Château Giscours 2018
• Domaine: Château Giscours
• Appellation: Margaux
• Classification: Third Growth, 3ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
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 2018 Giscours contains a high percentage of Merlot this year. It was picked from September 12 – incidentally, the same start date as in 2019. It was cropped at 35hl/ha after some mildew earlier in the season, especially on the organically cultivated plots. Matured in 50% new French oak, it has an attractive bouquet of blackberry, raspberry, rose petals and touches of orange peel. The medium-bodied palate is quite cohesive and refined, with fine tannins and notes of white pepper sprinkled over the red fruit. This is a classic Giscours and, with 13.8% alcohol at the moment, the DNA of the château really comes through." - Neal Martin, vinous.com, (November, 2019), Ratings: 91-93, Drink: 2023-2045
"Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Giscours delivers expressive notions of baked raspberries, Black Forest cake and sautéed herbs with a core of crème de cassis, pencil lead, fertile loam and fallen leaves. Full-bodied, taut and muscular in the mouth with earth-laced baked black fruits, it has a firm, chewy texture and refreshing herbal sparks on the finish." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/23/2019, Bordeaux 2018 Issue), Ratings: 90-92
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