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Château Desmirail is a winery in the Margaux appellation of the Bordeaux region of France. The wine produced here was classified as one of fourteen Troisièmes Crus (Third Growths) in the historic Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855. 
Château Desmirail was once part of the vast Rauzan estate owned by Pierre de Mesures de Rauzan in the mid-17th century. Over time this estate was divided, and by the time of the 1855 Classification, had been separated into the estates of Château Rauzan-Gassies, Château Rauzan-Ségla, Château Desmirail, and Château Marquis de Terme.
Desmirail: The Vineyards and Wines
The vineyards feature the gravelly soils that characterise the better vineyards of the left bank of the Gironde, although there are also areas of sand and clay. There are approximately 30 hectares to the estate, with vines aged over 25 years on average, these being 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, the remainder mostly Merlot at 39% and a mere 1% accounted for by Cabernet Franc. The fruit is hand-harvested before going to a sorting table positioned in the vineyard, from where it travels to the reception area where the grapes are destemmed, lightly crushed and then fermented according to the plot of origin. During the fermentation the must is pumped over to submerge the cap, and the temperature regulated to around 30ºC, with subsequent maceration of the solids at about two degrees below this figure. Following this the wine is run off into fresh vats for malolactic, tasting and assigning the wines to either the grand vin, Château Desmirail, or the second wine which goes by the name of Château Fontarney for the French market and Initial de Desmirail for export and for the French restaurant trade. The grand vin goes into oak for 12-18 months, with one-third of the barrels new each year; racking is performed every three months, and the fining is achieved with egg whites prior to bottling.
My experience with older vintages of Desmirail only notably looks at 1982, a wine from the very early part of the Lurton era, which was very good indeed. But this has certainly become one of the Bordeaux estates worth watching in recent years, and a number of more recent vintages I have tasted are worth considering. The 2005 and 2006 in particular have their good points, although it is the 2009 that - perhaps unsurprisingly - has made the biggest impression on me. It shows all the deliciously dark and creamy fruit of the vintage, backed up by a lovely tannic structure and good acidity. Neither the 2007 nor the 2008 were up to the level of these other vintages, nevertheless, today Desmirail continues to be an estate worth watching. (30/1/09, updated 14/1/11)
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