Two wine properties have dominated Bordeaux's Margaux region throughout the centuries: Châteaux Lamothe-Margaux and Lamothe-Cantenac. Today they are known as Châteaux Margaux and d’Issan.
The first known reference to Issan dates back to the 12th century when the then province of Guyenne (now Bordeaux) was occupied by the English. The wines from this vineyard were served for the wedding of Eleanor of Aquitaine with Henri II, King of England on 18 May 18, 1152. This makes Château d'Issan one of the oldest wine estates in the region.
In 1945, Emmanuel Cruse – grandfather of the current proprietor who was named after him – purchased the property which, at that time, had only two hectares of vines in production. The Cruse family, which also ran the renowned châteaux of Laujac, Pontet Canet, Giscours, Rauza-Ségla and Taillan, used their experience to restore Issan.
The vineyard now comprises 45 hectares, the same size as it was back in 1855 when it was classified as a third-growth estate.
Emmanuel Cruse, owner and managing director
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'My first visit to Shanghai was in the mid-1990s. China was in its infancy with regard to its interest in wine, and in particular fine Bordeaux. Almost 15 years later, the magic word is '1855'. It took them a good 10 years to assimilate the history of classification, to integrate the French paradox and the health benefits of our red wines, and to learn food-wine associations, which lend themselves quite well to Chinese cuisine.'
– Emmanuel Cruse, Château d’Issan owner
Facebook: Château d'Issan
Château d’Issan exhibits a complex and elegant nose which is instantly recognisable as Margaux, and the rich, velvety mouthfeel unique to the region. The estate consists of 120 hectares, of which 53ha are under vine. Since 1995, the Cruse family has invested more than US$6.5 million in upgrading the property under the direction of Emmanuel Cruse and technical director Eric Pellon.
Every year, Château d’Issan welcomes 80 harvesters, usually a team of regulars who have come to know the vineyards and enjoy working with the château’s permanent staff. When the grapes are brought to the winery, they are sorted a third time on vibrating tables, then gently lowered into separate vats according to plot. After the second fermentation, the wines are aged in French oak barrels.
Blending is a complex process in which the finest wines from the best vineyard plots are combined. Cabernet Sauvignon is always the predominant grape variety, with a smaller amount of Merlot. The proportion varies from year to year, depending on which plots produced the best wines. Blending usually takes place between the end of January and early February. Eric Boissenot has been the estate’s consulting oenologist since 1995. The wine is aged for two years in barrels, and bottled in spring of the second year.