France: Bordeaux

Southern Médoc

Margaux, Listrac and Moulis
By Jane Anson

This Guide was last updated on 20 March 2010
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Château Kirwan

Address: Chemin de Kirwan, 33460 Cantenac
Tel: 05 57 88 71 00  Fax: 05 57 88 72 62
Geo-coordinates:  Latitude: 45:1:37N (45.02708)    Longitude: -0:39:17W (-0.65482) 

The perfect combination of a stately, well groomed château, a third growth wine that is still priced within limits of mere mortals, and a genuine welcome. The name comes from Irishman Mark Kirwan, owner in the 18th century, and this was one of the properties often visited and enjoyed by Thomas Jefferson. A new visitor centre opened in 2009, with an excellent boutique, an upstairs space that shows a welcome video, and a large glass-walled Orangerie for private hire – or for the Table de Kirwan, where you can taste their best vintages alongside regional cuisine. Among the many innovations started by owner Nathalie Schyler are picnics, wine tastings with cheese, bread and hams, plus family visits on Wednesdays for children (in the school holidays). Their regular appearance at the Best of Wine Tourism Awards ( is well-deserved. On the wine side, things are equally impressive. The consultant winemaker changed in 2007 from Michel Rolland to new director, ex-Château Palmer Philippe Delfaut, and a more elegant, typically Margaux style of Kirwan has been emerging over the past few years.

Useful information: Opening hours Monday to Saturday 9.30-12.30 and 13.30-17.30 (winter, Monday to Friday only). No appointment needed in summer. The regular visit (one hour) costs €6 for presentation of the estate plus tasting a young vintage, €8 for tasting an older vintage, plus the second wine Charmes de Kirwan. Prices rise to €10 on Sunday (and €11 for the older vintages), and all week a Prestige Visit is possible with tasting of wine, plus Canale cakes for €10. Other options include wine and cheese (€6) or charctuerie (€8), introduction to tasting (€25). Even over winter, it’s possible to organise in advance tastings of different vintages accompanied by bread, hams and cheeses, plus larger lunches and dinners.  Groups welcome (maximum of 25). They also offer tastings of older vintages, from the 1970s and 1980s, for €5 per tasting glass.


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