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2018 Chateau d'Issan Margaux

  • 96 Point 3rd Classified Growth Bordeaux
  • "Such Balance and Harmony" ~James Suckling
  • 98 Point Vintage, Wine Enthusiast
  • Outstanding Aging Potential 
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About the Wine

"The best reds are dense and tannic, with slightly higher alcohol and lower acidity, but terrific drive and definition," said Wine Spectator of the 2018 Bordeaux Vintage, scoring thevintage an impressive 96 points.

The 2018 Château d'Issan Margaux has all the markers of “one of the best reds” of the vintage that Wine Spectator spoke of. It’s dense—showing off real depth in its blue/purplish fruit—according to Vinous. It’s tannic—with tannins gently layering but adding up to quite the wall at this stage, suggesting a long life ahead—according to Decanter. It has drive and definition—with a great core of muscular fruit—according to Wine Advocate. 

This praise is no surprise.Chateau d’Issan is a classified growth, after all. Designated a Third Growth Classified Châteaux, wines in this category provide an excellent value. You still get classified wine without paying the extremely high premiums you’d pay for first or second growths. We’re not talking under the $20 value here. We’re talking Bordeaux value, a whole different level of value. Thetype of value wine lovers and wine collectors dream of.

Think about this: Château d’Issan isjust 2.5 km from Chateau Margaux, one of the world’s most lauded wineries. A bottle of 2018 Chateaux Margaux can cost over $700. The d’Issan, grown just down the road, is hundreds of dollars less, yet it doesn’t taste as if it’s hundreds of dollars less. 

Made from the old vines in the Château d’Issan enclosure in the middle of the Margaux appellation, this wine expresses theexquisite bouquet so characteristic of Margaux and stands out with its suppleness, subtlety, elegance, and long-keeping potential that come from its unique terroir. 

Aging: 50% new and 50% second-year barrels for an estimated 18 months.

Tasting Notes60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot. Intense, with dark fruits—blackberries, black cherries—cocoa, spice, and leather. Tannins still need time to settle, but with age the balance and harmony of the wine will shine.

Reviews

Aromas of blackberry, plum, cocoa, iodine, clove, and graphite. It’s medium-to-full-bodied with firm, silky tannins. Tightly wound and mineral at the moment, with dusty gravel and graphite notes, yet with focus and precision. Such balance and harmony for the vintage. Try from 2025. ~96 Points, James Suckling.

Well-balanced, fleshed out by redcurrant, raspberry, and black cherry fruits. There is tannic build-up, gently layering but adding up to quite the wall at this stage, suggesting a long life ahead, and beautifully judged cigar smoke edging through the finish. Good stuff from Issan, and a wine I have tasted both at en primeur and during aging in barrel. 50% new oak. Drinking Window 2026 - 2045. ~95 Points, Decanter.

The 2018 D'Issan is composed of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, aging in 50% new and 50% second year barrels for an estimated 18 months. With 13.97% alcohol and a deep garnet-purple color, it features baked berries, warm cherries, and cassis with spice box and fragrant earth plus tea hints. Medium to full-bodied, it has a great core of muscular fruit with firm, fine-grained tannins, with nice freshness, finishing layered with mineral notions. ~94-96 Points, Wine Advocate.

The 2018 d’Issan is a potent, backward wine that is going to need a number of years to come into its own. Dark and brooding, with serious intensity, the 2018 shows off real depth in its blue/purplish fruit, chocolate, spice, smoke, and leather flavors. The tannins are imposing today, but then again, everything about the 2018 feels large in scale. I can’t wait to see how the 2018 ages. ~94 Points, Vinous Media.

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