The 2019 Margaux vintage is very good, but not great. I say that because while there are some great wines, you need to remember that Margaux is such a large appellation, with a wide variety of terroirs that varied in their ability to cope with the dry conditions found in 2019. At their best, 2019 Margaux wines are sublime.
The best wines of the vintage are not reliant on concentration. Instead, they focus on elegance, finesse and charm. These are classic wines, but classic in a positive way. 2019 Margaux wines are extremely aromatic. You find loads of floral scents, along with silky tannins and sexy, sensuous textures. Plus the best wines deliver a gorgeous sense of purity in the fruits.
The 2019 Margaux appellation on the whole shared much of the same growing conditions as experienced by the other appellations in the Medoc.
The vintage in the Left Bank got off to a slow start with April, May and June having problems, due to a lack of sun and too much rain.
Flowering began at the end of May. June did not look as though it was going to help the growing season as much of the month was cool and rainy. By the start of the summer, (late June) things began turning around and the grapes enjoyed heat, dry conditions, sunshine and cool nights.
Small amounts of precipitation in late July, August and again in September, fortunately arrived at the perfect moment, allowing the grapes to achieve phenolic ripeness. The final piece of the puzzle came through when harvesting took place under very good conditions.
A bit about the 2019 Margaux samples and the process of how they were received and tasted. The majority of 2019 Margaux wines were shipped overnight. Most of the 2019 Bordeaux arrived in 2-3 days’ time. Although a few producers managed to ship true overnight, arriving the next day! Almost every wine was cool to the touch on arrival.
When the wines arrived here, they were quickly placed in a wine cellar overnight to relax and cool to cellar temperatures. The following day, the bottles were opened and poured into glasses roughly 15 minutes prior to tasting. All the wines were tasted in the same size Riedel glasses. Wines were served in flights of 3-4 wines from the same appellation.
I was able to taste most of the 2019 Margaux wines I usually taste each year. Sadly, as you can see, Chateau Palmer, Chateau Rauzan Segla and Chateau Malescot St. Exupery did not send samples. Thomas, Nicolas and Jean-Luc, if you are reading, I am still ready to taste! I also missed a few Cru Bourgeois from the appellation I normally taste, but I was able to sample a few vineyards I have not tasted before.
The following 2019 Margaux wines were tasted in my home office from mid-may until early June in non-blind conditions.
2019 dArsac – The wine is medium-bodied, forward and fruity with a green olive, herb and bright, crunchy red berry tinged finish. 84-86 Pts
2019 Brane Cantenac – Brane Cantenac has been on a hot streak since 2015 and 2019 clearly continues their streak. Flowers, tobacco leaf, herbs and red pit fruits with a closing hint of blackberry create the beautiful perfume. On the palate the wine is sensual, fresh, rich and vivid, with an array of dark red fruits, that really stay with you. This is a gorgeous vintage for Brane Cantenac. 95-97 Pts
2019 Brane Cantenac was released at 39 Euros ex-negociant, and was discounted 21% from 2018.
2019 Le Baron de Brane – Medium-bodied, elegant, soft, fresh and juicy, with loads of ripe, sweet, plums, cherries, herbs and thyme on the nose and palate. The wine is forward, silky and ready for prime time drinking on release while waiting for the Grand Vin to come around. 90-92 Pts
2019 Cantenac Brown – Situated on the corner of power and roundness, you find layers of juicy, ripe, lusciously textured, fresh fruits, dark chocolate, flowers, smoke and spice. The tannins are there, polished and ripe, giving you density and structure, providing the ability age and evolve for at least 2 decades. 93-95 Pts
