Margaux Bordeaux Wine Guide pages offers a history of the appellation, wine tasting notes, top 10 facts about Margaux, wine and food pairing tips, a look at the character and style of the best wines from the Margaux appellation, producer and chateaux listings with links to pages on every important property in the Margaux, Bordeaux wine region with wine ratings, histories of the properties, images, technical information, Bordeaux wine buying tips, ratings and reviews for all the top wines and chateau from the Margaux appellation.
If you want to read about other Bordeaux wine producers in different Bordeaux appellations: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles If you are interested in learning more about Bordeaux wine, we offer numerous articles on everything about Bordeaux wine, from a history of the Bordeaux region and the famous 1855 Classification, the grapes used to produce Bordeaux wine and even vintage summaries, covering Bordeaux wine from 1900 to today: All About Bordeaux Wine Guide
The best chateau, wines, vineyards and producers in Margaux: The links located to the left of the page lead to all the top Margaux wines and their producers. You can read wine tasting notes, detailed profiles and histories of the estates, details on the wines, wine making, soils and other important information, as well as view images of the following top Bordeaux value wine producers:
- Boyd Cantenac
- Brane Cantenac
- Cantenac Brown
- Dufort Vivens
- Du Tertre
- L’Aura de Cambon
- Malescot St. Exupery
- Marquis d’Alesme
- Marquis de Terme
- Paveil de Luze
- Prieure Lichine
- Rauzan Gassies
- Rauzan Segla
In this Margaux Bordeaux wine guide, you’ll discover the best Bordeaux wines from Margaux that marry power with elegance, silky tannins and sensuous textures. Flavors of ripe dark berries, truffle, tobacco, cassis and violets are the signature of the wines from this region located in the southern area of the Medoc. The best wines often have great purity of fruit with velvet like textures. The Bordeaux wines of Margaux, just like those from every wine region come in a variety of shapes, sizes, styles and prices. Generally speaking, the wines of Margaux are the epitome of elegance complicated by their unique floral characteristics.
Overview of Margaux: It could be argued that prior to 2000, Margaux was a region known as much for its great terroir and reputation, as it was for the number of chateaux that were under performing based on their true potential ot make great wine. From the 2000 iontage on, that was no longer the case for the Margaux appellation. Improvements in the Left Bank vineyards and wine making techniques, coupled with the desire to produce the best wines possible from Margaux have sparked numerous chateaux to wake from their deep sleep. Consumers have not had so many high quality Margaux wines to chose from for more than 100 years! In fact, the wines of Margaux are so consistently good now, I think the appellation has never made wines of this level of quality in the history of the region! Chateau Rauzan Segla, Chateau Malescot St. Exupery, Chateau Brane Cantenac and Chateau Brane Cantenac are all producing the best wines in their history, as is Chateau d’Issan, Chateau Giscours and Chateau Marquis d’Alesme . It’s not only the Classified growths of the region that are making better wine in the appellation, today, wines like Chateau Labegorce are also worthy of being noticed!
The two best wines of the Margaux region remain Chateau Margaux and Chateau Palmer. While Chateau Palmer has not had a down period since the late 1990’s, following the 2000 vintage, and definitely after the 2004 vintage, Palmer has been remarkably consistent and continue making some of the best wines in their, distinguished history as well! That being said, there are other Classified Growths in Margaux that would be demoted or declassified, should another classification take place. Interestingly, the Margaux appellation is probably home to the widest array of obscure, 1855 Classified Growths as well.
History of Margaux: The Margaux appellation was the first Bordeaux area cultivated for vineyards. There is evidence that the Romans planted grapes in the area almost 2,000 years ago. The famed Roman poet Ausonious poetically called the region Marojallia, which is where the winery known as Marojallia, found its name. Skipping ahead close to 1700 years, Margaux had already earned its well deserved reputation for producing great wine. That reputation caused Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States to visit different chateaux in the region, including Chateau Margaux.
