The premier cru property known today as Chateau Margaux had moved from grain to grapes by 1582 and by 1680 vineyards made up about 80 hectares of a much larger (262ha) property, the same as today. The exceptional quality of the wine was soon recognised and, uniquely, the property took the name of the appellation. The spectacular chateau dates back to the early 1800s. Margaux was purchased in 1977 by the Mentzelopoulos family. Massive renovations were completed in 2015 and the modern estate also employs organic viticulture.
Château Margaux consistently makes one of the greatest Bordeaux wines, largely because of a grape selection regime that has seen production of the grand vin fall from 20,000 dozen in the 1980s to around 12,000 dozen today. The Margaux red grape vineyards total a little less than 70ha -- 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. They are mostly on sandy-stone topsoil over gravel with a clay base. There is also 11ha of Sauvignon Blanc. The grand vin is made in a combination of both wood and stainless steel vats and matures in new oak for 18-24 months. Margaux is one of few Bordeaux estates with its own cooperage. Margaux also produces a second wine, Pavillon Rouge (since 1906), a third wine, Margaux de Margaux (since 2009), and Pavillon Blanc, a 100% Sauvignon Blanc. The grand vin is among the world’s most sought-after wines. It is known for elegance, purity of fruit, harmony and finesse yet is also rich and full bodied, offering cassis, truffle and, distinctively, the scent of violets.
Thirty-five percent of the crop went into the 2009 Chateau Margaux, composed of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. The alcohol level of 13.3% is high, but not excessively so. A wine such as this is like the quintessence of terroir. A super, uber-concentrated perfume of creme de cassis and flowers cascades across the palate with a lightness of being despite massive concentration, a sumptuous personality, and an unctuous texture. I have never tasted a Chateau Margaux quite like this. It should be relatively drinkable at an early age, yet will last for 50-100 years. Oh my!
Paul Pontallier told me they had never had such levels of concentration and tannin as they did in 2009, exceeding anything they ever produced since the Mentzelopoulos family purchased this property in 1978. Pontallier believes 1996 is the closest stylistically, but 2009 is significantly more concentrated than that vintage. I do not disagree because tasting the second wine, Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux, demonstrates that the 2009 is far superior to almost every Chateau Margaux made in the fifties, sixties, and seventies, except for the 1961 and 1953. 98-100/100 Robert Parker Jr.
The nose is so intensely fruity, but subtle and reserved at the same time. Fascinating. Full-bodied, yet superrefined, building on the palate. It's like watching a long-distance runner starting off slowly but continuing along his or her path. Fine and dense tannins. A few minutes in the glass and the massive tannins show. Muscular and subdued. 96-99/100 Wine Spectator
Chateau Margaux (87% Cabernet Sauvignon/ 9% Merlot/ 2% petit Verdot/ 2% Cabernet franc) is truly excellent this year. It is very deep in colour with intense blackcurrant pastille/ ginger/ aniseed aromas, superb palate richness, fruit density and grainy/ chocolaty tannins. Of course this was elemental, but the sheer drinkability and overall generosity of fruit must set it up as a beacon of achievement this year. It is being compared to 2005 but my postscript reads "inimitable" ! This transcendent wine does not deserve points as it completely boxes it. 95-99/100 Andrew Caillard, MW Langton's
The nose is out of this world, with lilacs, currants, blackberries, and blueberries. Full-bodied, with super silky tannins and savory fruit and amazing flavors of fine leather, blueberries, and sandalwood. The quality of the tannins are amazing, with creamy texture and bright acidity on the end. Such classic and classicism. Delicacy. Lasts for minutes on the palate. This is 13.2% alcohol. Best Margaux in bottle yet…will 2010 be as great?
100 points, JamesSuckling.com (March 2012)
A brilliant offering from the Mentzelopoulos family, once again their gifted manager, Paul Pontallier, has produced an uncommonly concentrated, powerful 2009 Chateau Margaux made from 87% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest primarily Merlot with small amounts of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. As with most Medocs, the alcohol here is actually lower (a modest 13.3%) than most of its siblings-. Abundant blueberry, cassis and acacia flower as well as hints of charcoal and forest floor aromas that are almost Burgundian in their complexity are followed by a wine displaying sweet, well-integrated tannins as well as a certain ethereal lightness despite the wine's overall size. Rich, round, generous and unusually approachable for such a young Margaux, this 2009 should drink well for 30-35+ years.
99 points, Wine Advocate (December 2011)
The 2009 Château Margaux is deep garnet in color and features wonderfully fragrant minted cassis, lilacs, Black Forest cake and oolong tea scents with touches of pencil shavings and dusty soil. Medium to full-bodied, it has a firm, grainy frame with lovely freshness lifting the perfumed fruit to a very long, mineral-laced finish.
98 points, Wine Advocate (March 2019)
A massive wine for Margaux, packed with tannins and ripe fruit. It has more Cabernet Sauvignon than usual, giving intense black currant flavors with enticing acidity balanced by the sweetness of the fruit. Ripe swathes of this opulent fruit are also elegant and structured.
98 points, Wine Enthusiast (February 2012)
This offers gorgeously caressing fruit, with steeped plum, blackberry and red currant notes, finely embroidered with accents of rooibos and black tea, tobacco leaf, alder and sandalwood. Delivers loads of fruit, with the structure already melded into the core of fruit--but that's the vintage style. A stunner, though I still find the '10 a full step ahead.--Non-blind Château Margaux vertical (December 2013).
97 points, Wine Spectator (2014)
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.