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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.
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.
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.
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.
Magnum 6 x 150cl
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 Chteau Margaux that will require a little patience. Drink the Pavillon Rouge while you are waiting! Monsieur Pontallier quipped.
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.
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)
Bottle 1 x 75cl
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Bottle 6 x 75cl
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
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From a sunbaked vintage a Margaux charcterised by its floral aromas, finely edged with chocolate and cinnamon. Not a masssively structured wine yet one with fine-polished tannins and a seductive intensity.