2016 Margaux Tasting Notes, Ratings for all the best wines to buy



Since 2014, the Margaux appellation has been locked into a see-saw battle with St. Estephe, its neighbor to the far north, for the top spot, in the high-end Bordeaux sweepstakes. Margaux, which clearly won the prize in 2015 was not quite as lucky this year. While 2016 Margaux is not at that same level of quality, there are several stunning 2016 Margaux wines. Generally speaking, and we all know how far generalities get you, in many cases, 2016 Margaux differs more as a matter of style with 2015, than overall quality. While 2015 produced wines of opulence and sensuality, 2016 Margaux is focused on precision, purity and freshness. Alcohol levels are lower, and acidities are higher with 2016 Margaux as well. What is important to note with 2016 Margaux is that you find great wines at all levels from the top 1855 Classified Growths to Cru Bourgeois growers as well.

Margaux is a large appellation in the Medoc, with 1,355 hectares under vine. The size of the Left Bank region goes hand in hand with a naturally diverse array of terroirs. The diversity of soils perforce leads to a lack of homogeneity in the wines. The vineyards with the terroir able to drain the water from the torrential rains, making the region the wettest in decades. We’re talking 600-700 mm of water! The terroir was required to handle double duty as the almost, 6 months of rain was followed by one of the longest, dry periods with no rain seen in the region in decades! Add to that, the vintage was running quite late, and it’s easy to see what the growers and vineyards were up against. Margaux, which has a slightly, warmer, micro-climate usually competes their harvest a few days earlier than its neighbors to the north. But that was not always the case with 2016 Margaux as some growers did not finish picking until October 18, making this one of the longest harvests in the history of the Margaux appellation. For details on the growing season and harvest report: 2016 Bordeaux Harvest and Growing Season Report

This is the fourth in a series of reports that cover the best 600 wines from the 2016 Bordeaux vintage. It remains my goal to publish a new article per day, covering all the different appellations. Tomorrow we’ll cover the Pauillac appellation, if all goes well.

2016 Margaux Tasting Notes, Ratings

2016 Angludet – Medium-bodied with firm tannins, this wine opens with notes of blackberry, cassis and cherry pipe tobacco. You’ll also find that same sensation on the palate, when the cherry tobacco reappears with a pinch of herbs. 88 – 89 Pts

2016 dArsac – Medium-bodied, open with polish to the texture, this wine is fruity and fresh — though a bit short. 87 – 89 Pts

2016 Bellevue de Tayac – Medium-bodied, forward with softness to the tannins, you’ll find ripe, light, red fruits, flowers, spice and a touch of cherry to round things out. This is not a wine to age; it will be best in its youth. 86 – 88 Pts

2016 Blason d’Issan – Opening with hints of coffee bean, earth and plum, this wine is medium-bodied, fresh and approachable with a sweet, vibrant cherry-filled style. This will drink well on release. 87 – 89 Pts

2016 Boyd Cantenac – Fresh with dark red berries, smoke, earth and forest floor notes, this wine has firm tannins, which need at least five years to further soften and develop. 90 – 92 Pts

2016 Brane Cantenac – Garnet in color, the wine begins with a dominant spray of flowers followed by the aroma of wet earth, spice box, mint, caramel, espresso and blackberry. Elegant but not light, this is supple, fresh, balanced and energetic with crisp, red berries, easy yet vibrant tannins and spicy notes in the finish. Blending 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Carmenere, this wine reached 13.3% with a pH of 3.69. The Grand Vin represents 40% of the harvest and the picking took place from September 22 to October 17, save for the Carmenere, which was harvested on October 20. 94 – 96 Pts


2016 Cantenac Brown – A fertile violet-ruby in color with a complex array of scents ranging from espresso, violets, truffle, cassis and dark chocolate, the wine is fresh, long and energetic with a lot of lift in the endnote. Balanced and classic with loads of fresh boysenberry and black cherry, this is quite intense and succulent. From 68% Cabernet Sauvignon and 32% Merlot, this wine reached 13.3% alcohol with a pH of 3.68 and is aging in 60% new, French oak barrels. The harvest took place from September 23 to October 19. Only 49% of the harvest was used in the Grand Vin. 93 – 95 Pts

2016 AltO de Cantenac Brown – Green apples, lime and lemon sensations are easy to discover. Fresh, forward and with a touch of honey to sweeten and fatten things up in the finish. 90 Pts

2016 Dauzac – Medium-bodied, fresh, soft-textured wine with nectarous fruits, earth and spice. Give this a few years to soften before you enjoy the juicy fruit finish. 89 – 91 Pts

2016 Desmirail – Medium-bodied and fresh with a plummy quality, this wine is focused on red fruits and sweet-smelling earth. Bright and a little strict, give this a few years to come around and soften. 89 – 91 Pts

