Learn everything about Chateau Kirwan Margaux Third Growth with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn the best vintages, a history of the property, information on the vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles
Chateau Kirwan History, Overview
The founding of Chateau Kirwan dates to 1710, when the vineyard was bought by Sir John Collingwood. Collingwood was a popular negociant in Bordeaux in those days. The daughter of Collingwood married Mark Kirwan. After the wedding, both she and the Margaux property took on a new name.
It was while Mark Kirwan was in charge of the estate that the vineyards were increased. Mark Kirwan was also responsible for building the chateau that remains in use today.
Chateau Kirwan was one of the few Medoc properties that Thomas Jefferson, the Ambassador to France and future third President of the United States visited on his Bordeaux wine tasting trip. We know this based on the personal records and diaries of Thomas Jefferson, written in 1780.
Mark Kirwan passed away in 1815 and the estate passed to Camille Godard, the future Mayor of Bordeaux. In 1882 Godard gifted Chateau Kirwan to the city of Bordeaux.
However, the city of Bordeaux was not prepared to own a vineyard, so in 1902, they signed an agreement with the negociant company, Schyler and Schroder to produce the wine and manage the estate. The Schyler family was quite experienced in the Bordeaux wine trade, having moved to Bordeaux in 1738.
Shortly after their arrival in Bordeaux, they merged with the Schroder family to create the negociant firm, Schroder and Schyler in 1739. Schroder and Schyler are still in business today.
In 1907, the city of Bordeaux sold Chateau Kirwan to another negociant, Georges Guestier, who eventually sold the vineyard to Schroder and Schyler in 1925. Schroder and Schyler continue to own and manage Chateau Kirwan.
Chateau Kirwan The Modern Age
Jumping ahead a century or so, after a long period when Chateau Kirwan was not known for producing the quality of wine the Left Bank estate was able to produce, the management hired Michel Rolland to consult the estate starting in 1991.
Michel Rolland was replaced in 2006 at Chateau Kirwan. Jean Henri Schyler was in charge of managing the chateau until he passed away, November, 2016 at the age of 85. It is expected that the three children, Yann Schyler, Sophie Schyler and Nathaile Schyler, will all help manage the property going forward.
Aside from visiting the beautiful grounds, one of the unique features of visiting the estate is the tasting room. Located upstairs, with couches, chairs and coffee tables, it feels like you’re sitting in a friend’s living room, while tasting the wines instead of a grand chateau in the Medoc. It’s really quite charming.
Chateau Kirwan Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The 40 hectare vineyard of Chateau Kirwan is planted to 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. This shows an increase in the amount of Cabernet Sauvignon and a decrease of Cabernet Franc in their vineyards.
As you can see from their grape varietal mix in the vineyard, Chateau Kirwan maintains one of the higher mixes of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot in Margaux.
As it can be difficult for those varietals to reach peak maturity, they are not always fully blended into the Grand Vin. There is also a small amount of Carmenere that was recently planted. Depending on the vintage it’s possible that starting with the 2017 vintage, a tiny portion of Carmenere could be added to the blend.
Chateau Kirwan is quite close to the same size today as it was at the time of the 1855 Classification of the Medoc. With no changes of substance here, they remain one of the few Classified Growths to be the same size and terroir as they had when they were originally classified.
The terroir of Chateau Kirwan is gravel, sand and limestone soils. The terroir of Chateau Kirwan is located on one of the highest points in the Margaux appellation with their peak elevation being in the Cantenac sector that reaches 21 meters at its high-point. This is their best terroir. On average, the vines are close to 30 years of age.
However, they have old vines, some of which are close to 60 years of age. The vineyard is planted to a vine density of 8,000 vines per hectare. The vineyard can be divided into 46 separate parcels.
In 2016 Chateau Kirwan completed a renovation of their wine making facilities. The new design was created by the noted French architect, Guy Tropes. With the new cellars, they replaced their old stainless steel vats with 37 new, cement, tulip-shaped vats that vary in size from 40 to 50 hectoliters that allow for parcel by parcel vinification.
At Chateau Kirwan, they prefer to co-inoculation in the fermentation process, which means that both the alcoholic and malolactic fermentation take place at the same time in vat. The wine is aged in an average of 40% new, French oak barrels for between 18 to 20 months, depending on the character of the vintage before bottling.
Since 1993, the property started producing a second wine, Les Charmes de Kirwan. On average, Chateau Kirwan produces close to 16,000 cases a year of wine.
The best vintages of Chateau Kirwan are: 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2005 and 2000.
When to Drink Chateau Kirwan, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Chateau Kirwan can be enjoyed on the young side with decanting. Young vintages can be decanted for an average of 1-3 hours, give or take. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.
Chateau Kirwan is usually better with at least 7-10 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau Kirwan offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 10-25 years of age after the vintage.
Serving Chateau Kirwan, with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Chateau Kirwan is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift.
Chateau Kirwan is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Kirwan is a perfect match with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta as well as cheese.
