Kirwan is located in the Margaux appellation of the Medoc.
The Medoc is found on the left bank of the Gironde
Estuary in the Bordeaux
region of Southwest France.
3rd Growth in the 1855 Classification of Medoc
Size: 35 hectares (about 86 acres) producing 12,000 to 15,000
cases of wine (including the second label). Unlike many chateaux
that have expanded in size since the 1855 Classification, Kirwan
has remained virtually unchanged in its holdings.
The vineyards are sand and gravel covered by a thin coat of clay.
The plantings are 40% Cabernet
Sauvignon, 30% Merlot,
Franc and 10% Petit
Verdot. The average age of the vines is 27 years. Vines
are uprooted between 40 and 50 years of age and the soil is allowed
to rest for at least 3 years before replanting.
The estate was originally name La Terre Noble de Lasalle and was
owned by the La Salle family since the 1600s. In 1710, Berdard de
La Salle sold the property to an English wine merchant, Sir Collingwood.
Collingwood was the first to seriously develop vineyards on the
estate. In 1751, an Irishman name Mark Kirwin married one of Sir
Collingwood's daughters and became the owner of the property. The
property was renamed as Chateau Kirwan and a focus was placed on
restoring the chateau and elevating the quality of the wines.
As a result of the improved quality, recognition of Chateau Kirwan
soon followed. Kirwan was accorded the status as the first of the
3rd growths in the Classification of the Medoc in 1855. In 1780,
Thomas Jefferson visited Chateau Kirwan and gave it very positive
comments in his journal.
Mark Kirwan lost the chateau in the French Revolution but was able
to regain ownership soon after. He eventually died on the property
in 1815. The Kirwan family sold the estate in 1858 to Camille Godard,
a well-known figure in Bordeaux. In 1882, Godard bequethed Chateau
Kirwan to the city of Bordeaux. During the period that the city
owned the estate, the quality of the wines and the reputation of
the chateau declined. In 1904, Chateau Kirwan was sold at auction
to the Schyler family (of the Bordeaux merchants, Schroeder and
Schyler) for the bargain price of 250,000 francs.
family has maintained ownership of Chateau Kirwan and has allowed
members of successive generation to manage it.
After harvesting by hand and manual sorting of the grapes to ensure
quality, the fermentation takes place in temperature controlled
stainless steel tanks. The wines are aged in French oak barrels.
No more than 65% of the total production is sold under as Chateau
Kirwan. The remainder is sold under the second label
Wine: Chateau Les Charmes de Kirwan