|Classification||3ème Cru Classé|
Very fine fruit, especially fine texture, slinky and sinuous. Quite a dose of tannin on the finish, but this has the fruit to cope. Rating: 91 L&S (Apr 2006)
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Good full ruby-red. Primary aromas of blackberry, violet, mint and licorice. Sweet and densely packed, with good mineral firmness to the chewy black fruit flavors. No shortage of flavor or breadth here. Finishes with substantial ripe tannins, with ripe acids carrying the wine's fruit. This is more harmonious than it appeared to be from barrel a year ago. (May/June 2007) Rating: 89-91 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (May 2007)
A very sweet blueberry and cassis nose with a lot of new oak dominating the aromatics. A very sleek, supple texture on the palate with blackcherry and cassis fruit. Very focused and opulent, again not a wine for classicists, yet it is balanced and crisp on the finish. Very fine. Rating: 20/25 Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2006)
(a blend of 56% cabernet sauvignon, 30% merlot, 10% petit verdot and 4% cabernet franc) Bright medium ruby. Aroma of crushed blueberry. Dense but not overly sweet; in fact, this seems rather heavily extracted and dry. Is there enough sweetness of black fruit flavor to support the substantial chewy tannins? Today this seems gritty on the back end. Rating: 86-89 Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar (May 2006)
Margaux Troisième cru 1855
The distinctively Irish name is derived from Mark Kirwan who, in 1751, married the daughter of Sir John Collingwood, who had purchased La Terre Noble de la Salle in 1710. Their Irish ancestory allowed the Kirwans to escape the worst privations of the Revolution and to emerge in the Napoleonic era bigger and better than before. Unusually for a Bordelais estate, the vineyard area at 37 hectares is unchanged since. Château Kirwan came into the hands of the Schÿler family in 1925, and they own it to this day.
Château Kirwan is in the village of Cantenac. The vineyards, with vines an average of 30 years old, are planted at 9000 vines per hectare with 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and an unusually high 8% Petit Verdot, planted on the classic Haut Médoc terroir of deep Pyrenean gravels up to six metres deep. Production is around 200,000 bottles, representing 40-45hl/ha. Picking is by hand, into small (6 kg) boxes for transport to the winery, where the grapes are double-sorted before fermentation in tulip-shaped concrete tanks, using selected yeasts and malolactic bacteria to ensure the alcoholic and malolactic fermentations happen simultaneously, over a period of 7 to 15 days at temperatures controlled not to exceed 25-26C. Pumping-over is used over the 18-25 day time in vat. The Grand Vin spends up to 18-21 months in barrel, of which around a third are new every year. The wines are racked every 3 or 4 months and fined with egg white.
Whilst not being among the cream of the Margaux crop, Château Kirwan is a steady producer and relatively good value. A tendency to slightly over-extracted fruit and lots of well-toasted oak has abated now that Eric Boissenot has taken over from Michel Rolland as consultant oenologist
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