Château Kirwan Wine Tasting Notes
23 Vintages 150,855 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating
|2020||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
With a gorgeous depth of color, licorice, tobacco leaf, boysenberry, black plum, espresso and floral nuances come to the surface easily. Silky, refined, sweet and vibrant, the fruit lingers on the palate all the way through to the earth, spice and cocoa packed finish. This is already quite expressive and should be just great with 6 years or so of aging. 92-94 Pts
916 Views Tasted May 20, 2021
|2019||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Flowers and sweet cherries with licorice and coffee notes on the nose start off nicely. On the palate, the wine is soft, silky, medium-bodied and fresh with a fresh, juicy, dark cherry and cassis finish. 90-92 Pts
3,484 Views Tasted Jun 8, 2020
|2018||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Medium bodied, with layers of silky, soft, sweet, red fruits, licorice and tobacco leaf, the wine is charming, refined and fresh. Give it 4-5 years in the cellar and enjoy over the following 15-20 years after that. 92 Points
989 Views Tasted Mar 9, 2021
Medium bodied, with sweet red fruits, coffee bean, flowers and herbs in the nose, the wine is fresh, bright and juicy in the finish. 90-92 Pts
5,275 Views Tasted Apr 19, 2019
|2017||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
With its floral notes and spicy red fruits, the wine is medium bodied, sweet and fresh with an upright cherry core, creating a lighter style and an early drinking vintage. The wine was produced from blending 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. The harvest took place September 14 to September 28. 89 Points
4,073 Views Tasted Apr 26, 2018
|2016||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Tobacco, flowers, earth and red fruits come alive in this medium bodied, fresh, juicy, ripe, soft textured gem. Give it a few years in the bottle before pulling a cork. 92 Points
3,176 Views Tasted Sep 21, 2019
The nose of wet earth, flowers, thyme, and fresh, bright cherry is just great. The palate is about the soft, bright fresh red fruits with a hint of licorice and polished tannins. 92 Points
1,966 Views Tasted Feb 10, 2019
Lilies, oak, smoke and black cherry form the character of this medium-bodied wine. With round polish to the tannins, this is the first vintage produced in the new cellars of Kirwan and it should be ready to drink after a few years of aging. 91 Points
3,211 Views Tasted Apr 29, 2017
|2015||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Opulent, lush, forward style of Margaux with good florality, sweet, ripe, round red fruits, a touch of smoke, cocoa and tobacco leaf, plush, polished tannins and a soft, silky finish. Still young, without much secondary development, give it at least 5 more years, or maybe a bit longer. 92 Points
4,093 Views Tasted May 3, 2020
Violets, lilacs, sweet cherries, wet earth and just a hint of tobacco. On the palate, the wine is lush, soft, silky and loaded with sweet, dark red fruits. There is sweetness, elegance and purity in the finesse driven finish. 92 Points
4,582 Views Tasted May 21, 2018
Showing much better from bottle than it did in barrel, the full bodied, nuanced wine offers lush, soft textures, silky, ripe, sweet, dark red fruits and a polish in the finish that stands out in a crowd. This will be even better with age. There is a lot of charm here, making this without doubt, the best wine Kirwan has ever produced. 92 Points
3,341 Views Tasted Mar 12, 2018
Nice wine here. Supple textured and with a refined, elegant, silky quality to the tannins. The fruit is ripe, fresh sweet and juicy. There is good concentration, energy, length and enough complexity to keep you interested. This should age and develop nicely. 92 Points
3,573 Views Tasted Sep 29, 2017
Medium-bodied with a forest floor and cassis character, this wine is elegant, soft and polished with sweet, fresh, dark, red fruits in the finish. 89 - 91 Pts
2,801 Views Tasted Apr 21, 2016
|2014||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Flowers, earth, espresso and plum notes get the wine going. Medium bodied, bright and focused on its red fruits and almost crisp finish, this needs some time to better come together. 90 Points
2,564 Views Tasted Feb 4, 2017
Ripe dark berries with hints of cassis, thyme, espresso and earth lead to a round, soft, fresh wine with a black cherry inspired finish. 89-91 Pts
3,371 Views Tasted Apr 26, 2015
|2013||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Focused on red berries, flowers and oak, this forward styled, medium bodied, elegant, soft textured, early drinking wine is ready to go. 88 Points
1,943 Views Tasted Feb 11, 2016
|2012||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Forward, and already easy drink, the black cherry, smoke, coffee and earthy notes show up with little effort. Soft, smooth and easy to drink, this medium bodied wine is already quite charming. A few more years will add more to the wine, but it's going to be an early drinker. This bottle was popped and poured. 91 Points
3,655 Views Tasted Aug 4, 2016
Blending 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, the wine shows floral, espresso bean, sweet, black cherry and earthy notes. The polished tannins need a few years to soften, while the wine adds complexity. The wine has improved quite a bit from barrel to bottle. 90 Points
3,636 Views Tasted Mar 11, 2015
|2011||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Medium bodied, short, sweet and tart red berries, spice and earth are found in this wine. From a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 9% Petit Verdot, some green, drying notes appear in the bright, red berry finish. 86 Points
2,320 Views Tasted Feb 17, 2014
