NEW 2022 BORDEAUX EN PRIMEUR RELEASE - Chateau Kirwan, Margaux

NEW 2022 BORDEAUX EN PRIMEUR RELEASE - Chateau Kirwan, Margaux

2022 Château Kirwan, Margaux

£220 per 6 bottle case in bond

I don’t believe I have ever written up Château Kirwan in my 27 years in the industry. Though I have tasted it in a good number of vintages, I have invariably been underwhelmed.
 
I don’t think I have tasted an example as impressive as the 2022 before; it strikes a rare balance in this vintage – this is something I also noticed in other wines in 2022. There are a handful of Châteaux that you might have previously dismissed, who have produced an impressive wine. I asked various winemakers if they had encountered the same thing in their respective appellations and they tended to agree. I am not sure if it is down to the vintage conditions – riper, finer tannins, the need to be careful with extraction etc. or whether it is reflective of investment and a change in winemaking or viticultural strategy, but it is definitely to be welcomed!
 
So, here is a little background for you on Château Kirwan. It was classified a third growth in 1855 and is located on the plâteau of Cantenac. Its vineyards, which are based on gravel and clay, extend over 37 hectares, which are sub-divided into 45 different parcels. Understandably, the Merlot thrives on the clay, Cabernet Sauvignon on the gravel, but Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, as well as a very small amount of Carmenère, are also grown on the estate.
 
Perhaps it is the blend that has worked so well in 2022? Cabernet Franc has fallen out of favour in the Médoc over the last 20 years, but when ripe it can bring a sense of freshness and complexity. Equally, in Margaux, many Châteaux have eased back on the proportion of Merlot in their vineyards with the majority of Grand Vin becoming much more reliant on Cabernet Sauvignon. If anyone thought that the dry conditions of the 2022 would see Merlot struggle, this is not the case on the best terroirs. It was revealed in yesterday’s release of Château Grand-Puy-Lacoste and is certainly evident in Château Kirwan offered here.
 
Now, some clients or merchants may point out that the 2022 has seen the release price increase by something like 20%. I think that is academic as it still remains favourable relative to the quality in the glass, and crucially, I wouldn’t have purchased the 2021, but I would buy the 2022.
 
Please see below for my note as well as those from Neal Martin, William Kelley, Jane Anson, Jeb Dunnuck and Antonio Galloni:
 
2022 Château Kirwan, Margaux
£220 per 6 bottle case in bond

 
My note:
A blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot with the residual 13% split between largely Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. 50% new oak.
Deep and bright in the glass, the aromas here are captivating with foresty dark cherry and berry notes, a subtle floral lift, cool graphite too. Following in a similar manner, the palate shows an ample, round accent and surprising depth to its layered juicy fruit. There is superb balance to this wine, with the silky, fine-grained tannins adding plenty of direction, and a marked vibrancy which sees the fruit flow long into the finish. By far and away the finest Kirwan I can recall. It retains a certain classical feel, with those graphite notes coming through to the finish, but this should prove already accessible and enjoyable even after five or six years in bottle. Great to see this quality coming through from an often-overlooked estate. Should be a snip. (SL). Drink 2029-2050.
 
92-94 points, Neal Martin, Vinous
The 2022 Kirwan bestows plenty of luscious fruit on the nose with blackberry, bilberry, cedar and crushed iris flower, unfolding nicely in the glass. There is a satisfying depth to these aromas. The palate is medium-bodied, lively and packed full of fruit, with saturated tannins and decent acidity. This is one of the more approachable Margaux wines this vintage, yet it has commendable freshness and structure. This Kirwan will give plenty of pleasure over 20-30 years. A second and third bottles were a little creamier on the finish. Drink 2030-2065
 
90-92 points, William Kelley, The Wine Advocate
A blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and the balance Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the 2022 Kirwan exhibits aromas of dark berries, cassis, sweet spices, pencil shavings and creamy new oak, followed by a medium to full-bodied, rich and fleshy palate that's unusually lively for the vintage, checking in at a pH of 3.55, a number that it would be impressive to attain on gravel soils in this vintage without acidification.
 
93 points, Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux
Creamy raspberry and blackberry fruits from the first moments, this delivers a deliciously velvet texture, exuberant without being heavy, cappuccino, smoked earth and cigar box. Accomplished, balanced, full of pleasure.
 
93-95 points, Jeb Dunnuck, jebdunnuck.com
The dense purple-hued 2022 Château Kirwan just about jumps out of the glass with its intense bouquet of cassis and blue fruits as well as spicy oak and violets. It's certainly not shy, yet it stays pure, precise, and nicely focused, with medium to full-bodied richness, ripe, building tannins, and a great finish. This beauty is just loaded with character and is well worth seeking out. 
 
90-92 points, Antonio Galloni, Vinous
The 2022 Kirwan is plump, juicy and super-expressive, all of which will make it a fine choice for drinking with minimal cellaring. Succulent black cherry fruit, plum, spice and licorice are nicely pushed forward, framed by soft contours that add to its considerable charm. Drink 2027-2042


Please let us know of your interest.

All the best,

Simon 

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