2019 Cantenac Brown was offered at 30 Euros, 22% less than their 2018.
2019 AltO de Cantenac Brown – Fresh, bright, fruity and focused on its crisp, yellow fruit and green apple character on the nose and palate. Nice lift and creamy textures here. 91 Pts
2019 Charmant – Simple, forward, correct, slightly lean, forward wine that will be easy to drink on release and over the next 7 -9 years. 84-86 Pts
2019 Confidence de Margaux – Leafy forest notes, cedar and cassis on the nose, with a medium-bodied, soft, fresh, forward, simple, fruity, earthy red berry finish. You should be able to enjoy this not long after it is released. 86-88 Pts
2019 Le Coteau – Medium-bodied, bright and fresh, with a juicy core of red fruits, oak, tobacco, and lifted, energetic cherries and red berries in the finish. 88-90 Pts
2019 Dauzac – Deep in color, the wine is medium-bodied, silky and finesse driven. The ripe fruit struts all over the place with its energetic presence. More than fruit, you also enjoy its flowery charm before arriving at the spicy, sensuous, refined, lengthy finish. The wine is a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot aging in 67% new, French oak barrels. 93-95 Pts
2019 La Bastide Dauzac – Round, juicy, bright and fresh, with layers of sweet, ripe, delicious, crisp yet soft, pretty red fruits on the nose and palate. You can drink this on release while waiting for the Grand Vin to come around. This is an outstanding second wine. 88-90 Pts
2019 Desmirail – Medium-bodied, with a floral edge, the wine, with its ripe black and red fruits, coupled with their citrus accent on the palate, is soft, bright, elegant and fresh. 89-91 Pts
2019 Deyrem Valentin – Focused on its freshness and refined shape, along with a sweetness and purity in the fruits, the wine is a medium-bodied, forward, silky expression of the Margaux appellation that can be enjoyed with a minimum of cellaring. 90-92 Pts
2019 la Fortune – Medium-bodied, with black raspberries, smoke and wild cherries on the nose, the wine is soft, silky, forward and as easy to like as it is to drink. The finish delivers cocoa powder and fresh, red fruits. 89-91 Pts
2019 Giscours – Flowers, black, red and blue fruits, wet earth, spice and smoke produce the attention-grabbing perfume. Pure silk and velvet in texture, the wine has richness and depth, while focusing on its purity and freshness. The long finish, with its fabulous lift and sweetness in the fruit keeps on going, long after the wine has left the glass. The wine blends 65% Cabernet Sauvignon with 35% Merlot, 13.9% alcohol. Picking took place September 11 – October 12, making this the longest harvest in the history of Giscours. This is the best vintage produced in the long history of Chateau Giscours. 95-97 Pts
I enjoyed a long, thoughtful and enjoyable Zoom session with Alexander van Beek, who could not have been happier with the vintage. This was the first year with Thomas Duclos as their consultant, which clearly made a difference.
2019 Haut-Breton Larigaudiere – Medium-bodied, with smoke, espresso and black fruits on the nose, the wine is soft, forward, round and fruity with a shot of espresso in the finish. 87-89 Pts
2019 dIssan – Gentle aromas of flowers, wet earth, tobacco, espresso and red fruits permeate the nose. Elegant and refined in character, the wine falls gently over your palate with warm tones of ripe, sweet, fresh plums, blackberries, spice and freshness, so you discover lift, energy, length and purity. This will age and evolve for at least 2-3 decades. The wine was produced from a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. The Grand Vin was produced from only 47% of the harvest. 94-96 Pts
Catching up with Emmanuel Cruse is always a pleasure. During our Zoom session, we focused on what took place at Chateau d’Issan as well as Chateau Pedesclaux in Pauillac and Chateau Lilian Ladouys in St. Estephe.
2019 Kirwan – Flowers and sweet cherries with licorice and coffee notes on the nose start off nicely. On the palate, the wine is soft, silky, medium-bodied and fresh with a fresh, juicy, dark cherry and cassis finish. 90-92 Pts
2019 La Tour de Mons – Medium-bodied, forward and juicy, with a great sense of purity and freshness in the fruits, bringing you length, lift, loads of sweet, ripe red pit fruits in the finish. The first vintage under the new owners, the Perrado family, the wine is already showing improvement. 91-93 Pts
2019 Labegorce – Wet earth, spice, tobacco leaf, oak, smoke, black and red fruits are the first things one notices, but not the last. The wine is rich, refined, elegant and fresh. The fruit is ripe, pure and vibrant. The energy, length and delicious, ripe, sweet fruit and spice in the finish is a treat. Today, it is hard to find a better wine for the money in the ever-increasingly expensive Margaux appellation. The wine is a blend of 45% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot that reached 14 alcohol. The wine is aging in 40% new, French oak. 92-94 Pts
2019 Lascombes – With a nose that starts off with oak, smoke, black fruit, herbs and coffee bean, the next step is the round, lush, opulent, juicy fruits coating your palate. Avoirdupois in nature, the chocolate covered fruits, licorice and smoky oak in the finish stay with you. The wine is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot reaching 14.5% alcohol. 91-93 Pts
2019 Chateau Margaux – Dark garnet with purple accents in the hue tells you the wine going to be concentrated. The nose, with its showy aromatic display of lilacs, roses, herbs, cigar box, blackberries, dark red pit fruits, gun powder and violets informs you the wine is complex. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, silky, and seductive. It starts off discreetly before moving to its sexy side. The layers of sweet, fresh, vibrant, black and red fruit come on strong and keep on going long after the wine has left the glass. The wine blends 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot, reaching 13.9% alcohol. The Grand Vin was produced using only 37% of the harvest. Picking took place September 18 – October 10, making this a fairly leisurely harvest. 98-100 Pts
The extensive Zoom session with Philippe Bascules allowed me to gain a better understanding of what took place with Chateau Margaux and Pavillon Rouge. Philippe felt the vintage at Margaux reminded him of 2009, and with the sensuous quality of the wine, I clearly see his point.
