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Chateau Giscours Margaux Bordeaux Wine

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Chateau Giscours MargauxThird Growth, Bordeaux wine producer profile, with wine tasting notes, wine ratings, a history of the property, information on wine making and terroir, along with wine tasting reviews. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles

Chateau Giscours was first written about in 1330. At the time, it was listed on historical records as a fortified property. The first reference to Giscours as an official Bordeaux wine producing vineyard, dates back to 1552. Skipping ahead to slightly more modern times, before the start of the French Revolution, Chateau Giscours belonged to the Saint-Simon family. It was confiscated during the revolution and was resold in 1793 to two Americans from Boston, John Gray and Jonathan Davis. After that, a myriad of owners took over ownership and management of Chateau Giscours until it was bought in 1845 by Count the de Pescatore. Two years later, he hired a new manager for the Bordeaux wine property, Pierre Skawinski.

Interestingly, de Pescatore got lucky with Skawinski who later became one of the most respected agriculturalists of the time in Margaux as well as in Bordeaux. Some of Skawinski contributions include the invention of a type of plough in 1860 which still bears his name. He was one of the most important figures in the fight against mildew. It was thanks to Skawinski that Giscours earned the rank of Third Growth in the 1855 Classification. Skawinski managed the Margaux estate for 50 years. He stayed with Chateau Giscours even after it changed hands and became the property of the Cruse family. The Cruse family sold Giscours in 1913. After the sale, Chateau Giscours went through a long rough patch.


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In 1954 Chateau Giscours was purchased by Nicolas Tari. Tari learned about wine from his time as a wine maker in Algeria. Tari helped rebuild and enlarge the property. In 1976, the then-owner of the château and Secretary General of the Association des Grandes Crus Classes, Tari, was selected as one of 11 judges to take part in the historic “Judgment of Paris” wine competition when the results of a blind tasting had many California wines beating much more famous wines from Bordeaux. In 1995, Chateau Giscours was sold to Eric Albada Jelgersma.

The darkest moment for Chateau Giscours took place in 1998, when Chateau Giscours was accused of breaking the AOC laws of the Margaux appellation. They were accused of blending fruit from the Haut Medoc appellation with some of their vines to produce 16,000 cases of the 1995 La Sirene de Giscours. Further allegations stated the blend was doctored with milk, water and fruit acids. Admitting to the charges, former director Jean Michel Ferrandez said he knew his actions were illegal, but that “lots of people do it”. The accusations were brought as a result of a former employee. Since that time, things have turned around at the estate. A large part of that credit goes to the managing director, Alexander van Beek who is also in charge of their other Margaux estate, Chateau du Tertre.

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More than making wine takes place at the Left Bank estate of Chateau Giscours. The Bordeaux Giscours Cricket Club in the Aquitaine Division of the French National League uses the fields at Giscours as their home base.

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Chateau Giscours is a large estate with nearly 400 hectares of vines and landscaped grounds. With 97 planted hectares of vines, the vineyards are planted to 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and the remainder 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The current plantings show a marked increase in Cabernet Sauvignon. The terroir is mostly gravel with sand. On average, the vines are close to 45 years of age. However, the estates has vines that are up to 70 years of age. The vine density is on average, 10,000 vines per hectare. Vinification takes place in large temperature controlled, 26 stainless steel and 42 concrete vats that range in size from 20 hectoliters up all the way to 250 hectoliters. 80% of the Malolactic fermentation takes place in tank and 20% occurs in barrel. The wine of Chateau Giscours is aged in 50% new, French oak barrels for an average of 18 months. While Chateau Giscours is a traditional Bordeaux estate, they were one of the first properties in the Medoc to embrace optical sorting technology. Production of Chateau Giscours is close to 25,000 cases per year. There is a second wine, La Sirene de Giscours.

A 40 hectare plot of vines adjacent to Giscours, but outside the Margaux boundary, which precludes it from being sold as from the Margaux appellation, is bottled as Le Haut Medoc de Giscours. Other Bordeaux wines produced by the estate include Chateau Dutheil and Chateau Houringe, both those estates are cru bourgeois wines from the Haut Medoc appellation.

