Chateau d’Issan 2011, Margaux, Bordeaux, France

The vineyard at d’Issan is 53 hectares, a small proportion of the entire estate which covers 120 hectares. The main vineyard which gives rise to the grand vin lies adjacent to the Chateau, has a typically gravelly terroir and is planted with 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot at a density of 8500 vines per hectare. The fruit is harvested manually and sees a double hand-sorting before delivery into the reception area where there is a third sorting on a vibrating table. Once complete the fruit is transferred to vats and fermented using temperature control under the guidance of consulting oenologist Jacques Boissenot. It is typically macerated here for 21 days, and malolactic fermentation is encouraged, before the wine goes into oak. The grand vin, Chateau d’Issan (typically 5-6000 cases per annum), is sourced from vines with an average age of 35 years, and will see 50% new oak. 2011 is a superb vintage, thanks to improving weather after the atypical spring and meticulous care in the vineyard during sorting, and in the cellar. It’s a worthy successor to 2009 & 2010 and very much in the same line, exhibiting elegance, grace and balance with mature fruit, fine tannins, and a beautiful structure. The purity is remarkable, with an exhilarating freshness and the silky texture which is hallmark of Margaux. Blend: 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot. Aged in 50% new oak barrels.