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Château Margaux, a 1er Cru Classé property, has been owned by the Mentzelopoulos family since 1978 - since then it has consistently produced the finest wines in the Médoc. One of the grandest, most imposing buildings amongst the Médoc châteaux, Ch. Margaux in its current form was built in the early 19th century, although viticulture had been practised on the estate for several centuries before. A chequered period of ownership in the 19th and early 20th century meant that the quality of some Margaux vintages was patchy, but the change which restored the property to its rightful status came in 1977 when it was bought by André Mentzenopoulos, Greek by birth but who had lived in France since 1958 and had made a fortune through supermarket retailing. André immediately instigated much-needed investment in vineyard and cellar, but his untimely death in 1980 saw his daughter, Corinne, take up the reins. Corinne’s shrewdest move was the recruitment of young, talented winemaker Paul Pontallier to oversee the production. Paul remains at the helm nearly 30 years later, and in that time Margaux has produced some legendary wines, but also displays a marvellous seam of consistency through good years and the not so good. The estate has 82 hectares under vine, with Cabernet Sauvignon inevitably dominant (75%) with 20% Merlot making up most of the rest, along with a smattering of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Unusually in Margaux, there is a white wine made here, Pavillon Blanc, from 100% Sauvignon Blanc, while the two red wines are, of course, Ch. Margaux itself and Pavillon Rouge. Typically, about 30,000 cases of red wine are made, with the Grand Vin usually accounting for just over 40% of the total. Production of the white wine amounts to less than 3,000 cases. Fermentation takes place in oak vats, and ageing for Ch. Margaux in 100% new barrels for 22 months. It is Paul Pontallier’s firmly-held belief that it is the Cabernet Sauvignon grape which is responsible for most of the sheer class which characterises the wines of Ch. Margaux and we are seeing, in consequence, an ever-greater percentage of this varietal in the blend of the Grand Vin. Margaux wines are renowned for its perfumed elegance, but this should not be construed as meaning that these are light-bodied. Far from it, as the best have an enviable structure, layers of complexity, and formidable length.
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There is something very majestic even about the 2nd wine of Ch. Margaux. Its 2006 may lack the density of other Medoc, yet it compensates with a lovely silky texture. Aromatics, succulence of fruit and freshness are all present and promise a good future for the wine.
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Bottle 12 x 75cl
With a sweet lemony nose and mineral elegance, the Pavillon Blanc is one of our preferred dry whites in 2009. The sweetness of almost late-harvested fruit is offset by refreshing acidity and a grapefruit tang completes the long finish.
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If Lafite 2007 is all about texture, then Margaux is all about perfume and finesse. With only 32% of the crop deemed worthy of this great wine - the most rigorous selection ever - this is like Ch. Margaux essence. The delicate, aromatic raspberry and cassis nose is unmistakably Ch. Margaux while the supple palate builds into a crescendo of pure, precise red and black fruit with creamy, apple hints. This very fine, beautifully integrated Margaux is true to its terroir and will be gorgeous to drink while you wait for the legendary 2005 to mature.
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Bottle 6 x 75cl
General Manager Paul Pontallier is rightly proud of his 2006. It boasts an aristocratic, fresh cassis nose with mocha and violet notes. The powerful palate shows dark chocolate, black fruit, hints of cedar and a long pure finish while the texture, as ever, is pure silk. Pontallier's opinion is that with the least amount of Merlot ever (4%) and only 36% of the crop making it into the Grand Vin, this is like a tighter version of the 1996. Make no mistake, this is not only one of the best wines of the vintage, it is also a fantastic wine in its own right.
