The history of Château d’Issan consists primarily of a long list of property transmissions and legacies. By inheritance and marriage, the estate has been handed down from owner to owner, and all of them have contributed in their own way to its renown and helped to forge its unique character. In the 12th century, the property was a fiefdom with the name at that time of La Mothe-Cantenac, before becoming Théobon Manor, when a female heir married a lord with the same name.
Over a period of nearly three centuries, the estate was passed down along a line involving a number of families with names such as Noailhan, Meyrac, Ségur, Salignac, de la Vergne, Escodeca de Boisse, etc. From 1575 onwards, the property was owned by five generations of the Essenault family, who ended up renaming it, contracting their name to “Issan” and thus Château d’Issan was born...
Château d’Issan did not need the famous 1855 classification distinguishing it as a 3rd Grand Cru Classé to establish its reputation. This was already made back in the 12th century, when it was reported to have been served at the wedding of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henri Plantagenet, future King of England on 18th May 1152.
It is also said that the English having been beaten at the Battle of Castillon and in disarray, nevertheless had the good taste to empty the cellars of Château d’Issan that was also very sought after during that period. The estate continued to stand out as the years rolled by. In 1723, it was mentioned by Henry Powell, the Prince of Wales’ sommelier. In 1776, it was listed by Labadie, the father of Bordeaux brokers.
In 1787, Thomas Jefferson, still to become President of the United States, included it in his famous selection of Bordeaux estates.
At the end of the 19th century, Château d’Issan was invited to the Court of Austria, having become the favourite wine of Emperor Franz-Joseph. It was the latter, who coined the estate’s motto engraved in cut stone above the door of the chateau: “Regum mensis aris que deorum”(For the table of kings and the altar of Gods).
Having belonged to the Foix de Candale family, which had to abandon it during the French Revolution, Château d’Issan had owners, who became more and more committed to shaping the property’s destiny. In 1824, Jean-Baptiste Duluc took over the estate and launched a series of projects to improve the vineyard, before selling it to the Blanchy family. In 1866, Gustave Roy settled as head of Château d’Issan: he had the first gravity-fed cellars built and undertook most importantly to replant the vineyard that had been devastated by phylloxera..
During the period between the two World Wars, the estate was unfortunately left to deteriorate, but was reawakened by the Cruse family, owners since 1945. Under the management of Lionel Cruse, the chateau has been restored, the installations modified and the vineyard replanted. Since 1998, as a result of investments made by Lionel’s son Emmanuel Cruse in the vines and cellars, Château d’Issan wines have become even more a faithful reflection of their exclusive terroir. .
In 2012, Françoise and Jacky Lorenzetti, who also own Château Lilian Ladouys in Saint-Estèphe and Château Pedesclaux in Pauillac, joined forces with the Cruse family. With tenacity, passion and courage, the different generations have worked to achieve the renewal of Château d’Issan, which has regained its former glory.