The past three centuries have seen three illustrious families successively preside over the destiny of this Cantenac-Margaux Great Classified Growth (Grand Cru Classé). The name Kirwan also evokes a wonderfully charming abode built in the late 18th century by Mark Kirwan. The Irishman built the classical mansion on the estate he inherited when he married the daughter of the landowner, Sir John Collingwood, “Sieur de Lasalle,” one of the first négociants in the history of Bordeaux. Proud to consummate Anglo-Irish friendship in Bordeaux, Mark Kirwan expanded the vineyard, uniting two smaller adjoining vineyards in the village of Cantenac, the Ganet estate and his Lassalle property. The entire property took the name of “Kirwan.” Meanwhile he built up the reputation of this wine, which Thomas Jefferson praised enthusiastically during his tour of Bordeaux vineyards. Upon his 1787 visit, the future American President elevated Château “Quirouen” to the second growth level, along with the Ségur and Lynch vineyards, in his famous Jefferson on Wine. In 1855, when the finest samples of Médoc wines were selected for the 1855 World’s Fair organized by Napoleon III, Château Kirwan was ranked at the head of Médoc Third Great Growths. The Godard family purchased the estate in the second half of the 19th century. Camille Godard, Mayor of Bordeaux, enlarged the estate and designed the current park, with its fishpond and its rose tunnel, adding to the property’s beauty.
In 1926, Château Kirwan came into the hands of the Schÿler family, relations of the then-owners, the Guestier brothers. With roots in the Hanseatic League, the Schÿlers had settled in Bordeaux in 1739 as wine merchants. Schröder & Schÿler expands its distribution worldwide.
In 2008, the family decided to further develop the proficiency of the Schÿler children, naming Philippe Delfaut, an oenologist with experience in Margaux, as General Manager of the estate. He works side by side with Nathalie, Tour and Reception (or Wine tourism) Director, Yann Schÿler, CEO of the Schröder & Schÿler Trading House, and Sophie, Director of Communication and Market Development, with a focus exports in partnership with a select network of Bordeaux wine merchants. Philippe is assisted by Rodrigo Laytte who is focusing on understanding the terroir in depth, on the base of a pedological study conducted a couple years ago. Eric Boissenot joined the team as wine consultant bringing his highly valuable skills to our blending process.
In 2017, after 24 months of renovation Château Kirwan has a new production facility; a new fermentation room with 37 custom-made concrete vats, a new first year cellar for aging which connects the fermenting room with the existing cellars. Its contemporary design features extremely simple lines that belie a veritable technical feat, underscoring the buildings framework and polygonal galvanized roof. The imposing façade features the work of artists Anatoly and Kinga Stolnikoff. Created from laser-cut stainless steel, the work revisits ”The story of Noah, inventor of wine and the first tasting cup”. The branches extending from the vine and adorned with words describing the appearance and flavors of wine.