Château Margaux, Margaux Premier Cru

Château Margaux, Margaux Premier Cru, 2018

  • icon-type Type

    Red

  • icon-year Year

    2018

  • icon-style Style

    Dry

  • icon-country Country

    France

  • icon-alcohollevel Alcohol level

    14%

  • icon-grapevariety Grape variety
    Cabernet Sauvignon 90%, Merlot 4%, Cabernet Franc 4%, Petit Verdot 2%
  • Rating

    JS 100, RP 100

Château Margaux 2018 is one of the best wines to be produced on the Estate in recent years even taking into consideration the extraordinary quality of the 2015 and 2016 vintages!

Château Margaux 2018 is remarkably concentrated. A small grape size and relatively low yields largely explain the exceptionally high tannin indices. The wine’s power is not, however, overwhelming and helps to considerably lengthen the aromas and structure of the finish. Fairly early in the wine-making process, Château Margaux's team understood this tannic potential and moderated the extraction programs including for the Merlot plots, which are usually less dense than the fine Cabernet Sauvignon wines. The latter still form the heart of Château Margaux, accounting for 90% of the blend. They limit the alcohol content to 14° in these weather conditions.

About Château Margaux

Château Margaux, archaically La Mothe de Margaux was one of four wines to achieve Premier cru (first growth) status in the Bordeaux Classification of 1855. The estate is located in the commune of Margaux on the left bank of the Garonne estuary in the Médoc region.

The estate also produces a second wine named Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux, a third wine named Margaux de Château Margaux, as well as a dry white wine named Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux which does not conform to the Margaux appellation directives.

The estate has been occupied since at least the 12th century, with the site occupied by a fortified castle known as Lamothe or La Mothe (from motte, a small rise in the land), and wine under names such as "Margou" and "Margous" was known in the 15th century, but it was with the arrival of the Lestonnac family in the 16th century that wine production became of particular importance.

By the beginning of the 18th century, the estate comprised 265 hectares (650 acres) with a third devoted to viticulture, which is nearly identical to the modern layout.

Following the French Revolution, the owner Elie du Barry was executed by guillotine and the estate expropriated, eventually becoming the property of the citizen Miqueau who neglected its care and maintenance. Briefly rescued by Laure de Fumel, she was soon forced to sell, and in 1802 the estate was purchased by the Marquis de la Colonilla, Bertrand Douat.

The estate's old château was torn down and completely rebuilt when Douat commissioned one of Bordeaux' foremost architects, Louis Combes, to create the buildings in the First Empire style, the mansion for the Marquis to move into by 1812.

Large portions of shares in the estate were bought by the Bordeaux wine merchant Fernand Ginestet (then owner of the adjacent Château Lascombes) in 1925, and the family share was gradually increased to allow his son Pierre Ginestet to take complete ownership in 1949. In 1965, Pierre Ginestet controversially declared a new estate policy that the vintage year would only be affixed to great vintages, while selling the wine of lesser years as non-vintage wine, like the customary practice of Champagne.

Following the Bordeaux economic crisis of 1973, the Ginestet family were forced to sell Château Margaux.

A successful acquisition took place in 1976 by French grocery and finance group Félix Potin, headed by Greek André Mentzelopoulos. By the time of Mentzelopoulos' death in 1980, Château Margaux was considered substantially restored to its former reputation, with the 1978 and 1979 vintages declared "exceptional".

At the beginning of the 1990s, an exchange of shares was negotiated with the Agnelli family but the management remained in the hands of Mentzelopoulos' daughter Corinne Mentzelopoulos. In 2003, Corinne Mentzelopoulos bought back the majority stake and became the sole shareholder of Château Margaux.

The domaine of Château Margaux extends 262 hectares (650 acres), of which 87 hectares (210 acres) are entitled to the Margaux AOC declaration. 80 hectares (200 acres) are planted with 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, with 2% Cabernet Franc and Petit verdot. 12 hectares (30 acres) are cultivated with Sauvignon Blanc to make the dry white Pavillon Blanc.

The average annual production of the Grand vin, Château Margaux, is 150,000 bottles, while the second wine Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux has an average production of 200,000 bottles. The dry white Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux has a production of around 35,000 bottles, and must be sold under the generic Bordeaux AOC as the cultivation of Sauvignon Blanc does not fall under the directives of the Margaux AOC. The remainder of the production, what is determined to be "lesser grapes", is sold off in bulk.

Grape variety
Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc is one of the major black grape varieties worldwide. It is principally grown for blending with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot in the Bordeaux style, but can also be vinified alone, as in the Loire's Chinon. In addition to being used in blends and produced as a varietal in Canada and the United States, it is sometimes made into ice wine in those regions.

Cabernet Franc is lighter than Cabernet Sauvignon, making a bright pale red wine that contributes finesse and lends a peppery perfume to blends with more robust grapes. Depending on the growing region and style of wine, additional aromas can include tobacco, raspberry, bell pepper, cassis, and violets.

