, 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.