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.
This was phenomenal from barrel and remains so. The aromas are spellbinding. It smells like a bouquet of pink roses and then goes to currants, berries and citrus. Full body, with wonderfully refined tannins. It starts discreetly and then grows to different levels and dimensions like a slow but big high tide. The texture is so beautiful. Try it in 2020 or beyond. 100 points, jamessuckling.com
The 2010 is a brilliant Chateau Margaux, as one might expect in this vintage. The percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the final blend hit 90%, the balance Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and only 38% of the crop made it into the Chateau Margaux. (The late) Paul Pontallier, the administrator, told me that this wine has even higher levels of tannin than some other extraordinary vintages such as 2005, 2000, 1996, etc. Deep purple, pure and intense, with floral notes, tremendous opulence and palate presence, this is a wine of considerable nobility. With loads of blueberry, blackcurrant and violet-infused fruit and a heady alcohol level above 13.5% (although that looks modest compared to several other first growths, particularly Chateau Latour and Chateau Haut-Brion), its beautifully sweet texture, ripe tannin, abundant depth and profound finish all make for another near-perfect wine that should age effortlessly for 30-40 years. 99 points, Robert Parker.
Paul Pontallier was rattling off some interesting statistics about Chateau Margaux. The 2000 (a great, great wine) was 13.1% natural alcohol, the 2005 13.1%, the 2009 13.2%, and the 2010, the highest ever measured, 13.5%. That is still nearly one degree less than the Pauillac first-growth of Chateau Latour at 14.4%. This blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc (representing only 38% of the total production) has the classic, quintessential Margaux character of spring flowers, almost cool-climate precision, medium body, and a seamless integration of tannin, wood and alcohol. The blue and black fruit characteristics are present, and the wine restrained. The most measured and polished of all the first growths I tasted, it is also less concentrated than any of the other first growths, but the elegance is classic. The harvest finished on October 15, which was not their latest by any means. This is one of the few first growths of 2010 where the tannins are remarkably delicate and sweet, and the softness of this wine will provide magical drinking at a relatively early age, yet its balance and concentration will carry it for 20 or more years. 96-98/100 points, Robert Parker.
Liquid velvet, with stunning length and a caressing mouthfeel, as layers of creamed plum, blackberry coulis and steeped blackcurrant fruit glide along, seamlessly intertwined with black tea, mulled blood orange, incense and lilac. Hints of mesquite and alder hang subtly in the background, and the structure, evident and massive, has melded wonderfully. 98 points, James Molesworth.
A great wine that is just starting out. The high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend gives the structured, blackcurrant character. Dark chocolate and layers of wood are forward, revealing how young the wine is. And then the fruit, so rich and powerful, brings deliciousness to the firm, dense structure. 98 points, Roger Voss.
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.