2016 Deyrem Valentin – Floral and tobacco with zesty, sugared, dark red berries all over the place, this wine has softness, polished tannins and an ample amount of silky plum notes in the finish. Value hunters seeking a wine from Margaux should be all over this one. 90 – 92 Pts

2016 Durfort Vivens – What a difference a vintage makes! Showing deep color with lush, supple textures, flesh and finesse, the wine is wrought with sweet, polished, ready berries, freshness, length, complexity and depth. Produced from a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc, this is best wine I’ve ever tasted from Durfort Vivens! 91 – 93 Pts

2016 Ferriere – Medium-bodied and floral in character, the wine is correct with lean, spicy fruits though it lacks in complexity. 87 – 89 Pts

2016 Giscours – Flowers garnished with truffles, tobacco, spicy cassis and dark red fruits pop on the nose. In the mouth, this is all silk and purity with freshness and length. This wine was produced from a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon and 19% Merlot. This is the highest percentage of Cabernet used in the blend in the history of the estate. The wine reached 13.5% alcohol with a 3.6 pH. The picking took place from September 26 to October 5, while the Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested from October 5 to October 20. 94 – 96 Pts

2016 dIssan – Dark in color with strong floral aromatics that escalate with smoke, espresso, licorice, dark cherry and cassis, this wine is full-bodied, plush, opulent and richly textured with loads of sweet, pure, dark red fruits. From a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon and 36% Merlot, this wine reached 13.24% alcohol with a pH of 3.71. Now aging in 50% new, French oak barrels, it represents just 45% of the harvest, which took place from September 29 to October 19. 94 – 96 Pts

2016 Clos du Jaugueyron Margaux – Floral, with fresh red fruits, earth and black cherry, with a liberal dose of new oak, the wine is medium bodied, round, fresh and fruity with notes or earth, cocoa and black cherry in the finish. 89 – 91 Pts

2016 Kirwan – Lilies, oak, smoke and black cherry form the character of this medium-bodied wine. With round polish to the tannins, this is the first vintage produced in the new cellars of Kirwan and it should be ready to drink after a few years of aging. 90 – 92 Pts

2016 La Tour de Mons – Fresh, juicy cassis, earth and floral notes define the personality of this medium-bodied wine. Soft with polished black cherries and an espresso finish, this needs just a year or two of cellaring before reaching its full potential. 90 – 92 Pts

2016 Labegorce – Floral, black raspberry and just the right amount of dark chocolate on the nose, this wine is deeply colored with ripe, dark cherries, full body and a dusty, fruit filled finish. This could be the best vintage yet for Labegorce, as it offers length, volume and freshness. Made from a blend of 52% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.5% alcohol with a pH of 3.7 and is being aged in 50% new, French oak barrels. 91 – 93 Pts

2016 Lascombes – With a good depth of color, the black and deep red fruits are aided by smoke, licorice and fresh brewed espresso. Fleshy and lush, the finish shows a lot of toasty oak, that masks the fruit to some degree. The wine was made from a blend of 50% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot. 90 – 92 Pts

2016 LAura de Cambon – Dark in color with silky tannins, soft, polished fruit and layers of ripe, sweet, fresh, dark cherries, cassis and juicy, spicy plums. 91 – 93 Pts

2016 Malescot St. Exupery – Blackberry liqueur, boysenberry, espresso bean and dark chocolate over black cherry open up the nose. Fat, titillating, deep and lavish, this wine is ambrosial, powerful and mouth filling. The finish is fresh and packed with the ripest, sweetest, juiciest, dark red fruits. Produced from a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 37% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.2% alcohol with a pH of 3.72. The Grand Vin represents 72% of the harvest, which took place October 1 to October 25. 94 – 96 Pts

2016 Chateau Margaux – Deep ruby with purple accents of color around the rim of the glass, violets, lilacs and roses are the first scents you notice before moving to the red and black plums, tobacco and a hint of licorice in the bouquet. Light on its feet but don’t let that fool you, it’s impossible not to feel the purity and elegance. The wine displays an incredible clarity of fruit with a finish that dawdles on your palate, moving from red fruit to black fruit and back to sweet, red berries again. The finish has an incredibly supple, refined quality that leaves you yearning for another sip. It was early in the morning and I can assure you, I finished my glass without spitting a drop! The wine was made from a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot reaching 13% alcohol with a pH of 3.6. Yields were high, but it’s important to note, the Grand Vin represents only 28% of the harvest, which took place September 23 to October 18 — one of the longest harvests in the estate’s storied history. 96 – 98 Pts

2016 Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux – Ruby red in color, this is what Japan must smell like when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. Followed by an array of sweet plum and earthy notes, this medium-bodied wine is elegant and sophisticated with sweet, fresh red berries in the finish. Balance, finesse, refinement is its mantra. The wine was produced from a blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot, reaching 13% Alcohol with pH of 3.6. Of the harvest, 26% was used for Pavillon Rouge du Margaux. 93 – 95 Pts

