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History

Desmirail was classified a 3rd Grand Cru Classé as part of the 1855 classification. The wine is the result of a parcel of exceptional terroir within the Margaux appellation, which it represents perfectly with its delicate balance.

The name DESMIRAIL has been associated with wine production in the Médoc region since the end of the seventeenth century. Jean Desmirail, a lawyer in Bordeaux's parliament, gave his name to the property when he received it as part of his wife’s, Demoiselle Rausan du Ribail dowry.

The château belonged to the Desmirail family until just before the 1855 classification, when it was purchased by Monsieur Sipière, the estate manager at Château Margaux. It was under his ownership that Desmirail was classified as a Troisième Grand Cru Classé (third growth).

At the beginning of the twentieth century the property was briefly owned by Robert de Mendelssohn, the nephew of the famous composer, before being acquired by Martial Michel, a glove maker from the north of France. Michel went on to sell the château shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War to Château Palmer.

The Château Palmer company owned the property for several years before selling it to Lucien Lurton, an iconic figure in the Bordeaux wine world, in 1980.

In 1992, Lucien Lurton passed on his properties to each of his ten children. Denis, one of the older children and a lawyer by profession, took over the management of Château Desmirail. Today Denis is taking his father's work even further, modernizing the wine making facilities and putting all of his energy into the development of this Grand Cru Classé.

 

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Vineyards

Internationally renowned for its Grand Cru production, the Margaux appellation, on the left bank in Bordeaux offers wines that are characterized by finesse and elegance.

The outstanding quality of Margaux’s wines can be explained by both the unique microclimate created by its position between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gironde estuary, and the exceptional terroir. Approximately 2.5 million years ago, at the beginning of the quaternary era, various rivers carried gravel to the region and it is this gravel that is key to the successfull cultivation of exceptional vines. The gravel stones store the sun’s heat, and then radiate it back into the soil, helping to guard against frosts and encourage sugars to be produced by the vine ; it also regulates the vines' water supply.

At the property, these pebbles create an ideal terroir for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, which accounts for 70% of the vines, with the rest of the plantings being made up of Merlot (29%) and Petit Verdot (1%).

These grape varieties are grown using sustainable and environmentally friendly techniques on an area of about forty hectares with minimum use of pesticides. The soil is worked in various traditional ways (ploughing into mounds around the base of the vines in the winter, returning of the soil into space between the vines in the spring, etc.) and treatments are adapted to the weather conditions.

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Winemaking

Vinification is carried out using modern techniques and equipment, but with an overarching respect for tradition. This results in a wine that can be enjoyed in its youth, but which also has a tremendous capacity to improve with age.  Strict grape selection and carefully adapted maturation methods are both key to making Château Desmirail into the Grand Vin it is.

Desmirail's remarkable winery buildings date from the end of the nineteenth century, and reflect various architectural styles. There are three vat rooms, corresponding to different periods in the property's history.

- At the end of the nineteenth century, an invention arrived that revolutionized vat rooms: the Médoc Vat Room, which operates by gravity. A remarkable example was built at Desmirail; typical of the period, it consists of an exceptional roof structure in the shape of the inverted hull of a ship, and then underneath there are cast iron pillars (emblematic of the industrial era). This room has held four oak casks since 1999.

- In 1997, Denis Lurton invested in a modern stainless steel vat room, with vats of various capacities to enable vinification on a plot-by-plot basis.

- During the 2010 harvest, a smaller vat room was inaugurated, consisting of oak vats, reserved mainly for the vinification of the older plots.

The property is also equipped with three cellar rooms, displaying a combination of traditional architecture and modern features, they are used to store barrels of the First and Second wine.

In the modernisation of these facilities, Denis Lurton and Technical Director Pierre Lafeuillade have been able to optimize and customize the existing buildings while at the same time preserving their original character.

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Inside information

THE BIRTH OF THE WINE

Harvests
Each wine is the result of a year's work in the vineyard. The grapes are hand-picked by a team of sixty people.
After being transported to the vat room, the bunches are de-stemmed and the grapes are sorted and crushed, before being vinified on a plot-by-plot basis. This vinification of each parcel enables an expression of the diversity of the terroir and of the individual grape varieties.

Vinifications
Two types of vat are used for vinification: oak and stainless steel. The wooden ones are preferred for the older plots. Traditional vinification techniques are employed, with steady, gentle extraction, adapted to each grape variety.

Blending
The pivotal stage in the creation of each vintage is the blending wich is carried out in November.
The owner, assisted by the technical director and the consultant oenologist, Jacques Boissenot, select which vats will be used to make Desmirail (the First wine) and Initial de Desmirail (the Second wine).
The decision is based on a consensus between the team at the property and the oenologist, who brings his experience and an external eye.

