Peter Maude Fine Wines

2020, Château d'Issan, MARGAUX, 3ème Grand Cru Classé


Bordeaux Blend: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec.

The 2020 d'Issan is the first vintage with the parcels acquired from Pontac-Lynch, located just outside the Clos d'Issan. It contains a few rows of Malbec whose quality surprised Emmanuel Cruse, hence 1% in the Grand Vin. It also includes Petit Verdot planted in 1948. It is quintessentially Margaux on the nose with pressed violet and incense infusing the black fruit, beautifully defined with just some new oak to be assimilated. The palate is medium-bodied with svelte tannins, perfectly-judged acidity, harmonious and wonderfully focused on the peacock's tail of a finish. This is one of the finest d'Issans of the modern era. 94 Neal Martin, Vinous.

The 2020 d'Issan is a gorgeous, wonderfully complete wine. Blueberry, sage, dried herbs, menthol, lavender and liquorice are all beautifully knit together. Medium in body, with notable depth and freshness, d'Issan is all class. Silky tannins round out the long, vibrant finish. The 2020 d'Issan is the first vintage that incorporates Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec to complement the traditional Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the blend. 95 Antonio Galloni, Vinous.

A very strong effort for this estate, the 2020 D'Issan wafts from the glass with aromas of dark berries and cassis mingled with notions of violets and liquorice. Medium to full-bodied, fleshy and vibrant, with good depth at the core, refined tannins and a penetrating finish, it's an elegant, perfumed Margaux that's built to age with grace. 94+ William Kelley, Wine Advocate.

The 2020 D'Issan is a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 1% Malbec, aging in French oak barriques, 50% new. It has an alcohol of 13.29%, a pH of 3.71 and an IPT (tannin index) of 73. Displaying an opaque purple-black colour, it has vibrant notes of Bing cherries, boysenberries, ripe redcurrants and juicy black plums, plus hints of pencil shavings, wild thyme, lavender and forest floor. The medium-bodied palate has impressive energy with crunchy red and black fruits and compelling tension, framed by fine-grained tannins, finishing long and mineral laced. 93-95 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate.

This is a sinewy, powerful and forward-moving wine with a sense of momentum. Moreish, with the elegance and plump damson fruits that Issan delivers so well, but more muscular than some years with the impact of both Petit Verdot and Malbec that are in the blend for the first time in this vintage. These add layers of spice and the overall architecture is clear. Peony and violet notes add a kick upwards on the finish, this has a delicacy even though it is intense. Less Cabernet in the blend in 2020 than in 2019, as is often the case in the Médoc due to low yields. This new blend in Issan will be seen going forward after the addition of plots from the purchase of Château Pontac-Lynch. 96 Jane Anson, Decanter. 

Lifted on the nose, with purity and freshness on the palate. Floral, red cherry fruit, refined and classy yet firm tannins. There is a precision here which makes the wine seem almost delicate, but there is plenty of ageing potential. Just 1% Malbec was used in the blend but it appears to have added an extra dimension. Harvested 17 September to 2 October. The château celebrates its 400th Anniversary in 2026, however there is nothing old-fashioned about D'Issan 2020. 95 Andy Howard MW, Decanter.

Wonderfully intense on the nose, so ripe and concentrated with some toasted oak aromas. Supple and vibrant on the palate, the fruit is clean and crisp with tannins that are fine but firm, just giving the expression some tension and linearity. Cinnamon and clove edge the bright blackcurrant and black cherry fruit with lovely acidity. This is plush, and firm at the same time, clean and clear, fragrant and ripe. Lots going on here with bitter dark chocolate too. It's all happening. Needs time to relax but this is wonderfully nuanced and really quite captivating. Grippy and refreshing, leaves a lingering impression. 96 Georgina Hindle, Decanter.

Drinking Window: 2026 - 2055

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