2016 Marojallia – Truffle, oak, licorice and black fruits with soft, polished, rich textures, sweetness and length, this wine was made from a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. 92 – 94 Pts

2016 Marquis dAlesme – Blending 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc produced a deeply colored wine. The bouquet evokes wet earth, truffle, licorice, dark red fruits and flowers. Sweet boysenberry and cherry fruits, full body and a long, vibrant finish with polished, ripe tannins are what you’ll find here. The wine reached 14% alcohol with a pH of 3.75 and is aging in 60% new, French oak barrels. 92 – 94 Pts

2016 Marquis de Terme – Deep in color, flowers, black raspberries, licorice and smoke are easy to find. Lush, silky, fresh and polished, this is quite a nice style of wine. 92 – 94 Pts

2016 Monbrison – A medium-bodied, lean, straight ahead wine in a classic, reserved style. 86 – 88 Pts


2016 Palmer – A richly-colored, attention-seeker whose nose pops with truffle, tobacco, black cherries, cigar box, plum and cocoa. Silky, velour textures and polished tannins embrace juicy, sweet, fresh, pure plums and a finish that builds as it lingers. This sublime wine was produced from a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, reaching 13.1% alcohol with a pH of 3.75. Currently being aged in 65% new, French oak barrels, the wine represents 50% of the harvest, which took place between October 3 and October 18. This is the third vintage that was farmed using 100% biodynamic farming techniques, allowing Palmer to become fully certified. 97 – 98 Pts

2016 Alter Ego dePalmer – Fresh-picked flowers, espresso and hints of dark chocolate-covered black cherries come right out with ease in this elegant, refined wine. Expect bright, sweet fruits with lift, length and soft tannins. Produced from a blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot and 12% Petit Verdot, this wine reached 13% alcohol with a pH of 3.65. The harvest took place October 3 to October 18. 93 – 95 Pts

2016 Paveil de Luze – This wine is floral in character, medium-bodied with elegance, silky tannins, ripe, fresh fruits and an earthy, sweet, pit fruit finish. 89 – 91 Pts

2016 Pouget – A fresh, crisp, medium-bodied wine with a plummy character and an emphasis on bright, red fruits, earth and tobacco. 89 – 91 Pts

2016 Prieure-Lichine – This deeply colored wine with its polished, silky tannins and fleshy, dark red fruit, presents you with opulence and charm. 92 – 94 Pts

2016 Rauzan-Gassies – Medium-bodied and floral with ripe fruits and a lean character, this wine is produced in an old school, traditional style. 87 – 89 Pts


2016 Rauzan Segla – Deep in color with violets and licorice that take no effort to find, this wine is luxurious and concentrated and feels like ripe black fruits polished with velvet. There is a sweetness combined with a quintessence of fruit that will send your mind to Bordeaux no matter where you take your first sip. The wine was produced from blending 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot, reaching 13.5% alcohol with a pH of 3.6 and is aged in 60% new, French oak barrels for 18 months before bottling. The harvest took place from September 20 to October 4 for the Merlot and from October 10 to October 15 for the Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine represents only 50% of the harvest. 96 – 98 Pts

2016 Segla – Floral scents with sweet, dark berries in a forward, open, medium-bodied style that is both easy to like and understand. Gentle elegance that will be ready to drink as soon at it hits the stores. Segla is not sold En Primeur but this is one of the top values from all of Margaux. 88 – 90 Pts

2016 Siran – Medium-bodied, round and open, this wine delivers tobacco, licorice and dark, red pit fruit both in the nose and on the palate, with a softly textured, elegant finish. The wine was produced from blending 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 44% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. 91 – 93 Pts

2016 du Tertre – Flowers, cherries, smoke, thyme, cassis and silky fruits all over the place in this medium-bodied, fresh, sophisticated wine. From a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot Franc, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, the wine reached 13.2% alcohol with a pH of 3.7. The Merlot was harvested from September 27 until October 10, the Cabernet Sauvignon from October 15 to October 19 and the Cabernet Franc from October 10 to October 13. The Petit Verdot was harvested in one day, October 15. 91 – 93 Pts

2016 du Tertre Blanc – Juicy, citrus, honeydew, flowers, vanilla and spice with tropical fruit accents get the wine going. Round, sweet and with some flesh, the fresh, citrus in the end, keeps it refreshing. The wine is vinified in stainless steel tanks and barrel aged in 100% new, French oak. The wine comes from a unique blend of 25% Chardonnay 25% Gros Manseng, 25% Viognier and 25% Sauvignon Blanc.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share. Stay tuned because we’ll be publishing our notes on 2016 Pauillac tomorrow.


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