One of the best wines in Bordeaux with awesome aromatic touch

Château Margaux

 

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Château Margaux is situated in Haut-Médoc on the right side of the so-called "Route de Vin", just when you're about to leave Margaux village, and you have to walk app. 1 km to reach the cellars of the property. Vines grow on soil with the upper gravelly layer containing quartz and siliceous stones and subsoil consisting of a fine gravel grade mixed with clay and sand. Grape varieties used are Cabernet Sauvignon (75 %), Merlot (25 %) and Cabernet Franc + Petit Verdot (5 %). Vines are, on average 35 years old, and vinification is carried out in wooden vats. The wine matures 18-24 months in 100 % new oak.

Chateau Margaux offers wine-lovers a wonderful mixture of race, elegance and finesse, added one of Bordeaux's most captivating bouquets. It is like seeing a ballet dancer make pirouettes with grace and style. This property has light subsoil, which brings forward finesse and a refined impression in Merlot. Cabernet Sauvignon contributes with backbone, depth and body. It also offers remarkable structure, nuance richness and stunning length. A true Queen of Bordeaux!  

Sadly, the true gentleman and sophisticated winemaker, Paul Pontallier, who had managed Chateau Margaux since 1988, passed unexpectedly away at the end of March 2016, just before the start of primeur tastings 2015 vintage out to be his last.

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Subdued light, great atmosphere and late Paul Pontallier pouring vintages 2010, 2009 and 2008 - September 2011

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Two vital men now at Chateau Margaux - general director Philippe Bascaules (right) and property manager Sébastien Vergne (left) - October 2017

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2020 Ch. Margaux (barrel sample) 99-100p

Tasted in April 2021. 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. 14% alcohol. Only 36% of the harvest into Grand Vin. Impressed greatly with pure elegance, finesse, extraordinary length, and astonishing richness and complexity. Classy aristocrat, no less. Amazing stuff.

2019 Ch. Margaux (barrel sample) 99-100p

Tasted in June 2020. Only 37% of the whole production into Grand Vin. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, 13.9% alcohol. Ch. Margaux's technical director, Philippe Bascaules, told me via ZOOM interview that Merlot needed to be vinified gently due to its voluptuousness and high alcohol consumption. He made a comparison between 2018 and 2019 Grand Vin - "when I taste 2018 Ch. Margaux, I taste 2018 vintage first, then Ch. Margaux. When I taste 2019 Ch. Margaux, it's Ch. Margaux first, then 2019 vintage!"

It's a showcase of Cabernet Sauvignon with beautiful aromas of cigar box and tobacco leaves. Extremely elegant and multi-faceted, sophisticated and very stylish for the property. Exceptional complexity and purity. Liquid silk. True perfection here! 

2018 Ch. Margaux 99-100p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2021. Consistent notes. Now in the bottle and as stunning as from barrel. Significantly impressed with an incredibly scented nose, sophisticated and refined touch, astonishing complexity and length. Simply a true "iron fist in the velvet glove"! Amazing stuff. 14% alcohol. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.

2017  Ch. Margaux (barrel sample) 97p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2018. Consistent notes. This wine was sophisticated and pure, very elegant with finesse, very precise and rich. A bit less intense and concentrated than 2016, but still, it's spectacular quality. Only 37% of the crop went into Grand Vin. 89% Cabernet Sauvignon + 8% Merlot + 2% Cabernet Franc + 1% Petit Verdot.

2016 Ch. Margaux (barrel sample) 97p

Tasted twice - last time in October 2017. Consistent notes. It didn't show the heights of otherworldy 2015 but still had a genuine spark of blue/blackberries, seamless structure and sophisticated touch. Pure elegance and finesse here!

2015 Ch. Margaux 100p

Tasted twice - last time in October 2017. Consistent notes. Grand Vin is 38% of total crop and composed of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. All in silk, epic wine. Exceptional concentration, richness and complexity, super-strong backbone, elegant and sophisticated, perfectly balanced, incredibly aromatic, extraordinary finish. For sure, this is a wine of the 2015 vintage in red. A great, great testimony/hommage to Paul Pontallier!

2014 Ch. Margaux 96p

Tasted three times - last time in April 2018. Consistent notes. There is a lot of freshness, strong, oaky, splendid depth, peppery on the palate, and long aftertaste. More masculine wine this term from this property thanks to perfectly ripe Cabernet Sauvignon.

