Issan 2020

Margaux, Third Growth

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Tasting Notes

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.

Score: 94

Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026-2055 08 February 2023

The 2020 Château d’Issan, picked from September 17 to October 2 and blended in early January, then matured in 50% new oak, has a beautiful and very pure bouquet of blackberry, blueberry and light cranberry notes intertwined with crushed stone and subtle potpourri and violet scents, all wonderfully focused and exquisitely defined. The palate is medium-bodied with gentle but insistent grip on the entry. The tannins are very chiseled and the acidity lends plenty of tension that is palpable from start to finish. This is a sophisticated Margaux in the making, full of breeding and class.

Score: 93 - 95

Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026 - 205 27 May 2021

The 2020 Château d’Issan, picked from September 17 to October 2 and blended in early January, then matured in 50% new oak, has a beautiful and very pure bouquet of blackberry, blueberry and light cranberry notes intertwined with crushed stone and subtle potpourri and violet scents, all wonderfully focused and exquisitely defined. The palate is medium-bodied with gentle but insistent grip on the entry. The tannins are very chiseled and the acidity lends plenty of tension that is palpable from start to finish. This is a sophisticated Margaux in the making, full of breeding and class.

Score: 93 - 95

Neal Martin, Vinous.com Maturity: 2026-2055 01 May 2021

The 2020 d'Issan is a gorgeous, wonderfully complete wine. Blueberry, sage, dried herbs, menthol, lavender and licorice are all beautifully knit together. Medium in body, with notable depth and freshness, 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.

Score: 95

Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com Maturity: 2030-2060 01 December 2022

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. Pretty floral and savory accents complement a core of ripe red/purplish berry fruit. Medium in body and vibrant, with superb persistence, Issan is shaping up to be a jewel of a wine. The purity of the flavors is striking. Harvest took place over three weeks between September 17 through October 2, which is only about a week earlier than normal, so not that displaced relative to what was the norm in much of Bordeaux. Tasted three times.

Score: 93 - 95

Antonio Galloni, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2035-2055 01 June 2021

Clear muscular weight to the tannins and carefully-constructed architecture overall. This has dark fruits aromatics, cassis, bilberry, loganberry, with layers of flavour and a texture that plays with silk and slate through the palate. Fresh mint leaf and eucalyptus on the finish, the architecture of the tannins is serious but with a sense of energy, and totally delicious. Harvest September 17 to October 2, yield 38hl/h and the first vintage with five grape varieties in the blend including Malbec and Malbec - these add layers of spice and intensity that will be fascinating to watch age compared to the earlier pure Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon vintages.

Score: 96

Jane Anson, Inside Bordeaux Maturity: 2028-2048 02 February 2022

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.

Score: 96

Jane Anson, Decanter.com Maturity: 2028 - 2045 18 May 2021

More backward, dense, and concentrated, the Grand Vin 2020 Château D'Issan offers darker currant and cassis notes as well as gorgeous floral, sandalwood, graphite, and chocolate nuances. Medium to full-bodied, voluptuous, and layered on the palate, with sweet yet building tannins, this is a gorgeous Margaux that brings ample depth and richness while still showing the classic elegance of the appellation. The blend is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec, raised in 50% new oak, and it’s a selection of only 45% of the total production. It's going to have some up-front appeal and a broad, lengthy drink window over the following 2-3 decades. Tasted twice.

Score: 93 - 95

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com 25 May 2021

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 color, 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.

Score: 93 - 95

Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate, RobertParker.com Maturity: 2025 - 2045 23 May 2021

Extremely floral and fruity with currants and blackberries. It’s full-bodied and very layered with delicious, dense character. Full-bodied with dusty, layered tannins. Rich, but not heavy. Long and chewy on the finish. 55% cabernet sauvignon, 39% merlot, 3% cabernet franc, 2% petit verdot and 1% malbec.

Score: 97 - 98

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com 26 April 2021

55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec (the latter three from parcels of Pontac-Lynch acquired in March 2020 – the Petit Verdot planted in 1948). 45% of the production. Classic Issan but with more aromatic complexity and a tad more length. Intense, floral with smooth, elegant tannins and balancing freshness. Persistent finish. (JL) 13.3%

Score: 17+

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com Maturity: 2028-2045 26 April 2021