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Alexander van Beek arrived at Giscours in 1995. He started out at the estate with plans to spend 2 weeks during the harvest. He was later promoted to the managing director. One of the first things that took place with the young Alexander van Beek at the helm was a continued replanting of their vineyards. The replanting was vast with more than 30,000 vines replanted in one year. This was needed because the vineyards had been allowed to lapse into poor conditions with some parcels missing close to 50% of their vines. The efforts began to pay off on a few short years.

Starting with the 2000 vintage, van Beek has truly turned the fortunes of this property around. Each vintage shows signs of slow, but steady improvement in this Bordeaux wine. The estate’s 2009, with its rich textures and ripe cassis filled personality is the finest vintage Giscours I have ever tasted. Although, in all fairness, the 2010 gives it a run for the money and could even be the better wine!
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http://chateau-giscours.com

Wine Tasting Notes

Displaying 22 vintages | 151375 Views Sorted by vintage

  1. 2013 Château Giscours

    1. Shy aromas of vanilla, flowers, dark strawberry and earth get stronger with coaxing. The wine is medium bodied, bright and fresh with cassis and crisp, soft strawberries in a finish that leaves a good impression. This is a very strong wine for the vintage. From a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.3% alcohol with a pH of 3.64. With yields of 40 hectoliters per hectare, the Grand Vin represents 50% of the harvest. The wine is aged in 47% new, French oak. 89-91 Pts

      90 points - Tasted
      384 Views
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  2. 2012 Château Giscours

    1. Blending 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc. Dark ruby in color, licorice, flowers, cocoa, cherry and cassis notes open to soft, refined, medium-bodied dark cherry- and cassis-filled wine with good freshness, supple textures and a red berry-dominated finish. 90-92 Pts

      91 points - Tasted
      1887 Views
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  3. 2011 Château Giscours

    1. Spicy berries, forest scents, black plum and wet earth notes greet your nose with little effort. This early drinking vintage of Giscours offers fresh, peppy dark red cherries and spice in the finish.

      90 points - Tasted
      1020 Views
    2. Blending 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.2% alcohol. With flowers, spice, black cherry, cassis and coffee, this medium-bodied wine is round and fresh with ripe black cherry. 90-92 Pts

      91 points - Tasted
      1797 Views
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  4. 2010 Château Giscours

    1. Licorice, espresso bean, black cherries, truffle and forest notes open to a rich textured, full bodied, plush, potent Margaux, filled with fresh, pure, clean, ripe, black and red fruits. The final blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon and 29% Merlot is going to develop into a very special wine with a decade or so of bottle age. This is probably the best vintage I've ever tasted of Chateau Giscours!

      94 points - Tasted
      3216 Views
    2. Spice, blackberry, jam, flowers and toasty oak scents open to a full bodied, rich, structured, fresh, concentrated and classy Margaux wine. The long, ripe, dark, fruit filled, long, polished finish is fresh and pure. This should age well.

      93 points - Tasted
      3283 Views
    3. Deep in color, the intense perfume is packed with crème de cassis, blueberries, spice, flowers, tobacco, earth and spice box aromas. Rich, opulent and plush, this deep, ripe wine ends with a supple, fresh, elegant, dark berry filled finish. This is clearly the best vintage of Giscours I’ve ever tasted! It improved a lot since tasted in April. Bravo. 93-95 Pts

      94 points - Tasted
      4275 Views
    4. Giscours Produced from a blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon and 29% Merlot, this is the highest concentration of Cabernet Sauvignon in the history of the chateau! The harvest produced yields that were slightly lower than they produced in 2009. That combination created a deep ruby colored wine offering floral, cassis, boysenberry and smoky aromas. Round tannins, supple textures and more muscle than usual led the way for a long, fresh, pure, ripe, cassis. According to Alexandre Van Beek, he’s happy with the masculine edge to the wines style in this vintage. He graciously stated, “Credit goes to their consultant Denis Dubordieu, who began working with Giscours and du Tertre starting with the vintage.“ 91-93 Pts

      92 points - Tasted
      4149 Views
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  5. 2009 Château Giscours

    1. Vanilla, earth, blackberry, cocoa, stone, truffle and espresso bean notes create the complex perfume. In texture, the wine is rich, opulent and packed with layers of sweet, juicy, silky dark plums with fresh, spicy, black cherries.

