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Chateau Margaux

ch-margaux.jpgThis most famous estate is not only Bordeaux's grandest property, living up to expectations of what a Chateau should look like, but since it's purchase in 1977 by the Mentzelopoulos family (today managed by Corinne and her two daughters) has been the most consistent of all of the first growths.

Whilst the impressive Chateau itself was constructed in 1811, vineyards were established here at least by the mid 17th century (and probably earlier), and by the 18th century its wines were considered some of the finest in Bordeaux.  Changing hands several times over the centuries (including being confiscated during the Revolution), by the second half of the 20th century it had essentially detoriated to such a point where during the 1960s and 70s, most vintages were poor in quality at best.second-year-barrels-at-ch-margaux.jpg

Recapitalised and rejuvenated, the past 35 years has seen investment in the vineyards, the cellars and the winery, and quality of the wines has never been better.  From 2010 a third label was introduced, thereby increasing the quality of the grand vin, and indeed the second label 'Pavillon Rouge de Margaux' significantly.  A relatively large property of some 66 hectares of red vines, 75% of which are Cabernet Sauvignon, with 20% Merlot and 5% of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, there is also a single plot of 12 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc, which produces Pavillon Blanc.

margaux-vine.jpgChateau Margaux enjoys excellent soils, mostly deep gravels with some clay and gravel which are utilised for the Merlot.  Yields are modest, generally around 40 hl/ha although this has been decreasing in recent vintages, and typically around 40% of the crop goes in to the grand vin.

Constant experimentation in the quest for improvement, even incremental, is a hallmark of Chateau Margaux, and leading that search is Paul Pontellier, who has been the estate's director since 1983 when appointed by Corrine in one of her first (and perhaps most important) decisions upon taking control from her deceased father.  Every modern viticultural and winemaking technique is trialled and evaluated, before a decision is made to continue or abandon it.m.jpg

Chateau Margaux continues to epitomise what a first growth Bordeaux should be about, with its richness and power, stunningly complex aromatics, silky texture and tremendous length and complexity in its finish.  Above all, Chateau Margaux is a delicious and refreshingly more-ish wine, which is perhaps the point.

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