Maturing
The wines are matured in barrels for about a year. For the Grand Vin, the percentage of new barrels varies depending on the vintage but is never less than 30 %. Approximately every three months, the wines are racked in order to clarify them. Finally, after a year, the wines are blended in the wooden vats and given a final clarification with egg white.

Bottling
This takes place at the château about twenty months after the harvest.

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Highlights

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  45 wines 

2021 Château Margaux / Ruby. Cassis, blackberries, anise, floral, violets, spices, dark fruits, anise nose, nuanced, layered, scented and detailed. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, anise, spices, liquorice, nuanced, elegant texture, long finish. 13,1% alcohol. PH 3,64. 97-99

1m 16d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  745 wines 

This years "en primeur" tasting seemed like a journey in time. Bordeaux is back to a more moderate alcohol level and the style is lighter and more elegant. One could say the wines are reminiscent of the 80s, however made with more experience and the modern techniques today. It is not a powerful vintage. The wines are elegant, however the well made ones have an excellent persistence, depth and length. They offer a convincing potential for a long ageing and promote elegance in Bordeaux again. It is a true vintage of terroir although there is a lot of talk about a vintners vintage. However, terroir was the decisive factor in 2021.


Professor Axel Marchal has presented the 10 key points of this vintage on the occasion of the Union des Grands Crus press tasting:


"1. The start of the growing season was marked by severe frost on the 7th and 8th of April.


2. Wet and gloomy weather in May slowed down the vine growth although a providential window of fine weather helped flowering unfold in ideal conditions in early June.


3. Thunderstorms in June slowed down the onset of water stress.


4: Cool, dull weather in July increased the threat of vine diseases.


5. Véraison (colour change) was observed in mid-August, while vine growth had not stopped yet.


6. Thanks to a cool summer, the dry white wines are brilliant, lively and aromatic.


7. The wonderful Indian Summer allowed the red grape varieties to ripen in ideal conditions and preserved aromas.


8. The Merlots are fresh and aromatic while the Cabernets from the finest terroirs are well-structured with good balance.


9. The development of Botrytis cinerea in Sauternes was delayed by the cool summer and eventually triggered by rainfall in mid-September.


10. Despite low yields, the botrytised sweet white wines are of excellent quality."


It will be exciting to see the evolution of this vintage which produced in many cases yields on a very low scale. Arguably it will be a vintage praised for it finesse in the future. A vintage rated on finesse and persistence rather than on sheer power and opulence.

1m 19d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  73 wines 

Château Langoa Barton 2020 – Sister property to Leoville Barton and similar to her big "sister" in terms of the quality. Big scaled on the nose and palate with creamy blackcurrants, graphite, fat tannin, strong backbone, and striking complexity. Classy stuff.  53.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 8.5% Cabernet Franc. 13.5% alcohol.


94+p. 

11m 23d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  38 wines 

Château Mouton-Rothschild 2020 / Ruby. Fruit driven, cassis, anise, some spices nose, blackberries, intensely scented, almost transparent yet such depth. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, dark fruits, smooth and detailed, layered, anise, liquorice, deep, long. Superb freshness to it. Such energy. Pauillac is not the place that shines the most in 2020, but this one does. 97-99

1y 13d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  26 wines 

Château Margaux 2018 - 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Impressed greatly with an incredibly scented nose, elegance, sophisticated and refined touch, astonishing complexity, and length. Simply a proper "iron fist in the velvet glove"! Amazing stuff. 99-100p (98-100p).

1y 28d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  650 wines 

2020 – the paradox vintage 


2020 began with mild temperatures even breaking temperature record highs at the beginning of February. These conditions led to a premature budbreak. Budding developed unevenly, very much depending on the locations although the coo and humid weather in April had not a very significant impact on slowing down the growth of the vines. Finally all the vines came into bloom at the end of May without any significant coulure or millerandage. At the start of June, frequent rain intensified the pressure of mildew. From mid-June, the weather changed. The whole Bordelais saw a period of very dry weather for two months. However, the earlier accumulation of water reserves prevented water stress. Around July 18 a heat wave began to build up but the cool nighty prevented water stress on the wines again. The veraison started at the end of July and went on till the beginning of August. The heatwave in August accentuated water stress, but shorter rainy episodes avoided a complete block. The dry and sunny weather in September encouraged the grapes maturity and harvest started on September 10 with a rather mild weather. Towards the middle of September, rain prevented the fruits from wilting but as its frequency was quite concerning, the haves was pushed forward. "Le diabolique" is the title given to this vintage by Véronique Sanders. It is a very special French word, which is not correctly translated with “diabolic” in English. In France, the expression means to overcome the devil. And the vintners succeeded. 2020 is clearly a vintner’s vintage which asked a permanent reinvention of the wineries, struggling hard with this difficult vintage. However, the vintage surprises with excellent wines, exemplary freshness and elegance and very dense structure. In former times it was said that the vine has to suffer to make exquisite wines, in this vintage the people have suffered to make a great wine. The first part of notes for this tasting with over 800 wines you will find today. More notes will follow over the coming days.

