Château Desmirail 2010
• Domaine: Château Desmirail
• Appellation: Margaux
• Classification: Third Growth, 3ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Château Desmirail may be one of the more obscure classified growths, but that does not mean this Third Growth estate is not worth paying attention to. Since approximately 2010, with the addition of a new vat room, quality at Château Desmirail has steadily climbed with each passing vintage. Value hunters and novices to the Bordeaux region alike should take note of Château Desmirail as the wines are classic examples of excellent Margaux terroir, with decent ageability, and serviceable pricing that will not break the bank.
Château Desmirail was not always one of the lesser-known properties. In fact, in the 17th Century, the story was actually quite the opposite. Initially Château Desmirail was a part of the vast Rauzan estate. In 1661 a lawyer and member of the Bordeaux Parliament, Jean Desmirail acquired the property in the typical fashion of the day: as a dowry through marriage to one of the daughters from the Rauzan family. Jean Desmirail named the property after himself, and thus, Château Desmirail received its namesake.
Just prior to the 1855 Classification, the Rauzan Estate was segmented off into three parcels. Château Rauzan-Ségla was the most famous of the three, followed by Château Rauzan-Gassies and finally Château Desmirail. The property changed hands several times and was even owned by Robert Mendelsohn, the nephew of the great composer Felix Mendelsohn who composed the Wedding March. Prior to World War II, Château Desmirail was sold to the Third Growth powerhouse, Château Palmer. Interestingly enough, the entire crop of Château Palmer’s 1963 vintage was declassified and used for the 1963 vintage of Château Desmirail, which explains why no bottles of 1963 Château Palmer exist.
Château Desmirail is presently owned by the Lurton family. Other holdings of the Lurtons include Château Brane-Cantenac and the future cult producer Château Durfort-Vivens. Château Desmirail is a small, 37-hectare property planted with 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 29% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot. The terroir here is typical of Margaux, and the Cabernet vines in particular thrive in the heavily graveled soils. Their vines are approximately 25 years old on average and sustainably farmed. Château Desmirail also has vines in the commune of Arsac, not too far from Château du Terte. These grapes handpicked by a team of sixty and vinified parcel by parcel in a mixture of temperature controlled stainless steel vats and oak vats, that reside in one of the property’s three Vat Rooms. This depends on the individual age of the vines and generally speaking, older vines are fermented in oak. The winery relies on gravity to preserve the freshness of the fruit and keep the subtle intricacies that are so integral to the style of Margaux wines.
The wines of Château Desmirail generally show their best with about 9 years of bottle ageing. Younger vintages start to express themselves well after a couple of hours of decanting. Château Desmirail also produces a Rosé – Le Rosé de Desmirail.
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