Margaux wine and food pairings: The wines of Margaux are easy to pair with a wide array of different foods and cooking techniques. One of the most natural wine and food combinations is Margaux with lamb. Of course Margaux pairs equally well with almost any grilled, braised or roasted meat ranging from beef, veal, pork, duck, pigeon, squab and game. Margaux wines are perfect with roasted chicken, mushrooms, truffles or other earthy dishes. Fish works well with the wines of Margaux, depending on how the fish was prepared and sauced. Margaux and cheese is also a natural wine and food pairing.
The taste, character and style of Margaux wine: Due to its massive size and diverse array of soils, the wines of Margaux are quite varied. While not the most concentrated, powerful or tannic wines of Bordeaux, they can be the most elegant, sensuous, refined and perfumed. With scents of flowers, especially violets and lilacs, the wines also offer when mature; scents of truffle, cigar box, earth, cherry, plum and tobacco. While the levels of concentration, ripeness and depth vary widely, depending on the terroir and desire of the winemaker, the tannins can display unmatched levels of elegance. However, don’t let that the softness fool you into thinking the wines do not age well. The best Margaux wines can age gracefully for several decades.
The Top Ten Facts you need to know about Margaux
#1 Margaux is the warmest, major appellation in the Left Bank, thus it is almost always the first to harvest.
#2 Margaux is considered to be the first appellation planted for vines by the ancient Romans.
#3 The Margaux appellation has the largest concentration chateaux classified in 1855 with 21 classed growths in total.
#4 Margaux is the only major appellation with a chateau named after the region, Chateau Margaux.
#6 Margaux wines are among the most floral in all of Bordeaux. Tasters often find aromas of violets in wines from the Margaux appellation.
#7 The Margaux appellation is the home of 5, Second Growth chateaux, more than any other appellation.
#8 Margaux with 1,355 hectares under vine is the second largest, major appellation in the Medoc.
#9 Margaux has the most diverse array of terroir and soil types in Bordeaux ranging from large deposits of gravel, limestone with pebbles, stones and rocks to clay.
The Classification of Margaux: With 1,355 hectares under vine, the appellation is just slightly smaller than St. Estephe, making it the second largest, major appellation in the Medoc. Today, close to 80 different chateaux maintain vineyards in the appellation. In total, close to 600,000 cases of wine are produced in the Margaux appellation each year.
The Margaux appellation is famous for a multitude of reasons. Maybe it is has something to do with knowing a total of 21 chateaux were included in the original 1855 classification. That is more than any other Bordeaux appellation. While Chateau Margaux deservedly rules the appellation as it is a wine of true, First growth quality, the Margaux region is rich in 1855 Classified Growths. The commune features: 1 First Growth, 5 Second Growths, 10 Third Growths, 4 Fourth Growths, 2 Fifth Growths and an array of good quality, Cru Bourgeois chateaux. 20 Cru Bourgeois classified growths come from the Margaux appellation. There are a few of those estates that in any serious reclassification could be classed as a Fifth Growth today. Perhaps Chateau Labegorce is the leading estate in this category today. In total, slightly more than 80 producers make wine in the Margaux appellation.
The Margaux appellation is the only Bordeaux region, where the most famous chateau is named after the appellation; Chateau Margaux. The sight of perhaps the most famous estate in all of Bordeaux and its stunning portico reminds every wine lover of the Bordeaux wine region. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States liked the elegant, refined wines of Chateau Margaux so much, that during his visit to the famous chateau, Thomas Jefferson ordered several cases of the 1784! The Left Bank appellation is the home to 5 unique communes; Margaux, Soussans, Arsac, Labarde and Cantenac.
