Château Giscours 2014
• Domaine: Château Giscours
• Appellation: Margaux
• Classification: Third Growth, 3ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
For those fortunate enough to visit Bordeaux and drive down the famous D2 Route de Médoc in Margaux, the lavish and imposing Château Giscours would be the first Classified Growth to appear. The grounds of this picturesque Third Growth estate are a massive 165 hectares filled with perfect parks, lush gardens, and an expansive sea of vines. Many events take place on the breathtaking property, and the Bordeaux Giscours Cricket Club uses the expansive fields of Château Giscours as their home base. If a picture is worth a thousand words, any image of this estate is bound to start a conversation. And trust us -- with Château Giscours, there is a lot to talk about.
Château Giscours has a 600-year legacy of commitment to its wines and in such a long period, occasional hardships are inevitable. The darkest stain on the legacy of Château Giscours was in 1998, when they were accused of breaking AOC Law for blending fruit from the Haut Médoc, chaptalizing – adding sugar to the wines – and using other illegal additives to their Second Wine Sirene de Giscours. Appropriate action was taken, and the estate managed to turn things around and rebuild their reputation through hiring the very gifted managing director, Alexander Van Beek. Since the early 2000s, the wines of Château Giscours are very clearly on the rebound, improving in quality with each passing vintage.
Origins of Château Giscours date all the way back to 1552, when Pierre de L’Horme, a wealthy merchant purchased a nobleman’s house on the grounds of Château Giscours and proceeded to plant vines among the gently sloping gravel hilltops. Fortunately, a very gifted agriculturalist named Pierre Skawinski took over the estate a little under three centuries later in 1845. Pierre was one of the most respected agriculturalists in all of Margaux and even had a plough named after him. Skawinski came up with the idea of implementing a gravity flow cellar – which was revolutionary at the time – and brought it to Château Giscours. The wines rose to prominence under his leadership and the estate was classified in 1855. Château Giscours would change hands a few times in the 20th Century, but the most important person to influence the trajectory of this producer would be the ambitious 24-year-old Alexander Van Beek who took over in 1998.
Alexander had his work cut out for him. Château Giscours was embroiled in the 1998 legal scandal that plagued its reputation and it was Van Beek’s responsibility to renew their tarnished image. Alexander took on the massive undertaking of replanting 130,000 vines in the vineyards. He increased the plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon and switched the operations of the estate from machine harvesting to manual harvesting. Twenty percent of the vines are biodynamically farmed, and vinification takes place in stainless steel and concrete. The most recent scores in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate are in the 90 points or higher range, proving that Alexander’s tireless efforts have paid off and trust has been restored in Château Giscours once more.
"The 2014 Giscours has come on leaps and bounds since I tasted it twice in barrel. It is clearly more sophisticated and complex than the du Tertre on the nose. For a start, there is more fruit concentration with red cherries, raspberry and blackcurrant laced with cedar and graphite. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, pure red cherry and crushed strawberry fruit with a precise finish that the property never used to be able to offer. This is a lovely Margaux that should drink well for 20 years." - Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (8/27/2014, Issue 214), Ratings: 92, Drink: 2020-2038