Ch. Giscours’ accused of illegal chaptalisation

Almost 400 hectolitres of wine from Margaux third growth Château Giscours has reportedly been seized under suspicion that part of it was illegally chaptalised.

According to local paper Sud Ouest, 397hl of the estate’s 2016 vintage – the equivalent of around 53,000 bottles worth €2.3 million – were seized by French authorities.

It is believed that the wine in question contains Merlot that was illegally chaptalized to boost its alcohol content.

Although chaptalisation is not illegal in France, it is strictly controlled and in the case of the 2016 vintage there was never authorisation for producers in Margaux to chaptalise their Merlot.

Giscours’s lawyer told the paper that there was “no intention to commit fraud,” on the part of the château and that the technical team believed “in good faith” that authorisation for chaptalising Merlot would be given and that someone at the Organisme de défense et de gestion (ODG) Margaux had “simply forgotten” to pass on their request that it be allowed.

Nonetheless, this excuse does not seem to have passed muster with the courts and the estate, its managing director Alexander Van Beek, technical director are all now under investigation and can expect severe questioning in the months to come.

The timing of this news is unfortunate both with the en primeur campaign just around the corner but also due to the recent news that one of the region’s leading négociant’s, Grands Vins de Gironde, has been charged with widespread fraud.

Giscours has been contacted for comment.

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