Very good colour. Still fresh. Less evolved and no lighter than the 1989. Lovely nose. Ripe, balanced, relaxed and very classy. Fullish on the palate. Lovely fresh fruit. Very elegant, very harmonious and subtle. Long. Just about ready. Very fine indeed for the vintage. Quite delicious. (Clive Coates - The Vine - Dec-2002)
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Star Wine of the Week "The 1990 Margaux continues to be the quintessential example of this chateau. In addition to being profoundly concentrated, its ethereal bouquet of sweet black fruits, cedar, spices, flowers, smoke, and vanilla is remarkably well-formed and intense. In the mouth, there is not a hard edge to this classic wine, which is super-concentrated, soft, silky-textured, and opulent. now to 2020" 100/100 pts (Robert-Parker- Bordeaux Book 1998)
Paul Pontallier, Ch. Margaux's Wine Director, spoke to us about how pleased he was with the 2001 and that this was an older-fashioned style of vintage - they were not looking to imitate 2000 but wanted to concentrate on purity and variety of flavours. Restraint was the keyword here. Entrancingly complex, the firm well-focussed fruit led to a long, firm, extremely pure finish. Made with 82% Cabernet Sauvignon this is classic Château Margaux that will require a little patience. "Drink the Pavillon Rouge while you are waiting!" Monsieur Pontallier quipped.
Garnet red colour. Without a doubt delicious ripe Margaux with lots of cassis and plum fruit and hints of black cherries and violets. Perfumed and attractive, with a feminine elegance and freshness under the structured concentrated fruit. 2002 International Wine Challenge Cab. Sauvignon & Merlot/Bordeaux Trophy Winner
Undoubtedly the most exciting wine of the vintage, Paul Pontallier's never-ending pursuit of excellence has meant that through careful selection and attention to detail, Chateau Margaux has produced a wine that will stand alongside the very best in a great year. Harmonious, rich, balanced and concentrated with a lovely sophisticated feel.
This is a stunning Chateau Margaux, made in a sexy, up-front, elegant style, with deep creme de cassis fruit intermixed with spring flowers, a solid inner core of richness and depth, but again, very sweet tannins as well as striking minerality and elegance. One of the most seductive Chateau Margauxs given its recent bottling, this blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and the rest tiny quantities of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot should drink beautifully for the next 25-30 years. Remarkably, a mere 36% of the entire production was selected for the 2008 Chateau Margaux.
What a truly remarkable wine! A complex, multilayered, magnificent marvel; it really does posses true majesty. It has a real grace and power that has you fumbling for words to describe its quality with any degree of sophistication. There is layer upon layer of perfect dense red fruit wrapped around a kernel of ultra-fine, ultra-dense ripe tannins. Ch. Margaux 2000 and 2005 are some of the greatest barrel samples I have ever tried, and the 2010 is up there again, matching the incredible Ch. Latour as wine of the vintage. (90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 1.5% Cabernet Franc, 1.5% Petit Verdot) Simon Staples, BBR Fine Wine Director
“Electric! The hairs on the back of my neck have sprung to attention!” Were my “on site” tasting notes. Not since the spectacular 2001 Pavillon Blanc have I been so bowled over by its aromatic and spritely nose. Ultra zing on the palate with a remarkable finish. If you can find it, it may be affordable this year. It is certainly one which is well worth pushing the boat out on however. Delicious. Simon Staples, Berrys’ Fine Wine Director
Tasting wine at Ch. Margaux is one of the greatest parts of our job. It’s a true privilege. The most beautiful Château and always one of the most elegant and sophisticated wines of any trip. 2011 is no exception. Pure blast of vibrant Cabernet Sauvignon (86% this year) which should smell like blackcurrants or blackberries but here is fragrant strawberries and raspberries. Soft, round, supple. Elegance with generosity. Really beautiful. The residual aromas left in the glass are worth a trip to Bordeaux alone. Sensational. (Simon Staples, Berrys’ Fine Wine Director)
The emphasis here is very much on finesse, not power. There is a wealth of ripe, red fruit on the nose with a piercing degree of purity. On the palate the fruit is again wonderfully pure and beautifully layered, with lovely interplay between the different grape varieties and the oak. Texturally the wine is very soft and graceful because the tannins, although abundant, are exceptionally fine-grained. The finish is all about elegance, but the wine has great harmony and persistence and clearly has a considerable future.
