Château Margaux is one of Bordeaux’s most famous wine estates, located just east of Margaux itself in the Médoc. Along with Lafite, Latour and Haut-Brion, it was rated as a first growth in the original 1855 Bordeaux Classification of the Médoc. Generally, Margaux is considered as the most elegant of the first growths, and is consistently one of the most expensive wines in the world.
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Château Margaux’s vineyards have a complex combination of soils that are unique to the area. These consist of chalky clay under a top layer of coarse and fine gravels, which is well-suited to Cabernet Sauvignon, which accounts for around 75 percent of plantings. Merlot makes up a further 20 percent, with the rest planted to Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. As is typical for top Bordeaux estates, the vineyard is densely planted at 10,000 vines per hectare. There are also 12 hectares (30 acres) of Sauvignon Blanc to make Margaux’s white offering, Pavillon Blanc, which must be sold as Bordeaux AOP, not Margaux. The red wines are fermented in a mix of traditional wooden and stainless steel vats; the grand vin sees between 18 and 26 months aging in new oak barrels.
In 1977, Château Margaux was bought by the Greek-born cereals trader and grocery chain owner André Mentzepoulos. In a time of economic crisis he began a major program of investment, which was continued upon his death in 1980 by his daughter Corinne and winemaker Paul Pontallier (who joined in 1983). This overhaul allowed Margaux to fully benefit from global economic upturns and the excellent 1982 vintage. More recent developments include the 2009 introduction of a third wine, Margaux du Château Margaux, to complement the grand vin and the second wine, Pavillon Rouge.
The 1995 Vintage
The majority of wines across the board were rich and structured with intensely concentrated fruit and high tannins. Right-bank Merlot was particularly successful with the appellations of St-Emilion and Pomerol both producing great wines. Left bank Châteaux, like Margaux, generally needed time in the cellar. Graves and Medoc, particularly the Medoc’s St-Julien and Pauillac, all produced excellent wines, however a lack of elegance in many of the wines prevented the vintage from being truly great.
There should still be many good wines to choose from for drinking now, however a few reports have intimated that some wines originally thought suitable for long-term aging have either failed to improve or have declined. The best wines are most likely to be found in Pomerol although Château Margaux was also very good.