      93 points - Tasted
      6186 Views
    2. Truffle, tobacco, cassis, black raspberry and forest floor notes produce the complex perfume. The blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc creates layers of deep, long waves of voluptuously textured, dark chocolate covered, fresh black cherries.

      93 points - Tasted
      6915 Views
    3. Spicy blackberry, tobacco, crème de cassis, blueberry, earth and toasty oak aromas are the perfect introduction to this suave, rich, ripe Margaux. Fresh, round and soft, this ends with layers of sweet blackberry and cassis. As this wine develops, it could increase in score.

      92 points - Tasted
      6641 Views
    4. 2009 Giscours shows cassis, cocoa, espresso, citrus, and black raspberry in the nose. Full bodied with ripe tannins, the wine finishes with sweet black raspberry and chocolate notes. The finest Giscours I have tasted. 91/93 Pts

      92 points - Tasted
      7569 Views
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  6. 2008 Château Giscours

    1. Earth, truffle, tobacco leaf, cassis and notes of bitter chocolate are easy to find. The smooth textured, refined, charming wine finishes with chocolate covered cassis sensations.

      91 points - Tasted
      4932 Views
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  7. 2006 Château Giscours

    1. Medium bodied with more of a focus on red than black fruits, this is on a rapid march to maturity. I’d probably drink this on the young side.

      87 points - Tasted
      2959 Views
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  8. 2005 Château Giscours

    1. Lush, silky, red and black fruits with earthy, truffle notes welcome you to a soft, elegant, sensuous expression of Margaux that is already starting to drink well and will only get better with age.

      92 points - Tasted
      5077 Views
    2. Blackberry, cassis, truffle, woodsy aromas with hints of flowers prepare you for this medium/full boded, refined Margaux wine. With its plush, silky textures, ripe dark berries, structure and balance, this will only get better with another 5-10 years of bottle age.

      92 points - Tasted
      8057 Views
    3. Cassis, earth, blackberry and spice aromatics are held together in this ripe, fresh, and round Margaux which ends in a tannic, cassis and blackberry filled finish. This wine needs time, at least another 5-7 years.

      90 points - Tasted
      10079 Views
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  9. 2003 Château Giscours

    1. Light ruby in color, smoke, truffle, earth, cigar box, fennel and jammy black cherry scents create the complex aromatics. Medium bodied, silky, sexy and filled with black raspberry and spice. This is not a wine that requires more age. I’d drink this over the next 6 to 9 years.

      91 points - Tasted
      2099 Views
    2. With black licorice, back cherries, truffle and cassis aromas, this silky textured, ripe, medium/full bodied, elegant wine is developing nicely. The wine, which is on a fast track to maturity, ends with a refined, spicy, cassis and kirsch filled finish.

      91 points - Tasted
      6698 Views
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  10. 2001 Château Giscours

    1. With a perfume filled with blackberries, earth, tobacco, smoke and cedar scents, this silky, medium bodied Margaux wine ends with an elegant, cassis filled finish. Another 2-3 years will more complexity to the wine.

      90 points - Tasted
      3716 Views
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  11. 2000 Château Giscours

    1. Drinking great today, the wine is filled with sweet black and red fruits, tobacco, earth, spice, smoke, spice, plum and truffle, Supple textures, ripe fruit and soft tannins are found in the round finish.

      93 points - Tasted
      6630 Views
    2. This expressive nose displays tobacco, smoke, forest floor, cassis and earthy notes. The wine has really fleshed out, ending with soft textured, fleshy, dark berries, cherry and spice.

