Chateau Giscours, 1977. Margaux| Vintage Wine History and Information

by Paul Kalemkiarian Sr | July 1983

The credentials of our red wine this month carries a lot of clout. If you know Bordeaux wines, you know about Chateau Giscours. It is situ­ated in the parish of Margaux, near the village of Labarde. The famous classification of 1855 for Medoc wines, bestowed on Chateau Giscours a “Third Growth” honor. Only sixty one estates were, and still are, deemed deserving this recogni­tion of classification. (There are some eighteen hundred estates in Medoc).

A word about the 1855 classification of Medoc wines. Napoleon III ordered the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce to come up with a ranking of the famous wines of Bordeaux for the Paris Exposition that year. They delegated this task to the Bordeaux Brokers Assoc. who prepared a list of 61 leading wines, categorized into five groups. Each group was called a “Growth”. The best were the “First Growths”, and continuing through to the “Fifth Growths” for the lesser than best. The ranking was mainly done on the price the wine was fetching in Bordeaux at the time!

First records of Giscours go back to 1330. As early as 1552, it had already become a recognised vineyard. Many prop­rietors later, the father and son team of Nicolas and Pierre now own and operate the chateau. The building is an impressive Renaissance-style building in a park setting. It has a series of underground storeys for cellars, which eliminates the need for the wine to be pumped. Gravity does the job naturally.

Sixty families live on the Giscours estate, working the land and the cellars. The vineyards are planted to 75% Cabernet, 20% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot grapes. The wine produced will usually be the same blend.

Wines from the Margaux parish tend to be less powerful than the other Medoc wines. They are characterised by their perfume and delicacy, great breed and elegance, and a soft velvety texture. They are often described as the most feminine of the clarets. (generic name for red wine from Bordeaux).

The usual price for Chateau Giscours hovers around $20 when released, and better vintages with some age around $50 to 60 or more. The 15/20 rating of the 1977 vintage brought the price down to levels within the budget of this program. As I previously mentioned, I was surprised at the quality of this wine for the price, and felt it had good characteristics of the region to show it to you.

The wine is medium red, with hints of orange age showing. It has deep cabernet aroma, that finishes with a hint of mustiness. The taste is dry and balanced. It has a softness in the middle that shows breed. Cabernet flavor is dominant, yet merlot is apparent. Finishes with tannin and some thinness.

Cellaring Notes: Ready to drink now and through 1984. Not for long term cellaring.

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