The second wine of Chateau Margaux came about partly due to misfortune - when an attack of phylloxera decimated the vineyards, necessitating a replanting of the majority of their vineyards. The lack of grapes eliminated the possibility of a First Growth Quality wine and led to the production of their “second wine” - the Pavillon Rouge de Chateau Margaux, the first official vintage of which was released in 1906.
Renowned as a sterling example of a second wine, the 2016 has been hailed as a particularly superb vintage. Medium-bodied, silky, intense and tannic, it continues its impressive trajectory year upon year.
The 2020 Pavillon Rouge shows just how compelling the vintage is. Rich red berry fruit, red plum, cedar, spice and licorice meld together in a sumptuous, racy yet impeccably balanced wine that is flat-out delicious. It displays tremendous reserve, freshness and nuance, and clean veins of salinity that refresh the finish. The blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. The Pavillon Rouge represents 31% of the harvest.
(92-94) points, Vinous (June 2021)
Blackberry and graphite with dark fruit and violets on the nose. Very complex. Full-bodied with lovely, fine tannins that are lightly chewy. Extremely long and polished. Really refined. Integrated tannins. Wonderful length.
(96-97) points, JamesSuckling.com (April 2021)
The 2020 Pavillon Rouge is composed of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. The alcohol weighs in at 13.6%. Deep purple-black in color, the nose slowly unfurls to reveal gorgeous floral notes of lilacs and red roses, leading to a core of blackcurrant cordial, Morello cherries and minted blackberries, plus wafts of crushed rocks, forest floor and tilled loam. The medium to full-bodied palate is a mouthful of pure vinous seduction, slowly releasing layers of perfumed black fruits and mineral accents within a frame of achingly plush tannins and seamless freshness, finishing with epic length and a whole array of fragrant earth sparks.
(92-94) points, Wine Advocate (May 2021)
The 2020 Pavillon Rouge de Château Margaux has an understated nose at first, gradually opening to offer raspberry and wild strawberry and subtle iodine scents in the background, precise but not wishing to create too much of a fuss. The palate is medium-bodied with a pliant opening. There is a discreet lushness conveyed by this Pavillon Rouge. At its core is brambly red fruit laced with white pepper and sour cherry, and just a faint pencil lead and black olive note right on the finish. I suspect that this will be a more approachable Pavillon Rouge compared to the 2018 and 2019, but it will certainly not shortchange anyone in terms of elegance.
(91-93) points, Vinous (May 2021)
75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc. 31% of the production. Cask sample.
Pronounced fruit and freshness with finely matted, powdery tannins that provide elegance and a suavity of texture. Aromatic and juicy on the finish. Medium to long ageing potential.
17+ points, James Lawther, JancisRobinson.com (April 2021)
The 2020 Pavillon Rouge checks in as 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and the rest Cabernet Franc. It has a beautifully pure, classic Cabernet style in its cassis and blue-tinged fruits as well as notes of violets, tobacco, and chocolate. With medium to full body, ripe yet polished tannins, and a great finish, it shows the fresh yet concentrated style of the vintage beautifully. It's going to evolve nicely for 20 years or more.
(92-94) points, JebDunnuck.com (May 2021)
On Bordeaux’s Left Bank, near the southern end of the Haut-Médoc, lies Margaux, one of the most celebrated villages in the world of wine. Margaux is home to Château Margaux, the revered first-growth property, as well as 20 more Grand Cru Classé estates ranked in the 1855 classification of Bordeaux. The acclaimed wine of Margaux benefits from the diverse soil types in the appellation.
In general, Margaux has a very thin layer of topsoil, and the very best vineyards, above the Gironde River, have gravelly soils that encourage deep root growth and allow for good drainage. Because of the variations in soil, Margaux wines can range from delicately flavoured to highly concentrated, from medium- to full-bodied. Yet all Margaux wines share a fragrant bouquet, silky texture and remarkable balance. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in the wines of Margaux, as it does throughout the Left Bank, with Merlot and Cabernet Franc used in small percentages for blending. Because of their excellent aging potential, the best Margaux wines are prized by collectors.