2013 Ch. Margaux (barrel sample) 93p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2014. Consistent notes. This wine is 100% C.Sauvignon was lighter than usual with smooth, silky tannin, soft fruit, polished texture. Usually, Grand Vin contains Merlot, but winemaking stuff didn't value the Merlot parcel in question to have quality worth putting it in Grand Vin. It went instead into Pavillon Rouge. So my rating is more based on reputation than on actual appearance because Margaux put on weight when in the bottle.

2012 Ch. Margaux 95-96p

Tasted three times - last time in May 2018. Consistent notes. 87% C.Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 2% C.Franc and 1% P.Verdot. This wine had very aromatic and intense black cherries on the nose, lush and seductive on the palate, refined, velvety texture, rich, and a long finish from a barrel. In November 2015, this wine was even better, unresistible with chocolate, cocoa, fabulous nose, classy and silky everywhere. In the top two of 1.Growths in this vintage. Same impression in May 2018 as in November 2015. Irresistible!

2011 Ch. Margaux (barrel sample) 95-96p

Tasted in April 2012. This wine offered elegance, finesse and refinement to a very high degree, velvety black cherry fruit and fat tannin, and a long, long caressing finish. Once again, an essence of class and style.

2010 Ch. Margaux (barrel sample) 98-100p

Tasted twice - last time in September 2011. Consistent notes. Great elegance and class, stunning depth and structure, velvety, sweet cherries, excellent balance, great depth, extremely long and lingering aftertaste. Heavenly stuff.

2009 Ch. Margaux 100p

Tasted three times - last time in January 2017. Consistent notes. What a jaw-dropping wine! My friend told me that this wine stole his heart, but it took mine too. Wonderful, penetrating, intense nose of black cherries and grated Valrhona chocolate. Paul Pontalier said that the nose of this wine reminded him of 1953 Margaux, and I couldn't agree more! I did taste this wine in 1990, and the fragrance of it is sensational. Back to 2009 – remarkable distinction, seamless, sophisticated, extremely long with many layers and a lingering velvety aftertaste. Flamboyant and breathless wine. Five and a half years later, since the last tasting of this wine, in January 2017, it is still a real paradise/eternal flame. Possibly the best 1.Growth in this vintage.

2008 Ch. Margaux 97p

Tasted three times - last time in September 2011. Consistent notes. I owned a few bottles of this wine and was curious to see how it fared. It started with great scents of cherries, freshness, seamless structure and great minerality. Not as flashy as 2009, but still classy and stylish wine with a great personality. Wonderfully balanced and with excellent acidity. After tasting it, I've every reason to jump with joy, having purchased this wine primeur at 1/5 of the price of the 2009 vintage or 1/7 of the cost of the 2010 vintage.

2007 Ch. Margaux 92p

Tasted four times - last time in October 2009. Consistent notes. This wine was as pretty and light on feet as a slim and young ballerina, had beautiful aromas of violets and roses, enchanting elegance and finesse. Seductive like h.... and still improving. At least 15 more years to cellar this wine.

2006 Ch. Margaux 98p

Tasted four times - last time in October 2009. Consistent notes. It impressed with high intensity of flavours, power, refinement and sophisticated touch. Great, great classic wine for the property. Paul Pontalier simply adores this vintage. This wine is a long term runner - will be significant fireworks in 20-30 years.

2005 Ch. Margaux 99p

Tasted three times - last time in October 2015. Consistent notes. This wine was like an eternal flame, pure poetry radiating and shining. This vintage at Château Margaux has incredible charisma, style, elegance, depth and length. Seamless winemaking - but what could be done wrong with so extravagantly prima ripe and rich grapes which Mother Nature provided Bordeaux within 2005?!! Angels sing and sing and sing and .... for the next 30-50 years. A bit closed in October 2015 and therefore not in full blossoming.

2004 Ch. Margaux 95p

Tasted twice - last time in October 2008. Consistent notes. 78% C.Sauvignon + 18% Merlot + 2% P.Verdot/C.Franc. This wine has become another classic - perfectly ripe fruit, stunning richness, exquisite and finesse, fleshy and long. Wonderful stuff. 1/3 or more of the price for 2005 and 2006. 20-25 years horizontally in the cellar.

2002 Ch. Margaux 93p

Tasted twice - last time in October 2008. This wine was served during harvest lunch at Château Margaux. Terrific effort for the vintage with well-known elegance and finesse, round, very feminine, pure style and excellent intensity. Very, very enjoyable already now, but can keep for 10-15 more years.

1996 Ch. Margaux 98p

Tasted in May 2018. 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 100% new oak. An iron fist in the velvet glove. Tobacco leaves and grilled bacon. Remarkable intensity, richness, complexity and length. Creamy and long aftertaste. Awesome effort!