Records of Cabernet Franc in Bordeaux go back to the end of the 18th century, although it was planted in Loire long before that time. DNA analysis indicates that Cabernet Franc is one of two parents of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carménère.

Cabernet Franc shares many of the same phenolic and aroma compounds as Cabernet Sauvignon but with some noticeable differences. Cabernet Franc tends to be more lightly pigmented and produces wines with the same level of intensity and richness. Cabernet Franc tends to have a more pronounced perfume with notes of raspberries, blackcurrants, violets and graphite. It is often characterised by a green, vegetal strike that can range from leaves to green bell peppers. It has slightly less tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon and tends to produce a wine with a smoother mouthfeel. New World examples of Cabernet Franc tend to emphasise the fruit more and may delay harvesting the grapes to try to minimise the green leafy notes.

Alternative Names: Bordo, Bouchet, Bouchy, Breton, Cabernet Franco, Cabernet Frank

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the world's most widely recognised red wine grape varieties. It is grown in nearly every major wine producing country among a diverse spectrum of climates from Canada's Okanagan Valley to Lebanon's Beqaa Valley. Cabernet Sauvignon became internationally recognised through its prominence in Bordeaux wines where it is often blended with Merlot and Cabernet Franc. From France and Spain, the grape spread across Europe and to the New World where it found new homes in places like California's Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Napa Valley, New Zealand's Hawkes Bay, South Africa's Stellenbosch region, Australia's Margaret River and Coonawarra regions, and Chile's Maipo Valley and Colchagua. For most of the 20th century, it was the world's most widely planted premium red wine grape until it was surpassed by Merlot in the 1990. However, by 2015, Cabernet Sauvignon had once again become the most widely planted wine grape.

Despite its prominence in the industry, the grape is a relatively new variety, the product of a chance crossing between Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc during the 17th century in southwestern France. Its popularity is often attributed to its ease of cultivation - the grapes have thick skins and the vines a re hardy and naturally low yielding, budding late to avoid frost and resistant to viticultural hazards such as rot and insects - and to its consistent presentation of structure and flavours which express the typical character ("typicity") of the variety. Familiarity and ease of pronunciation have helped to sell Cabernet Sauvignon wines to consumers, even when from unfamiliar wine regions.

The classic profile of Cabernet Sauvignon tends to be full-bodied wines with high tannins and noticeable acidity that contributes to the wine's aging potential. In cooler climates, Cabernet Sauvignon tends to produce wines with blackcurrant notes that can be accompanied by green bell pepper notes, mint and cedar which will all become more pronounced as the wine ages. In more moderate climates the blackcurrant notes are often seen with black cherry and black olive notes while in very hot climates the currant flavours can veer towards the over-ripe and "jammy" side. In parts of Australia, particularly the Coonawarra wine region of South Australia, Cabernet Sauvignon wines tend to have a characteristic eucalyptus or menthol notes.

The style of Cabernet Sauvignon is strongly influenced by the ripeness of the grapes at harvest. When more on the unripe side, the grapes are high in pyrazines and will exhibit pronounced green bell peppers and vegetal flavours. When harvested overripe the wines can taste jammy and may have aromas of stewed blackcurrants. Some winemakers choose to harvest their grapes at different ripeness levels in order to incorporate these different elements and potentially add some layer of complexity to the wine. When Cabernet Sauvignon is young, the wines typically exhibit strong fruit flavours of black cherries and plum. The aroma of blackcurrants is one of the most distinctive and characteristic element of Cabernet Sauvignon that is present in virtually every style of the wine across the globe. Styles from various regions and producers may also have aromas of eucalyptus, mint and tobacco. As the wines age they can sometimes develop aromas associated with cedar, cigar boxes and pencil shavings. In general New World examples have more pronounced fruity notes while Old World wines can be more austere with heightened earthy notes.

Alternative Names: Bidure, Bouche, Bordo, Bouchet, Burdeos Tinto, Lafite, Vidure

Merlot

Merlot is a dark blue-coloured wine grape variety, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. The name Merlot is thought to be a diminutive of merle, the French name for the blackbird, probably a reference to the colour of the grape. Its softness and "fleshiness", combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin.

Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Shiraz Cabernet, Malbec and Petit Verdot, Merlot is one of the primary grapes used in Bordeaux wine, and it is the most widely planted grape in the Bordeaux wine regions. Merlot is also one of the most popular red wine varietals in many markets. This flexibility has helped to make it one of the world's most planted grape varieties. As of 2004, Merlot was estimated to be the third most grown variety at 260,000 hectares (640,000 acres) globally. The area planted to Merlot has continued to increase, with 266,000 hectares (660,000 acres) in 2015.

While Merlot is made across the globe, there tend to be two main styles. The "International style" favoured by many New World wine regions tends to emphasise late harvesting to gain physiological ripeness and produce inky, purple coloured wines that are full in body with high alcohol and lush, velvety tannins with intense, plum and blackberry fruit. While this international style is practiced by many Bordeaux wine producers, the traditional "Bordeaux style" of Merlot involves harvesting Merlot earlier to maintain acidity and producing more medium-bodied wines with moderate alcohol levels that have fresh, red fruit flavours (raspberries, strawberries) and potentially leafy, vegetal notes.

