Château d'Issan is one of the most stunning properties in all Bordeaux. This 17th century estate is surrounded by a moat and recalls the famous fairy tale castle of Sleeping Beauty. Officially, Château d'Issan is classified as a Third Growth Bordeaux, but recent vintages can attest to this château's preeminence. This classic estate has been owned by the Cruse family, one of Bordeaux's most renowned wine families, since 1945. The estate's recent direction under the eye of the ever vigilant Emmanuel Cruse has taken this beautifully situated property and its wines to the forefront of the Margaux commune, thereby restoring this ancient château to its former glory.
Château d'Issan has enjoyed a long and illustrious history. For centuries Château d'Issan has been regaled as a noble wine of great distinction. If tradition holds true, Château d'Issan ranked as the most famous Bordeaux in medieval Europe. Its wine was served during what has been called the Middle Age's grandest affair, the 12th century royal wedding of Eleanor of Aquitaine, the French Princess, to Henry Plantagenet, King of England. Later 19th century accounts confirm that Château d'Issan was the favorite of Austria's Emperor Franz Joseph, whose accolades led to the châteaux's current motto: "For the tables of kings and the altars of Gods."
Today, Château d'Issan enjoys the un-remitting praise of savvy connoisseurs and critics alike, including Robert Parker Jr. In such fine vintages as 2003, the wines of Château d'Issan exhibit the classic calling card of all great Margaux wines, an incredible perfume, which is both haunting and beguiling. Moreover, the wines of Château d'Issan express the greatness of Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the unique terroir of the Margaux commune.
In order to insure the highest quality possible in each vintage, Château d'Issan fashions just two wines that bear the name of the estate, Château d'Issan and Blason d'Issan du Château d'Issan. The cépage for the Grand Vin at Château d'Issan is typically 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot and approximately 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot for Blason d'Issan. The rest of the estate's production is sold as Bordeaux Supérieur under the name Moulin d'Issan.
The name Margaux conjures more images of greatness than any other appellation in Bordeaux, and none of those images are associated with the cheap or ordinary. Indeed there is nothing commonplace about the wines of the Margaux appellation nor would anyone, short of a billionaire, ever accuse the wines of Margaux of being inexpensive.
Margaux is the largest and most sprawling of the great communes of the Médoc, encompassing a little over 2,800 acres. It is situated in the southern Médoc just down river from the city of Bordeaux, which makes Margaux the nearest of the Médoc appellations to Bordeaux itself. In reality, the Margaux appellation includes five separate communes, each of which is entitled to bottle its wine as Margaux: Arsac, Cantenac, Labarde, Margaux and Soussans all qualify to bear the illustrious Margaux name.
A classic, fragrant perfume and an elegant, supple style are what distinguish the wines of Margaux from those of other Bordeaux communes. In addition, Cabernet Sauvignon rules the roost in Margaux, constituting up to 90% of the cépage in some Grand Vins like Château Margaux. Yet, in spite of the high percentage of Cabernet, Margaux wines nearly always retain an elegant suppleness that can be found nowhere else. At the same time, the wines of Margaux possess a true propensity for aging, which allows the finest wines of this commune to develop tremendous complexity and texture, second to none.