1995 Ch. Margaux 93p

Tasted in May 2018. Strawberries, fine acidity, length, depth and structure. This vintage had mixed results on Left Bank, and Margaux reflects that being excellent wine but not up to 1996 vintage.

1986 Ch. Margaux 97-98p

Tasted in April 1989. Black-red colour. Cabernet Sauvignon in full blossom here; this wine is dense, strong, intense and revealing colossal potential! Wait and see!

1985 Ch. Margaux 88p

Tasted three times - last time in November 2015. Consistent notes. This year, it tasted on three different occasions (2015) and with the same TNs - light and a bit anonymous, round, charming and balanced. Paul Pontallier, the successful manager of Ch. Margaux arrived at the property first in 1988.

1961 Ch. Margaux 96p

Tasted four times - last time in February 1991. Very complex and intense, immense depth and supporting tannin and lush fruit. Superb balance, elegance and finesse. A truly great wine!

1959 Ch. Margaux 90p

Tasted in October 1994. Deep red. Mature nose with much sweetness. Charming, elegant and long. Smooth and graceful on the aftertaste. Delightful wine.

1953 Ch. Margaux 100p

Tasted in December 1990. Fantastic nose of truffles and cherries. Incredible finesse, elegance and sophisticated charisma. It's a perfect wine, and old Bordeaux showing how it can seduce wine-lovers. Wow!

1947 Ch. Margaux 96p

Tasted in April 1989. A very intense and refined nose of raspberry drops. Delicate and delicious on the palate, incredibly complex and captivating wine. Breathtaking stuff.

1945 Ch. Margaux 94p

Tasted in May 2020. Salty (oysters) on the nose, elegant and sophisticated, refined and sumptuous length. Still having fun, and it makes wine tasters happier. 

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2020 Pavillon Rouge (barrel sample) 94p

Tasted in April 2021. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. 13.6 alcohol. Fragrant and creamy blackcurrants covered with grated chocolate, great intensity and balance, finely grained tannin and bright acidity and a long, lush finish. Touch of aristocratic style. It might be the best vintage produced yet here. 

2019 Pavillon Rouge (barrel sample) 94p

Tasted in June 2020. Only 27% of the whole production. 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, 14.2% alcohol. It displays a very intense aroma of black cherries on the nose, very distinctive, deep and noble: silky berries and grained tannin. The acidity keeps the whole thing fresh. Sophisticated and with a long and lingering aftertaste. As excellent as 2018 but more typical for the property.

2018 Pavillon Rouge 94p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2021. Consistent notes. 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 9% Petit Verdot. It was potent and robust with excellent structure and backbone, creamy blackcurrants, fat tannin, and a long, lush finish. The best vintage of this wine I've tasted yet.

2018 Pavillon Blanc (barrel sample) 94p

Tasted in April 2019. Crispy and creamy, fresh pineapple fruit, green apple, splendid acidity and complexity. Very nice effort.

2017 Pavillon Rouge (barrel sample) 92p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2018. Consistent notes. This barrel sample showed freshness, aromatic fruit and elegance. Silky tannin and smooth finish. Very adorable. 

2017 Pavillon Blanc (barrel sample) 94p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2018. Consistent notes. It showed great aromas, acidity and complexity, freshness, crispiness and a long fruity finish. Excellent effort.

2016 Pavillon Rouge (barrel sample) 93p

Tasted twice - last time in October 2017. Consistent notes. It impressed a lot with an excellent aromatic nose of black fruit, dense structure, splendid complexity, silky fruit and tannin, splendid concentration and length.

2016 Pavillon Blanc (barrel sample) 93p

Tasted twice - last time in October 2017. Consistent notes. It showed freshness, excellent acidity and subtle complexity. Unique structure and length.

2015 Pavillon Rouge 93-94p

Tasted twice - last time in October 2017. Consistent notes. Represents 23% of total crop and is 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Probably one of the very best wines ever produced at the property. High concentration, intensity, solid backbone, a lot of silky fruit and tannin, excellent acidity and stunning finish.

2015 Pavillon Blanc 94+p

Tasted three times - last time in May 2018.  Consistent notes. Small yield, only 20 hl/ha, 100% Sauvignon Blanc, reached 14% in alcohol (perfect ripeness). 2015 vintage is the first one with organic treatment in the vineyard. Aromatic and fresh, a significant acacia and grapefruit scent, rich, refined, and great acidity. Awesomely long finish. Best Pavillon Blanc ever for me.