As a varietal wine, Merlot can make soft, velvety wines with plum flavours. While Merlot wines tend to mature faster than Cabernet Sauvignon, some examples can continue to develop in the bottle for decades. There are three main styles of Merlot - a soft, fruity, smooth wine with very little tannins; a fruity wine with more tannic structure; and, finally, a brawny, highly tannic style made in the profile of Cabernet Sauvignon. Some of the fruit notes commonly associated with Merlot include cassis, black and red cherries, blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry, mulberry, olallieberry and plum. Vegetable and earthy notes include black and green olives, cola nut, bell pepper, fennel, humus, leather, mushrooms, rhubarb and tobacco. Floral and herbal notes commonly associated with Merlot include green and black tea, eucalyptus, laurel, mint, oregano, pine, rosemary, sage, sarsaparilla and thyme. When Merlot has spent significant time in oak, the wine may show notes of caramel, chocolate, coconut, coffee bean, dill weed, mocha, molasses, smoke, vanilla and walnut.

Alternative Names: Alicante, Alicante Noir, Bégney, Bidal, Bidalhe, Bigney, Bigney rouge, Bini, Bini Ruzh, Bioney, Black Alicante, Bordeleza belcha, Crabutet, Crabutet Noir, Crabutet Noir merlau, Hebigney, Higney, Higney rouge, Langon, Lecchumskij, Médoc Noir, Merlau, Merlaut, Merlaut Noir, Merle, Merle Petite, Merleau, Merlô, Merlot Noir, Merlot black, Merlot blauer, Merlot crni, Merlot nero, Merlott, Merlou, Odzalesi, Odzhaleshi, Odzhaleshi Legkhumskii, Petit Merle, Picard, Pikard, Plan medre, Planet Medok, Plant du Médoc, Plant Médoc, Saint-Macaire, Same de la Canan, Same dou Flaube, Sème de la Canau, Sème Dou Flube, Semilhon rouge, Semilhoum rouge, Semilhoun rouge, Sémillon rouge, Sud des Graves, Vidal, Vini Ticinesi, Vitrai and Vitraille

Petit Verdot

Petit Verdot is a variety of red wine grape, principally used in classic Bordeaux blends. It ripens much later than the other varieties in Bordeaux, often too late, so it fell out of favour in its home region. When it does ripen it adds tannin, colour and flavour, in small amounts, to the blend. Petit Verdot has attracted attention among winemakers in the New World, where it ripens more reliably and has been made into single varietal wine. It is also useful in 'stiffening' the mid palate of Cabernet Sauvignon blends.

When young its aromas have been likened to banana and pencil shavings. Strong tones of violet and leather develop as it matures.

Alternative Names: Verdot, Petit Verdau

About Margaux

Margaux is an important appellation in the Haut-Médoc district of Bordeaux, southwestern France. Located 25 kilometres (15 miles) north of the city of Bordeaux, the appellation is famous for producing supple, perfumed wines, predominantly from Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Margaux appellation contains 21 cru classé properties from the 1855 Bordeaux Classification (20 of which still exist), more than any other Left Bank appellation. It is also, geographically speaking, the largest in the Médoc, and is divided into five communes or parishes.

In the north, Soussans borders Pauillac. It boasts no cru classé wines, unlike the commune of Margaux to its south. The latter includes ten cru classé chateaux including first growth Château Margaux, and Château Palmer which is "only" a third growth but regarded as one of the great Bordeaux estates. South of Margaux commune Cantenac is home to seven cru classé properties. Giscours and Dauzac are the crus classés based in Labarde, while southernmost Arsac is further inland and the location of fifth growth Château du Tertre.

In Saint-Julien, Saint-Estèphe and Pauillac, the vineyards belonging to each château are often clearly divided and consolidated in a single plot, but in Margaux, this is not the case. Here, even vineyards belonging to the wealthier châteaux are dispersed and mixed in with those of their rivals. The result is that the idea of unique terroirs is diluted, and so winemaking practices and choice of grape varieties play more important roles in the character of wines.

The distinctive flavours and textures of Margaux wines are often attributed to the local soils. In Margaux, the soils have a high gravel content (Pauillac and Saint-Estèphe have slightly more clay), which leads to excellent drainage and a low level of nutrients. Vines grow well in poor, loose, free-draining soil; the poorer the soil, the deeper the vines must go to find water and nourishment. This makes them physically stronger and also allows them to reflect the specific characteristics of the deeper soils. The downside is that Margaux's wines can seem almost too light and delicate in cool vintages.

The grapes permitted for use here are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Carmenère, Petit Verdot and Malbec. They must come from vineyards planted to densities of 6500 to 10,000 plants per hectare (2631 and 4048 per acre).

Regular price $5,123.00

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