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2016 3ème Cru Classé Margaux

Colour Red
Origin France, Bordeaux
Sub-district Haut Médoc
Village Margaux
Classification 3ème Cru Classé

55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot. Dark colour and darkly ripe fruit, good volume if not the greatest distinction. Still fresh - its black and broad but there's acidity on the finish. Drinking range: 2024 - 2035 Rating: 89-91 L&S (Apr 2017)

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The 2016 Kirwan has an attractive, well-defined bouquet of blackberry, crushed violet and light crushed stone aromas that gently unfurls in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, a fine bead of acidity and a lightly spiced, peppery finish. I absolutely love this Margaux, and it should age with style. Tasted blind at the Southwold tasting. Drinking range: 2023 - 2045 Rating: 91 Neal Martin, (Aug 2020)

One of the more finesse-driven examples of this cuvée that I can remember, the 2016 Château Kirwan offers up a medium ruby color to go with notes of smoke tobacco, gravelly minerality, graphite, and sweet cassis fruit. Medium-bodied, elegant and supple, if not a touch lean, it’s not a blockbuster but has outstanding purity and notable elegance. Drink it over the coming 15 years or so. Drinking range: 2019 - 2034 Rating: 90 Jeb Dunnuck, (Feb 2019)

The 2016 Kirwan is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot picked up 49 hectoliters per hectare between 27 September until 18 October. The nose needed some encouragement from the glass, perhaps not quite as cohesive as I was expecting, angular black fruit with a dash of white pepper. It just felt rather broody and unsettled at this early stage. On the palate, I discerned some hardness on the tannin, rendering this a more masculine Kirwan that will hopefully flesh out once in bottle. With a new winery, I am anticipating great things from Kirwan. This might be a wine that will blossom later than others, so I will keep a watchful eye. Drinking range: 2023 - 2040 Rating: 89-91 Neal Martin, (Apr 2017)

Château Kirwan

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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