2014 Pavillon Rouge (barrel sample) 91-92p

Tasted twice - last time in October 2015. Consistent notes. A meaty and robust wine with delicious bite and grip, nice acidity, structure and complexity. Firm aftertaste.

2013 Pavillon Rouge (barrel sample) 88p

Tasted twice - last time in April 2014. Consistent notes. This wine (84% C.Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 4% P.Verdot and 2% C.Franc) showed light texture, soft fruit, and a pleasant sweetness and ripe tannin. Fine balance and delicate fruity aftertaste.

2012 Pavillon Rouge (barrel sample) 91p

Tasted in April 2013. (34% of the whole production) displayed cherry nose, fresh, seductive and silky fruit. Soft texture and fine fruity finish. Fine balance. Well-made.

2012 Pavillon Blanc (barrel sample) 92p

Tasted in April 2013. The yield was at 29 hl/ha, and only 30% of the harvest became PBdM. It had intense flavours of apples and acacia flower, splendid acidity and minerality, freshness, precise fruit and long finish. Fine effort.

2011 Pavillon Rouge (barrel sample) 91-92p

Tasted in April 2012. Produced from a rigorous selection of grapes, which resulted in 40% less quantity than in 2010! Velvety texture with silky fruit and tannin. Finesse and long smooth aftertaste.

2011 Pavillon Blanc (barrel sample) 94+p

Tasted in April 2012. This wine was utterly impressive. This wine displayed very intense apples, excellent acidity and minerality, freshness, precise fruit and a long, long finish.

2010 Pavillon Rouge 93-94p

Tasted twice - last time in May 2018. Consistent notes. Probably the best wine from this property - powerful wine with very aromatic ripe dark cherries, chocolate, fat ripe tannin, well-knitted, harmonious and with a long lingering aftertaste. Exceptional effort.

2010 Pavillon Blanc 93-94p

Tasted in April 2011. It impressed a lot with very intense flavours of pineapple and grapefruit, excellent acidity and minerality, freshness, precise fruit and long aftertaste.

2009 Pavillon Rouge (barrel sample) 90-92p

Tasted in April 2010. Silky, sublime, excellent concentration, subtle with a lot of finesse and elegance.

2009 Pavillon Blanc (barrel sample) 93p

Tasted in April 2010. This wine was imposing. Very intense aromas of acacia flower, apple tart, excellent acidity and minerality, freshness, very aromatic and accessible.

2008 Pavillon Rouge (barrel sample) 90-92p

Tasted in March 2009. It contained a whole 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and impressed a lot. Ripe, smooth, lovely balance, pleasant fruit sweetness and delightful soft finish.

2008 Pavillon Blanc (barrel sample) 93-95p

Tasted in March 2009. This wine was stunningly impressive with very intense acacia flower, citrus and mango, high acidity, formidable structure and long finish.

2005 Pavillon Rouge 89p

Tasted in October 2015. Delicate and soft, lovely intensity and complexity, round and tasty, silky fruit and tannin.

2004 Pavillon Blanc 90p

Tasted in May 2018. Light and elegant, some citrus and acacia, green apple. From old Sauvignon Blancs vines.

2000 Pavillon Rouge 93p

Tasted in May 2018. Awesomely beautiful nose of black fruit, perfect ripeness of fruit, extremely elegant and sophisticated. In full blossom and outstanding testimony to the vintage!

 

Latest news

I'll be visiting Bordeaux next month (November) after two years of absence. 12 days in Bordeaux and some incredibly interesting visits have been arranged!

1. A full report on the 2020 vintage tasted from the barrel is now available with approximately 500 tasted samples. (since June 2021).  Please check out chapter "2020 FROM BARREL" in "VINTAGES".

2. A full report on the 2018 vintage in the bottle is available with approximately 500 tasted wines (since April 2021). Please check out chapter "2018 IN BOTTLE" in "VINTAGES".

3. A full report on the 2019 vintage tasted from the barrel (300+ tasted samples) is available (July 2020). Please check out chapter "2019" in "VINTAGES".

The planned addition of a property profile during winter 2021/2022 is Angelus.

The Burgundy blog in the News chapter is a new feature, which includes impressions from tastings/tasting dinners attended since November 2018. It will also include impressions on tasted wines from Beaujolais' best winegrowers. Believe me that Beaujolais Crus are in the spotlight right now because of incredibly ambitious owners/winemakers! I recently came across some terrific Beaujolais wines and will go deeper into exploring this wine area in January and February 2022.

In addition to my website, I also post tasting notes to a well-driven and hugely-scaled website, www.tastingbook.com, where I have 9.300+ followers and 2.600+ TNs by ultimo October 2021.