Magnum 3 x 150cl
A first growth and perhaps the most famous wine in the world. Since its rebirth in 1978 the wine has never really been surpassed. The grapes are hand picked and sorted. Fermentation takes place in both 100% new oak and tanks. This is followed by 18 months to 2 years maturation in oak afterwhich the wine is fined but not filtered. The grapes are 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. There are aromas of liquorice, sweet smoky new oak, jammy black fruits and minerals. There is an extraordinary richness and balance. A truly exceptional wine.
Rigorous selection resulted in just a third of the harvest becoming Pavillon Blanc in 2012, as just the oldest and best vineyard plots achieved the necessary levels of high quality this great estate demands. Aromatic, with a sweet lemony nose and mineral complexity, it is fresh and nicely balanced with pleasing grapefruit notes on the finish.
The freshness of the 2012 was the most notable aspect, backed up by ample, cool fruit. This is very much an archetypal Ch. Margaux with its gentle, spicy aromas that will develop and intrigue. If priced correctly, which it should be, this will prove to be a classic and thoroughly enjoyable Margaux from a vintage where Paul Pontallier and his team deserve praise for creating such a success from a less than easy vintage. The terroir tells. Tom Cave, Cellar Plan Manager
Just 40% of production was selected for this wine and Paul Pontallier finds the quantity to be similar to 2011 and 2012, it is just a shame that there is less of it this year. Refreshing, clean and with delicious acidity, it is hard to disagree. Pavillon Blanc benefits from vines over 35-years-old and with minerality, lightness and an abundance of tasty fruit, this is good again in 2013.
Paul Pontallier stated proudly that this wine was the best Pavillon he’s ever made. It is certainly a very fine second wine with deep, intense blackcurrant on the nose mingling with oak spice and a massive level of very ripe tannins. The density and concentration of fruit on the palate was clear, resulting in a very succulent wine with a long savoury finish to boot.
This was the first First Growth on the Left Bank we tasted in 2009 and it was magnificent. With an intense, lifted, floral perfume and a succulent palate of mulberries, blackcurrant and fruitcake spice this is massively concentrated whilst somehow managing to feel very understated. The tannins are of the highest level ever recorded at Margaux but skip lightly across the palate and then just melt away. With its elegant minerality, sweet ripe fruit and extraordinary length, this is a truly lovely wine.
The balance and harmony in this powerful Second Wine is immediately reminiscent of the sensational Grand Vin. The creamy black cherry and blackcurrant fruit is as smooth as velvet and extremely mouth-filling. The much greater percentage of Merlot (48%) this year gives it far more opulence than usual, while the Cabernet Sauvignon (48%) provides the incredible concentration, tannic structure and sheer class. This tastes more like a Second Growth than a Second Wine.
D. Magnum 1 x 300cl
Words can't convey how good this is. It is an extraordinary Margaux, with a perfume to die for and an astonishing level of concentration and complexity. The tannin levels are the highest ever here but you would never know; they are like velvet on the tongue cloaked with rich, suave and voluptuous forest fruits and crushed raspberries. The finish goes on forever with coffee, mocha and bitter chocolate hints enhancing the intense pure, creamy cassis. This is a classic Margaux that starts slowly and then just builds and builds to a deafening crescendo that engulfs the senses. This is a legendary Margaux.
Magnum 6 x 150cl
Imperial 1 x 600cl
With as much Merlot in the blend as the 1990 and 1996 the quality of this wine is as good as any vintage that winemaker Paul Pontallier can remember. When we tasted the 2004 Ch. Margaux we found it to be as fabulous and exciting as the 2000 had been at a similar stage. The nose was simply beautiful - ripe, fine sweet, elegant and powerful with huge potential. The palate is expansive and multi-faceted. Alongside Latour, this is one of the two wines of the vintage.