2019 Chateau Margaux was the last of the 1855 First Growth wines to be released. The wine was priced at Margaux 2019 was released at 330 Euros per bottle, ex-negociant, which was 19% less than the 2018 originally sold for.
2019 Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux – Flowers, cherries and plums are the first things you notice before you get into all that silky, elegant, refined layers of ripe red, sweet, lifted fruits. Medium-bodied, elegant, luscious and fresh, this is a gorgeous Pavillon Rouge that is a scaled-down version of Chateau Margaux. The wine blends 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, reaching 14.2% alcohol. 93-95 Pts
2019 Marojallia – Medium/full-bodied, round, and soft, the oak still shows on the nose and palate. The tannins are ripe, the texture is round, rich and supple, delivering a blast of sweet cherries and coffee bean in the polished finish. This modern styled Margaux was produced from a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot. 90-92 Pts
2019 Clos Margalaine – Soft, round and medium-bodied, the wine is forward with a core of red fruits, smoke, vanilla and coffee bean in the easy-drinking finish. 88-90 Pts
2019 Marquis dAlesme – Flowers, tobacco leaf, smoke, licorice, wet earth and fresh red fruits. The wine blends 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot reaching 14% alcohol and is aging in 50% new French oak barrels. 93-95 Pts
2019 Marquis de Terme – Violets and spice, coupled with dark chocolate and black juicy plums, bring you to a silky, sexy, soft and polished center. From there, the medium-bodied wine on the palate serves up all its layers of ripe, sweet, sensuously textured fruits. The wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot. 93-95 Pts
2019 Paveil de Luze – With good color, the wine is medium-bodied and already showing off its nose of espresso, earth, smoke, spice and red fruits. On the palate, one finds soft, silky, fresh, juicy fruits, oak, blackberries and lift. The wine is long, fresh and clean in the red berry and herb filled endnote. 90-92 Pts
2019 Paveil de Luze Blanc – Fresh, bright, juicy and packed with lifted citrus, green apple, vanilla, flowers and pomelo on the nose and palate. The wine has a zesty, crisp personality that can be enjoyed on release. 90 Pts
2019 Prieure-Lichine – Quite perfumed, with flowers, licorice, smoke, espresso and fresh red fruits on the nose. The wine is supple in texture, full-bodied, rich, round and lush, with polished tannins and layers of sweet, red and black fruits with lift in the finish. This will age quite nicely. 92-94 Pts
2019 Siran – The overwhelming scent of violets is the first thing you notice. From there, touches of smoky espresso, sweet cherries and black pit fruits come alive. Silky and polished on the palate, the finish delivers loads of sweet, lush, ripe fruits with elegance and purity. 91-93 Pts
2019 du Tertre – Fresh, elegant, medium-bodied, graceful style of Margaux here. The fruit is silky and sweet, with round, lush tannins and a finish of ripe, juicy red fruits, blackberry and a hint of blueberry. This gem is going to be delicious in its youth, and it will age well too! From a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot Franc, 13% Cabernet Franc and 6% Petit Verdot, reaching 13.4%. The harvest took place September 27 until October 12. 91-93 Pts
2019 Tertre Blanc – Flower and honeysuckle aromatics with pomelo, mango, white peach and banana notes are just great here. On the palate, the wine is juicy, creamy and lifted. It is the combination of ripe fruits, cracked pepper, sweetness and blazing acidity that make everything work here. The unique blend is made from 30% Gros Manseng, 28% Chardonnay, 27% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Viognier. The wine was vinified in stainless steel and barrel and aged in 100% new, French oak barrels. 92 Pts