The terroir and soil of Margaux: The terroir of Margaux is perhaps the most diverse of any of the major Bordeaux appellations due to its size. Because of its size, the terroir naturally varies from chateau to chateau. Like every appellation, the best wines are most often made from the best terroir, which in Margaux, is the terroir with the deep gravel deposits on the elevations and hillsides. Chateau Margaux has the best part of its vines planted in deep gravel soils. In the Margaux appellation, the terroir features soils with large deposits of gravel, limestone with pebbles, stones, rocks, white gravel and only a minor amount of clay in the vineyards. The gravel is paramount to helping determine the quality of the wines in Margaux. The gravel helps to provide natural drainage, reflect sunlight, retain heat and force the vines to dig deep into the soils. Of course there are exceptions to every rule and some estates do have more clay content in their terroir than others in the Margaux appellation. Those chateaux with heavier clay deposits plant more Merlot in their vineyards. Because the soils in the Margaux region are often thin and cannot easily hold water, the vines are forced to dig deep into the soil for nourishment.
The comparative lack of depth in the terroir of Margaux allows the soils to heat up faster. In turn, this transfer of heat from the soils to the vines help the grapes mature before the other Bordeaux appellations in the Medoc. The comparative lack of depth in part of the Margaux appellation, coupled with its geographical location as the most southern region in the Left Bank, makes it the warmest area in the Medoc. This has the effect of making Margaux the first appellation in the Left Bank to be picked most of the time.
Those thin soils are also why most of the estates in the Margaux appellation do not do so well in the very dry, drought, heat struck vintages. That is because the soils do not always maintain the ability to retain as much water as the vines need. On the other hand, that specific terroir is what gives Margaux wines their elegance and intense, beautiful, floral character, which is often compared to violets. To get an idea on how the soil and terroir of Margaux compares to the other important appellations in Bordeaux; The terroir and soil of Bordeaux
The grapes of Margaux: The main grapes planted in the Margaux region are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. While some Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and even Carmenere are planted here as well, they are not the stars of the show. Dry white Bordeaux wines are also made by some Margaux chateau owners. The white wines are a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semilion. The grapes are grown outside the Margaux appellation which means the wines are not allowed to be sold as from Margaux. The wines are sold as generic Bordeaux Blanc wines.
The best vintages for Margaux wines. The top vintages for Margaux are: 1945, 1953, 1959, 1961, 1983, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2009 and 2010. However, for Margaux, it’s more complicated. For example, in most of the older vintages, you had very few estates making great wine. In fact, in some of those years, you might only find one estate that made a great wine, which makes buying wine from 1961 or 1990, two years which should be great, fraught with potential disaster for buyers that do not know which chateau made the great wine. Today, that is not the case as the majority of chateau in Margaux are making truly stunning wines. If you are interested in reading more detailed information on other vintages for Margaux and all the top Bordeaux appellations, please read: Bordeaux Year to Year Detailed Vintage Reports 1900 to Today
AOC Law and Rules for the Margaux appellation. What does it take to be a wine from Margaux? According to the decree of November 14, 1936, the wines of Margaux must meet precise production conditions: grape varieties, minimum sugar content, alcoholic strength 10.5% and limited yields. All vineyards must be located within the boundaries of the Margaux appellation, which include the following 5 communes; Margaux, Soussans, Arsac, Labarde and Cantenac. The wines are subject to a blind tasting. It’s also important to note that every quality produce in the region makes wine well above the minimum standard set by AOC law.
Interestingly, a few estates in the Margaux appellation produce a small amount of white Bordeaux wine. While not common, white Bordeaux wine has been produced in the appellation for well over 100 years. Chateau Margaux is the most famous of those producers making white wine. Pavillon Blanc, the white wine of Chateau Margaux is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Other estates, for example, Prieure Lichine and Cantenac Brown also blend in small amounts of Semillon and others might add Muscadelle. Chateau Palmer produces very small amounts of white wine from completely different grape varietals. White Bordeaux wine from Margaux is sold as a generic Bordeaux. However, Chateau du Tertre produces a unique blend from white grapes that are not allowed in the appellation, which is sold as a Vin de France.