      93 points - Tasted
      7219 Views
    3. Still young in appearance, this wine is filled with floral, crème de cassis, spice, tobacco and truffle scents. Soft textures and good concentration of flavors are found in the supple, fresh, ripe, dark plum finish. Still young, this Bordeaux wine will only get better with age.

      92 points - Tasted
      8176 Views
    4. Dark purple color. Blackberries, cassis, blueberries cranberries and oak on the nose. Hints of tobacco develop after an hour in the glass. This smooth palate offers ripe, chocolate covered blackberries in the finish.

      91 points - Tasted
      2209 Views
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  12. 1998 Château Giscours

    1. Cassis, forest floor, tobacco, earth and blackberry aromas lead to a medium bodied wine that ends with a red and black fruit filled finish.

      88 points - Tasted
      3024 Views
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  13. 1995 Château Giscours

    1. Crème de cassis, tobacco, earth and cherry aromas, medium bodied with some tannin to resolve, this lighter style of Margaux ends with a cassis and strawberry finish.

      88 points - Tasted
      3803 Views
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  14. 1990 Château Giscours

    1. Cedar chest, tobacco, forest floor, menthol, and cassis aromas show a wine that is fully mature. This medium bodied wine ends with a short kirsch finish. Drink up as this is already starting to gently decline.

      88 points - Tasted
      2508 Views
    2. Earthy. forest floor, tobacco, cassis and green olive tapenade scents are easy to find. Medium bodied, with cassis and hints of green flavors, this is fully mature and should be drunk up.

      88 points - Tasted
      2601 Views
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  15. 1989 Château Giscours

    1. Light crimson and tea in color, the wine offers earth, tobacco, cassis, barnyard and cherry flavors. With a short, red fruit finish, this is beginning to dry out. Consumers should drink this sooner than later.

      86 points - Tasted
      3213 Views
    2. Tobacco, barnyard aromas, and stewed fruit make up the perfume. Austere on the palate and well past its prime. Drink up.

      83 points - Tasted
      2171 Views
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  16. 1986 Château Giscours

    1. Severe bricking in color, with stewed prunes and wet earth sensations, this wine is in serious decline.

      80 points - Tasted
      2284 Views
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  17. 1985 Château Giscours

    1. Smoke, cassis, cedar wood, damp earth and spice aromas open to a medium bodied wine that ends with a cranberry, cassis and green olive finish. The fruit is fading from this wine. It requires immediate consumption.

      82 points - Tasted
      2195 Views
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  18. 1975 Château Giscours

    1. Tobacco, earth, cassis, forest floor and tea aromas lead to a medium bodied, lean wine that ends with a slightly tart, strawberry finish. Drink up.

      83 points - Tasted
      2774 Views
    2. Tobacco, truffle and earthy, forest scents are the best of this wine. The austere, lean and unripe style is not pleasing to the palate. Drink up.

      82 points - Tasted
      3819 Views
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  19. 1970 Château Giscours

    1. From magnum, light ruby with tea accents in the color, the wine offers earth, truffle, tobacco, stone and hints of cassis. Medium bodied and already in decline, this needs to be drunk up sooner than later.

      87 points - Tasted
      2827 Views
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  20. 1961 Château Giscours

    1. A complex perfume filled with earth, forest floor, truffle, smoke, blackberry, cigar box, spice and ash. Full bodied and concentrated, but the black cherry flavor was marred by the tart cranberry sensation in the short, traditionally styled finish. I imagine this wine was better about 10-15 years ago.

      85 points - Tasted
      2115 Views
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  21. 1957 Château Giscours

    1. Coffee colored, with earthy, spice notes, this light wine finished with a sweet and sour berry note.

      78 points - Tasted
      1532 Views
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  22. 1920 Château Giscours

    1. With a ruby and rust color that was dark for its advanced age, tobacco, ash, cigar box, truffle, forest floor, earth and hints of strawberry opened to a rustic, medium bodied, tart finish that in reality, was not bad considering the vintage. However, this bottle has been in cold storage in Bordeaux since the day it was bottled. At close to 100 years of age, from a weak vintage, it was a nice showing.

      72 points - Tasted
      1336 Views
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