The vines

Encountering Kirwan is initially a visual experience. Its vineyard overlooks the Margaux appellation area from the plateau of Cantenac. Its lines stretch off into the distance behind the chateau until all the eye can see is an endless 37-hectare (91-acre) expanse of gravel and clay. A seasoned observer would know that these different soil types contribute to multiple layers of flavour in Kirwan wines.

The rich variety of forty-five different parcels always intrigues those who attempt to understand the fine web of subtlety that distinguishes great wines. The Merlot vines of the “Cabinet Ouest” parcel with its layered clay produce round, fleshy, balanced wines, while nearer the chateau the sun is dazzlingly reflected by surface gravel in the “Mois de juin” parcel in the middle of the estate, where the Cabernet Sauvignon ripens so well and delivers Kirwan’s velvety tannins.

In the distance the “Canon” plot can just be made out, perched at the highest point of the vineyard. Petit Verdot vines grow on this deep terrace of gravel and contribute their distinctive signature to Kirwan’s blends.

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