History and museums
Château Giscours is a winery in the Margaux appellation of the Bordeaux region of France, in the commune of Labarde. The wine produced here was classified as one of fourteen Troisièmes Crus (Third Growths) in the Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855.
The first written reference to the domain of Giscours, a deed confirming the sale of the estate, dates from 1330 and refers to a fortified keep. Records of Giscours' vineyards go back to 1552 when Seigneur de la Bastide sold it to Pierre de l'Horme. Prior to the French Revolution Giscours belonged to the Saint-Simon family before it was confiscated, and then bought by two Americans in 1793, John Gray and Jonathan Davis of Boston.
Several owners followed, and Giscours' great era began with the purchase of the property by the banker Count de Pescatore in 1845, who in 1847 hired Pierre Skawinski to manage his estate. Skawinski proved to be one of the great agriculturalists of Médoc in the 19th century, in 1860 the inventor of a plough which bears his name, and a pioneer in the fight against mildew, he was instrumental in making Giscours one of the most reputable third growths. Skawinski managed the estate for 50 years, also during the following ownership by the Cruse family, the estate's most successful period. The family sold Giscours in 1913, and many difficult years followed.
In 1954 the estate was purchased by Nicolas Tari, formerly a large-scale winemaker in Algeria, who restored and enlarged the property, making it one of the most productive estates in the Médoc.
In 1976, the then-owner of the château and President of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, Pierre Tari, was selected as one of 11 judges to take part in the "Judgment of Paris" wine competition.
In 1995, Château Giscours' wine growing business activities were acquired by Eric Albada Jelgersma.
In 1998 Jelgersma, along with then director of the estate, Jean Michel Ferrandez, and Pascal Froidefond were indicted on charges of wine fraud, charged with blending AOC Margaux and AOC Haut Medoc fruit in nearly 200,000 bottles of the 1995 vintage of the château's second wine, La Sirene de Giscours, with further allegations that the blend was doctored with milk, water and fruit acids. The accusations were brought as a result of a former employee who had become a whistle-blower. The case came before the Bordeaux courts in June, 2008. The decision was not allowed to be made public.
From an estate of nearly 400 hectares, the Giscours planted vineyard area extends 80 hectares spread out over several plots. The composition of grape varieties is 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot and the remainder Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Of the Grand vin Chateau Giscours there is annually produced 25,000 cases, and of the second wine La Sirène de Giscours there is typically produced 10,000 cases.
A 40 hectare plot of vines adjacent to Giscours outside the Margaux boundary is bottled as Le Haut Médoc de Giscours. Other wines produced by the estate include Château Dutheil and Château Houringe, both Haut-Médoc cru bourgeois properties, the former is vinified at Giscours, the latter is since 1982 operated on a lease.
Château Giscours is the home ground of the Bordeaux Giscours Cricket Club, participants in the Aquitaine Division of the French National League and current National Champions.