In this show we welcome back Édouard Miailhe, proprietor of Château Siran in the Margaux appellation of the Médoc (he was on Episode 391, as part of our Médoc series, discussing his role as the president of the Margaux appellation and a small bit about the Château). He joins to talk about many things that we didn’t cover in the first show, and the exciting things happening now, including the fact that Château Siran’s 2018 vintage was named the #1 wine of 2021 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine!
Édouard Miailhe, owner of Château Siran, photo by Wine For Normal People
After meeting Édouard in person, tasting the wines, and seeing what is happening at Siran, I agree that magazine made the right decision. Siran has some of the most vibrant energy in Bordeaux and some of the best wines. And Édouard is really just getting started.
In addition to this, the show covers something we did not at all address in the first show: the role of the Miailhe family as discussed in the book “Wine and War” by Donald and Petie Kladstrup. The book was written two decades ago but is still a fantastic read. In our first conversation, Édouard never mentioned that his family’s bravery, sacrifice, and dedication to wine and the essence of being a Frenchman during the war makes them some of the bravest, most empathetic, clever, and principled families in the wine world.
Here are some of the things we discuss in the show:
- Édouard chronicles his family history in the Médoc, and how they came to manage Château Siran through family ties in 1888, with wine broker Fréderic Miailhe.
- We talk about how his great grandfather Édouard Miailhe and great uncle, Louis Miailhe, saved many prestigious Left Bank properties from bankruptcy and ruin -Pichon Lalande, Coufran, Dauzac, and part of Château Palmer in the early 1900s through investments that others were unwilling to make.
- I make Édouard discuss his family story in World War II. We discuss weinführers, the invasive and destructive nature of the German troops in Bordeaux, and how his family saved the lives of two Italian Jewish families by sheltering them at Château Palmer, until they were able to get papers to smuggle them out of the country. We discuss how the continued acts of patriotism through investment and saving French wine properties in Bordeaux led to the signed picture of Winston Churchill that is at Château Siran.
- Édouard discusses his aunt, May-Eliane Miailhe de Lencquesaing, who played a role in helping keep the Jewish family alive, became an icon in Bordeaux wine, and later moved to South Africa and started her own brand. Édouard and I discuss his view on women in wine and his family’s unflagging support of women through the decades.
Marjolaine Defrance, Édouard Miailhe, Charlotte (hospitality manager)
- Édouard talks about how the right investments in the vineyard and winery, and the right enologist (a very young, talented, Marjolaine Defrance) led to Château Siran being the number one wine in the world according to Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
Siran’s 160th anniversary bottle
- Édouard talks about the revival of original art on the labels of Château Siran. His parents began the tradition of picking a theme for the label that reflected the events of that particular year. The bottles were pieces of art, but also were easily recognizable because of the moment in time they represented. Édouard has revived the tradition for the 2020 vintage, with Frederica Matta, the French and Chilean artist representing the difficult year of isolation in Covid, but the uplifting part of reconnecting with nature, and being grateful for its sights and smells.
Revival of the artist label with the 2020 vintage. Art by Frederica Matta, photo courtesy of Ch. Siran
- We end by discussing some of Édouard’s worries about climate change but also about his hopefulness about the ever-improving quality of Margaux wines and how the appellation seems to be working together better than ever before, a great thing for them and for those of us who drink their wines.
My opinion: Château Siran is a very unique and delicious bottle of wine and extremely well-priced for what it delivers. The addition of Petit Verdot in the wine makes it unlike other wines you may have tasted and it is well worth it to buy it, hold it and taste the beauty in the bottle!!
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