Château d’Issan

Emmanuel Cruse

Featured at:
Saturday, March 9, 2019
 Bordeaux Master Class & Grand Tasting Reception

Château d’Issan is in the middle of the Margaux appellation, a truly privileged location, which explains the outstanding quality of its wines. The mild weather, regulated by being close to the sea and the Gironde Estuary, provides ideal conditions for vine growth. The soil is made up of mounds of gravel and 15-metre (50-foot) high alluvial hills, rounded by erosion. This ground drains well, forcing the vines to develop deep root systems in search of the special ingredients that make Château d’Issan wines so distinctive. Nothing much remains of the pre-Revolution estate: bad weather, wars and phylloxera outbreaks took a heavy toll over the centuries. Today’s vines are 35 years old on average and result mainly from the Cruse family’s restoration efforts after 1945. 

Château d’Issan did not need the famous 1855 classification distinguishing it as a 3rd Grand Cru Classé to establish its reputation. This was already made back in the 12th century, when it was reported to have been served at the wedding of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henri Plantagenet, future King of England on 18th May 1152. Having belonged to the Foix de Candale family, which had to abandon it during the French Revolution, Château d’Issan had owners, who became more and more committed to shaping the property’s destiny. In 1824, Jean-Baptiste Duluc took over the estate and launched a series of projects to improve the vineyard, before selling it to the Blanchy family. In 1866, Gustave Roy settled as head of Château d’Issan: he had the first gravity-fed cellars built and undertook most importantly to replant the vineyard that had been devastated by phylloxera. 

During the period between the two World Wars, the estate was unfortunately left to deteriorate, but was reawakened by the Cruse family, owners since 1945. Under the management of Lionel Cruse, the chateau has been restored, the installations modified and the vineyard replanted. Since 1998, as a result of investments made by Lionel’s son Emmanuel Cruse in the vines and cellars, Château d’Issan wines have become even more a faithful reflection of their exclusive terroir.