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Wine is a result of culture and nature coming together. For centuries it has been the fruit of both the vine and of man's labour. We are all familiar with the pleasure wine brings. The Roman expression : bonum vinum laetificat cor hominum ("good wine gladdens the heart") shows us how ancient this appreciation of fine wine actually is. Personnaly, I owe the privilege of being able to produce this precious nectar, in the prestigious appellation of Margaux, to my parents, Lucien and Marie-Jeanne. For me, of upmost importance is to strive to make a wine that captures all the finesse and elegance of the appellation.
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.
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.
The 1996s stand as a “classic” Bordeaux year, although – as Jancis Robinson MW has written – not in the “skinny” sense; although Farr Vintners’ director, Tom Hudson, told the drinks business that it was perhaps a “very good” rather than a “truly great” year as it wasn’t uniformly excellent across the region.
By way of a recap, 1996 was a particularly sterling vintage for Médoc wines. The Berry Bros & Rudd website extolls: “This is one of the great post-war vintages for Médoc Cabernet-based wines. They are rich, complex and beautifully balanced wines, packed with ripe, pure fruit and have the structure that will allow the top wines to age well into the next decade and beyond.”
The Right Bank by contrast are described as “distinguished” but “overshadowed” by the ‘95s – which was an especially good vintage for Saint Emilion and Pomerol.
It was also an excellent vintage for white Bordeaux.
Robert Parker’s scores tend to favour the Left Bank, though a few of the very best wines of the Right Bank received very respectable reviews as well.
Only two wines received 100-points: Lafite and Latour, Margaux was rated 99, Léoville Las Cases 98, Ducru Beaucaillou 96 and Pichon-Comtesse 96.
La Mondotte was the highest rated Right Bank wine on 97-points, Ausone was the next best rated on 93 as was L’Eglise Clinet, while Gomerie, Petrus and Le Pin settled for 92 and Cheval Blanc for 90.
With the passage of nearly 20 years, the wines have naturally appreciated and now that they are well into their drinking window demand will almost certainly begin to push prices up even further for the most in-demand among them.
The figures are often impressive, to date Lafite has seen a rise of 657.9% since its release, its second wine Carruades is up 592%, Latour has risen 437%, Petrus 400% and Pichon Baron 240%.