1y 1m ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  100 wines 

I'll repeat myself with the phrase, "Pomerol is one of the strongest districts in 2018"! The truth is that it's s an accurate and valid statement. Despite not tasting Petrus and Lafleur, to name some of the big hitters, I can assure, that there is enough exceptional goof for every taste from Pomerol. As everywhere in Bordeaux, there also are very few wines under the usual standard in Pomerol.


 

1y 3m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  52 wines 

The Conseil des Grands Crus Classés en 1855 represents all the Châteaux of the worldwide renowned classification which has been established for the world exhibition in Paris in 1855. It is a great chance to taste most of the wines of this illustrious circle. On May 20, 2020 the samples arrived in my office and were stored under pristine conditions to be savoured the following day. As most of the Châteaux have not been able to show their wines yet, it was a unique opportunity to get a broader picture of the vintage 2019. A few Châteaux have already sent wines before the shutdown so that I even had the option to try them a second time. This might explain some slight adjustments in tasting notes and ratings. The Covid-19 crisis is a nightmare -not only for the Primeurs- but in the same time it offered a perfect chance as well. Usually, the Primeurs would have been presented at the end of March. Now, seven to eight weeks later, the wines had more time to mature and to evolve. The samples performed very well and todays tasting confirmed a lot of quotes from producers in Bordeaux. Bruno-Eugène Borie from Château Ducru-Beaucaillou sees 2019 in a line with the excellent vintages of 2016, 2010, 2009 und 2005. Henri Lurton talks about his best vintage, along with 2016, he has ever vinified at Château Brane-Cantenac. Philippe Dhalluin from Château Mouton-Rothschild asses the vintage as rich and abundant in quality and in quantity as well. After some smaller crops they came back to an average production. Emmanuel Cruse from Château d’Issan sees that 2019 has a lot in common with 2016 yet preserving more freshness. It is a very good vintage but appearing at a very difficult time on the market. At Château Coutet in Barsac, Philippe and Aline Baly were harvesting in three passes with a total of 19 harvesting days. They judge the conditions as rather ideal: “These climatic conditions have generated a harvest whose quality is indisputably present.” The result is a vintage with great qualities. In my opinion 2019 is on a comparable quality level with 2018, however showing even more freshness. Terroir might be more important in this vintage than in 2018 but the best ones show truly great wines.

2y 1m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW/BWW2022-Best Germany Wine Critic of the World, Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  22 wines 

Antoine Médeville is a consulting enologist in Bordeaux working for a number of estates in Bordeaux and Tuscany. He organised an arrivage tasting for the vintage 2015. The wines have been tasted blind in Essen.

4y 5m ago

 Will Gardener / Nickolls & Perks, Wine Merchant (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  35 wines 

2015 was overall a very dry year, with hydric stress a major concern in July. August brought welcome relief, rejuvenating the water table and unblocking the evolution. By this time, when veraison (the change of colour) took place, the berry size had already been set – small with thick skins. This is where the vintage’s tell-tale ripeness and silky textures come from.


The harvest conditions were ideal, again generally dry with cool nights, helping shape the vintage’s freshness and aromatics. The merlot crop would be picked in ideal conditions and at the vigneron’s leisure, aiming for optimum ripeness per plot. Many of the top châteaux now have the means to dissect and elevate dozens of different plots independently, all helping to improve the final assemblage. At Cheval Blanc we spoke with the technical director Pierre Olivier Clouet, who explained that they had taken practically a whole month to pick, with the result being almost every plot at perfect ripeness.


Each plot is fermented separately. Barrel samples of each are blended together in many different combinations and tasted blind to select which blend works best for the first and second wines. The final assemblage for the first wine consisted of all the plots except two that were ultimately discarded and sold off in bulk. And so for the first time since 1988 there will be no second wine at Château Cheval Blanc, a tribute to the overall consistency and quality of the harvest.


This is extraordinary scenario but a familiar tale in this vintage. In


general the percentage of first wine was comparatively high at most


châteaux and so there should be good volumes.

4y 7m ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  161 wines 

Bordeaux 2016 vintage!

5y 2m ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  55 wines 

Finally, after some busy days tasting back home in Oslo, here is 2016 Margaux. A vintage with a lot of success in this commune as well. Beautiful texture, pure fruits and that gorgeous scented in abundance almost Margaux typicity that is shining very clearly this year. Another stellar commune in 2016.

5y 2m ago

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