2010 Chateau Margaux, 2009 Chateau Margaux and 1996 Chateau Margaux with Paul Pontallier includes tasting notes, reviews and ratings along with a conversation on the current state of affairs at Chateau Margaux.
A visit to Chateau Margaux is always special. With perhaps the most famous, as well as the most beautiful promenade not just in the Margaux appellations, but in the entire Bordeaux wine region. Simply walking in that direction for the first tasting of the day let’s you know you’re in for something special. Especially since I was going to taste Chateau Margaux in its youth along with some bottles with age as well.
Paul Pontallier is the person many people associate with Chateau Margaux . Since 1983, he’s been involved with the property. Pontallier is charming, articulate, warm and refined. Perhaps over the years, he’s taken on some of the qualities the estate’s wines are known for, except for the violets in the aromatics, of course.
Chateau Margaux is under construction at the moment. Work is taking place to build new labeling facilities as well as on new buildings for shipping and storage. The estate is also constructing designated areas to allow Pavillon Blanc, the estates white wine to be produced. According to Pontallier, a new, state of the art area for experimental techniques is also being constructed. This will allow for more on-going experiments with biodynamic, biological and vinification techniques.
The estate continues their interest in bottling wines in screw caps. Screw capped bottles of Chateau Margaux or Pavillon rouge are not commercially available. Aware of the problem that far too many wines are ruined by faulty corks, they have been experimenting with this since 2002. Results show that screw capped wines develop at a slower pace than wines sealed with corks. This is due to less oxygen entering the bottle. But Paul said the results also show, “The bottles sealed with screw caps are not developing the same levels of complexity.”
2010 Margaux – Deep purple in color, the wine offers a pungent nose of violets, cassis, smoke, oak, tobacco, earth and fresh picked blackberries. This rich, concentrated, velvet drenched, lush, opulent wine coats your palate with layers of pure silk. The long, precise finish is filled with crème de cassis, boysenberry and plums. 98-100 Pts
2010 Margaux Pavillon Rouge – With a perfume filled with roses, chocolate, blackberry and licorice, the wine feels sauvé in texture. This round, fresh, cassis and black cherry filled wine offers a lot of Margaux character and charm. 92-94 Pts
2009 Margaux – Complicated aromatics of sandalwood, spice, earth, boysenberry, tobacco, smoke and dark berries require little effort to be discovered. On the palate, this opulent, sexy, rich, supple wine feels like pure silk as it drapes over your palate. Fresh, pure and intense, this majestic Bordeaux wine expands on your palate for close to sixty seconds! The wine will be bottled in August. 99 Pts
2007 Margaux – Light ruby in color, with a mature nose of spice, flowers and blackberries, this soft, refined, charming wine is already drinking well. The wine ends with a supple, cassis and black cherry filled finish. Give it 2-3 more years to gain additional layers of complexity. 93 Pts
1996 Margaux – Showing deep ruby with bricking at the edges on the color, this stunning Chateau Margaux is filled with complex aromas of Cuban cigars, truffles, flowers, spice, ash, blackberries, tobacco, cassis, stone and fennel. In the mouth, the wine gushes over your palate with sensations of sweet crème de cassis, tobacco and roasted cherries. The silk and powerful finesse finish remains on your palate for over 60 seconds. This is already starting to show well at 15 years of age. This special Bordeaux wine has the fruit and structure needed to continue developing for at least another 20-30 or 40 years! 98 Pts