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2012 Chateau Kirwan, Margaux 3rd

Connoisseur or novice, 2012 is a year for all to enjoy by now. And indeed, it is a joy to experience 2012 Kirwan as a sleeper in the barrel stage to the recent manifestations on nose and palate of black and red berries – cherry, black currant, blueberry, enhanced by aromas of spices, pink peppercorns and vanilla. It starts out mellow (20% Merlot), then offers the taste buds a rich body and power (68% cabernet), with soft tannins and an acidity that perfectly balances out its silky texture.

There are always some tones of meatiness and toastiness (and some complexities) from the relatively high percentage of balancing grapes, so there are 7% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. However, this level of percentage is already one of the highest in Margaux.

The 2012 Kirwan has great USPs of Kirwan. We can think of the following.

  1. Great terroir: highest point in the appellation, sloping from the Cantenac to Brane; dense gravelly sand.

  2. 8000 vines in a HA

  3. 60 year-old vines; partial 27 to 30 years old

  4. Complimented as the First in the Third Growth (1855 Classification)

  5. 1.5m spacing in the field (not normal 1m) to increase ventilation and hence fruit freshness

  6. New stylistics under the baton of Eric Boissenot

  7. Modern stance: more merlot, less balancing grape, less new-oak, less late-picked and less jammy in style.

  8. Classic, aristocratic taste: 2012 Kirwan classic Margaux elegance, good purity and structure, well rounded tannins, attractive red fruit, and really is not as meaty as it used to be on the palate.

We like 2012 more than 2010, which surely is with better ageing potential and savory taste. We believe the 2012 Kirwan is as good (WE94, JS91).

Some 16 to 18 months are spent ageing in majority aged oak. Smaller stainless steel tanks. Some cement tanks, so as to enhance fruit.

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