Château Kirwan is a 3ème Cru Classé Margaux estate that has been in the hands of the Schÿler family since 1739. Vinification is gentle, and is conducted differently according to each plot, with several slow macerations at medium temperature. Alcoholic and malolactic fermentation take place simultaneously to preserve the fruit and the wine’s aromatic purity. Final blending is performed in mid-February at the first extraction, after three months in barrels. Aging continues using four different kinds of wooden barrels, with manual extraction followed by fining with egg whites suited to the needs and characteristics of the wine. Bottling takes place 18 to 21 months later.
The wines tend to show more perfume and roundness than neighbour St-Julien, Pauillac, and St-Estèphe, whilst retaining a certain structure and concentration. Margaux is the most southerly and most extensive of the famous Médoc communes, a patchwork of vineyards with lesser parcels classed purely as Haut-Médoc. A myriad of soil mixtures can be found, clay, limestone, and gravel. Though quality is not always consistent here, the potential is great as more Margaux properties were included in the 1855 classification of the Médoc and Graves than any other appellation.
The two leading lights are the highly sought after Châteaux Margaux and Palmer, though there are several other solid performers including Brane-Cantenac, Rauzan-Ségla, Durfort-Vivens, Lascombes, Giscours, Ferrières, Malescot St Exupery and Luc Thienpont’s new boutique vineyard, Clos des Quatre Vents.