Château Giscours is in the Margaux appellation region of Bordeaux, the largest wine producing region in France. It is in the commune of Labarde, and there are records of vineyards in this particular area dating back to the sixteenth century, although there are records of vines in the Margaux area dating to the Roman period. The practice of aging in barrels to produce wines in the modern style. Château Giscours wine was classified as one of fourteen ‘Troisièmes Crus’ in the Official Bordeaux Wine Classification of 1855, mandated by the emperor Napoleon III. Château Giscours itself is first mentioned in a deed of 1330, which refers to a fortified ‘dungeon’, or keep.
In the nineteenth century the estate changed hands, and this period saw major improvements in the estate and the beginnings of the production of notable wines.
Château Giscours vineyards are situated on outcrops of fairly poor soil, lying on low gravel rises which were deposited by the river Garonne two and a half million years ago, and cover an area of about 195 acres. The vines are planted in a relatively crowded arrangement, and almost a quarter of the vines are more than 40 years old. The varieties of grape that comprise the vineyards is similar in constitution to other Margaux vineyards; just over half the vines are of the Cabernet Sauvignon variety, with the remainder being predominantly Merlot, and small amounts of other types.
In summer, and before the grapes are harvested, the leaves of the vines are thinned to allow more light to reach the grapes, which increases the quality and sugar content of the grapes. Château Giscours grapes are traditionally harvested by hand, then the stems are removed and the grapes are fermented on a plot by plot basis.
The first wine is called Château Giscours, appropriately enough, and this wine is aged for up to eighteen months in French oak barrels about a third of which are replaced each year, to allow the tannins in the wood to balance the fruit aromas of the wine.
Château Giscours is known for its strong aromas, and full body, and the estate produces about 25,000 cases each year, depending on the harvest.
The estate also produces a second wine, La Sirène de Giscours, usually less than half as much as the first wine. This wine is made from the youngest of the grape vines, and like its eponymous stable mate is picked by hand. La Sirène de Giscours is matured for one year in oak barrels, and while not having the same body as Château Giscours, is very well regarded, but improves greatly with decanting.
Château Giscours has won the wine tourism contest four times, and offers a variety of events for wine enthusiasts including wine tastings and workshops, and has guest rooms and a shop with wine related gifts. They can also organise corporate events and receptions, even sports events; the Bordeaux Giscours Cricket Club has their home ground at Château Giscours. They play in the French national league, and are the current French champions.
For more information on Château Giscours and similar wines please visit www.interestinwine.co.uk
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