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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.

 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.


 

1m 12d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , 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.

10m 22d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , 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.

3y 3m 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.

3y 4m ago

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

Bordeaux 2016 vintage!

3y 11m 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.

3y 11m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  272 wines 

BORDEAUX VINTAGE 2016 / Tasting "en primeur" is a challenge every year. The wines tasted are showing a tendency only and it is still the beginning of a longer process of evolution and maturation in the barrels. There might be some changes during the next year and a half until the wines will be bottled, but already today the tendency is quite clear. For most of the red wines it will be an outstanding vintage, a vintage for Cabernet, old vines, limestone and clay soil. It was a challenging year for the vintners. An incredibly wet spring was worrying the winegrowers and at the beginning of June, the spirits were down. However warm and dry weather between June 3 and June 11 creating an close to ideal situation for the flowering and good weather conditions starting in mid June changed the nature of the vintage. The fine weather continued into July and August. The month of August was featuring hot weather and a remarkable amount of sunshine but the absence of rain let to water stress. Heavy rain in mid September set an end to water stress and when the sun returned on September 20 the vintage was saved as there was excellent weather till to the end of the harvest. The effects were various. the white wines are on a good quality level and display fruit and flavour but the acidity is lower than in previous vintages and the white wines show an opulent and rather soft style. The noble sweet wines are extremely pure and are more on the rich and powerful side than on the freshness. For the red wines originating from the right terroirs and old vines, the vintage an be called outstanding. Water stress was managed well on limestone and clay terroirs, Cabernet varieties did extremely well and old vines found water even during the stressful dry periods of summer. In some few red wines the tannins are slightly harsh, almost bitter, a result of water stress and/or intense extraction. In general the red wines are on an excellent level with an advantage for the left bank, mainly the Médoc area, and the classic great terroirs of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. 

3y 11m ago

 Andrea Rinaldi / Sommelier, Pro (Italy)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  39 wines 

Last weekends best wines including Cheval 1959, Romanee Conti 1970 etc.

4y 10d ago

 Andrew Caillard MW, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  109 wines 

“Bordeaux 2015 Part II / Château Margaux 2015 / 100-points / Medium deep colour. Lovely cherry, cola, herb aromas. Silky smooth beautifully balanced wine with red currant, red cherry plum flavours with graphite, espresso, chinotto notes, fine loose knit lacy slightly graphite textures and roasted coffee mocha notes. Fruit expands towards the back palate with light graphite plume at the finish. One of the great wines of the vintage and an evocative salute to Ch Margaux’s great winemaker Paul Pontallier (22nd April 1956 – 27th March 2016). 98-100 points ”

4y 11m ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  502 wines 

“2015 will be one of the excellent vintages however hardly to compare to 2009 and 2010 or 2005. In 2015 the region played a major role, terroir was the key to success. For red wines, the limestone plateau in Saint-Emilion performed extremely well as there was water available during the hot summer days and drainage proved to be ideal during rainy August. Therefore the best wines of Saint-Emilion come from limestone soils. The sandy parts of the appellation produced a quite heterogeneous result. In Pomerol it looked the same with very successful wines from the central plateau and more heterogeneous qualities from the areas around. In Fronsac it was not only the terroir which proved important, the vintners decision had a major impact. Pessac-Léognan did extremely well in this vintage with a homogenous quality. The Médoc was divided. The southern part, mainly Margaux and the southern part of Saint-Julien have seen less rain and produced more powerful wines. The northern part of the Médoc, especially Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe have produced a very fine and elegant style with excellent persistence. On the good terroirs, the seeds were ripe which results in very ripe tannins with a silky or velvety expression. In addition the cooler conditions of autumn provoked a very pure and fresh fruit. For the dry white wines the quality depends very much on the origin again. Due to the hot and dry growing season, a lot of white wines show very mild, almost soft acidity but also some phenolic hints in the aftertaste. A few dry white wines are standing out, having preserved freshness and acidity. The sweet wines are remarkably good, very rich in character and the best of them have a crisp acidity balancing the opulent sugar. The tasting conditions were rather good, however the weather was quite mixed affecting the presentation of the wines. The wines were tasted blind where possible and open. The final decision on the rating is based on both tasting types.”

5y 6d ago

 Markus Del Monego MW , Wine Writer (Germany)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  124 wines 

“Today’s Bordeaux 2013 tasting was very interesting. Margaux and Saint-Julien are performing much better than in the primeur tasting.”

5y 3m ago

 Jeff Leve, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Desmirail . In a tasting of  22 wines 

“Bordeaux 2011 part 4”

5y 9m ago

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