Address: 33460 Cantenac

Telephone: +33 (0)5 57 88 35 91



One of the oldest classed growths with origins dating back to the twelfth century, Château d’Issan is currently run by Emmanuel Cruse. There have been major investments here over the past ten years or so both in the vineyard and in the cellar. Jacques Boissenot is the consulting oenologist and Eric Pellon the technical director. The 2005 is an excellent Margaux as is the 2009.

Vineyard/Soil: 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot.

Winemaking/Elévage: Fermentation takes place in two vat houses with temperature controlled stainless steel tanks designed for plot by plot fermentations. Malolactic fermentation in barrel. Racked by gravity and aged 18 months on oak. Egg white fining.

  • 2013 Deeper; purple at edge; good and healthy blackcurrant tones; purity; creamy quality and nicely integrated oak; quite tight on the palate; elegant with acidity showing. Elegant if a little compact overall. Good effort in the context.[74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 12.83% alc, TA 3.26, pH 3.69 IPT 60, 50% new oak, 55% of production] Drink 2018-2030. Tasted at the d’Issan April 2014. 86-88
  • 2010 Deepish colour; slightly feral note that blew off revealing blackcurrant aromatics; elegant palate, little modest compared to Giscours before; closed currently. Drink 2015-2025 88? [Second sample]: Earthy blackcurrant aromatics, little dusty; blackcurrants dominate the palate; nicely pure, elegant with spicy finish. Tannins a little dusty and chewy. Needs time and rather shut down. 2018-2030. 90 MW Institute Nov ’14
  • 2009 Deep at centre; earthy blackcurrants, spices, coffee beans, almost old-fashioned in the nicest sense [I like this]; plenty of layers of blackcurrant fruit with attractive earthy notes. Very full on the palate but had good left and acid. Grip on the finish. Interestingly balanced for a 2009 with lots of freshness. I wonder if this will turn out to be as exceptional as their 2005. Drink 2016-2030. 93+ MW Institute, Nov ’13.
  • 2008 Mid depth, some reddening; very earthy initially, some blackcurrant, some green pepper, capsicum notes; blackcurrant and leaf on the palate; quite old fashioned in feel but not without depth of fruit. Structured and sturdy but enough fruit such that it should meld and last. 87 Drink now – 2025 MW Institute Nov ’12
  • 2007 Mid depth, earthy, reductive nose; feral and a bit farty, could do with decanting; meaty flavours on the palate, ripe and more polish than the nose suggests; quite harmonious. 87/100 Drink now 2020 MW Institute Nov ’11
  • 2006 Nice deeply coloured wine, tight to the rim; attractive deep blackcurrant nose with some truffle, earth and tobacco – very nice in an earthy way – refreshing given the style of the last half-dozen wines; palate similarly earthy with truffles and undergrowth alongside the blackcurrants. Good grip and extract here. Pretty fine and pretty classic Margaux. 92/100 Drink now-2025 MW Institute Nov ’10
  • 2005 Dark red; lovely aromatic qualities, very open, blackcurrants, perfume, earthy notes; blackcurrants on the palate; very nicely balanced; appetizing and very nicely made. Excellent 2005. This gets better and better. 94+/100 Vinexpo June ’13 [Earlier note] Dark black red; concentrated nose; oak; later mocha elements; lots of concentration on the palate; but still Margaux like. Layered but tight and intense at present. Clearly excellent. 92+/100 Dec ‘09 Drink 2013-2025+ April ’10
  • 1978 Red/brown; slightly metallic edge which blew off to leave dusty, earthy nose; medium weight, slight faded flavours on the palate. Like ’83, ’78 has not developed well. The ‘miracle’ vintage was short lived. 75/100 Tasted Aug ’03

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