From 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 9% Petit Verdot, reaching 13.4% alcohol, the wine will see aging in 45% new oak. Coffee, black cherry, and licorice with medium body and fresh, ripe cherry, coffee and bitter chocolate in the finish. 89-90 Pts
2,574 Views Tasted Apr 19, 2012
|2010||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Coffee bean, flowers, oak, smoke and black cherry notes are the best part of the wine. While sweet, round and well made from a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot, in the end, the wine lacks that extra special something. 90 Points
5,078 Views Tasted Feb 13, 2013
|2009||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
This is really developed nicely. With a floral edge, the fresh cherries, smoke, espresso and tobacco notes are right out in front. Soft, polished, round, easy to like and easy to drink, with a bit of air, this is drinking quite well. 92 Points
3,012 Views Tasted Sep 20, 2019
Lushly textured, round, supple, and already expressive. Very ripe on the nose, with richness on the palate. 91 Points
4,514 Views Tasted Sep 29, 2017
Smoke, incense, truffle, blackberry, barbecue and floral notes create the aromatic profile. With an hour of air, the wine softened, filled out and served up a lush, textured, dusty, earthy, dark chocolate and black cherry profile. While quite tasty now, even though it's young, this should be even better with another 5 years of age. 92 Points
4,050 Views Tasted Aug 12, 2016
The blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot and equal parts Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc produced a wine that opens with licorice, cocoa, smoke and aromas of fresh dark berries. The medium/full bodied, wine ends with chocolate covered, black raspberries. 91 Points
5,097 Views Tasted Feb 1, 2012
|2008||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
This wine opens with floral cassis, earth and spice aromatics. The elegant, already open Margaux, combines cassis and cherry flavors in the finish. 90 Points
4,874 Views Tasted Jan 28, 2011
08 Château Kirwan sported a lot of color and body; but while the wine was certainly well made, it lacked the level of complexity found in the 05. 86-89 Pts
4,885 Views Tasted Aug 31, 2009
|2007||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
A melange of red fruits, made from cherries, black raspberries and plums, the wine is elegant, refined soft and charming. Medium bodied, with all its tannin melted away, this is quite nice for the vintage. 90 Points
2,603 Views Tasted Sep 2, 2017
|2006||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Medium bodied, soft textured and showing ripe, sweet, dark, red fruits, earth, hints of flowers, black cherries and thyme on the nose. You can drink this now, or age it for up to another decade. The wine was made from blending 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot and 8% Cabernet Franc. 90 Points
3,720 Views Tasted May 25, 2016
Developing nicely, with a nose of dark red fruits, flowers, wet earth and tobacco, the medium bodied, soft textured wine finishes with fresh, sweet black raspberries. 90 Points
3,040 Views Tasted Sep 5, 2015
|2005||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Still deeply colored with licorice, espresso, cassis, blackberries and earthy scents, this round textured, flashy, Margaux wine needs at least another 5 years before it moves into its prime time drinking stage. 90 Points
9,312 Views Tasted Jul 25, 2011
|2004||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Mature, with a secondary nose of tobacco, earth, smoke, lead pencil and blackberries, the wine is soft, easy to drink and finishes with spicy, earthy, black cherries. From a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. There is no reason to hold this any longer. 90 Points
2,942 Views Tasted Jan 4, 2015
Coffee, licorice, spicy black cherry jam and earthy scents open up the wine. Tannic and sturdy in nature, the wine needs at least a few more years before it beings to soften and open up. 90 Points
5,223 Views Tasted Sep 25, 2011
|2003||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Licorice, coffee, floral, plum, damp earth and cassis scents pop from the still deeply colored wine. With rich, fat, round textures and a sweet, ripe, licorice, chocolate and jammy plum tinged finish, this fleshy, opulent Margaux wine is already is starting to drink well. 91 Points
5,041 Views Tasted Sep 20, 2013
Licorice, smoke, coffee, juicy black plums and jam make up the fun perfume. Fleshy, soft and round in texture, the wine ends with a black licorice and blackberry liqueur infused finish. This is drinking well now and should continue to improve for at least another 10-15 more years. 91 Points
5,054 Views Tasted Dec 7, 2011
|2001||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Ready for prime time drinking, the wine is round, medium/full bodied, smooth textured and delivers earthy, sweet, black cherries and tobacco with a sweet plum and cocoa note in the finish. 90 Points
4,687 Views Tasted Jan 29, 2016
|2000||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Black fruit and licorice filled perfume pairs well with soft textures and reasonable concentration, but lacks excitement. 88 Points
7,579 Views Tasted Mar 5, 2010
|1996||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Medium bodied, elegant and fresh, but a bit too short and simple. More charm here, than complexity. 87 Points
3,145 Views Tasted Sep 29, 2017
|1990||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Medium-bodied and on the bright, crisp, side of the red berry fruit range, the wine is fully developed and is already starting to fade. Drink up. 85 Points
2,769 Views Tasted Dec 9, 2018
|1961||Château Kirwan (Margaux)|
Hanging on to life by a thread, with effort one could find the few remaining smidgens of fruit buried deep within its earthy, tobacco filled character. 75 Points
2,687 Views Tasted Nov 30, 2013