2021 Margaux Barrel Tasting Notes, Scores with an Analysis of the Vintage


Like the entire region of Bordeaux, the Margaux 2021 vintage got off to a rough. The year was shaped by difficulties and challenges. First, the 2021 Margaux vintage was struck by below-freezing temperatures, on April 7 and April 8. Depending on the vineyard, there were various losses of crops due to the icy, unbearably cold nights.

The damage to the Merlot was due to their precocious development. If the frost wasn’t enough to deal with, vignerons were also forced to handle heavy periods of rain, downy mildew, uneven flowering, and a lack of sunshine. For all those reasons, 2021 Margaux is truly a winemaker’s vintage.

But not everything was bleak for 2021 Margaux. All over the Left Bank, by the end of August, the vintage woke up and so did the growers from what seemed to be a nightmare. Temperatures began rising, and for the first time during the growing season, there was ample sun to help the grapes ripen. Once again, Bordeaux was saved by the late arrival of an Indian Summer. Relatively speaking, except for rainy periods in September, September, 8-9, 17-19, (the heaviest rainy period), and a few very light showers on September 24-25, things were beginning to much better for the 2021 Margaux vintage.

Picking began in the middle to the end of September for the Merlot, finishing around the middle of October for the Cabernets and the Petit Verdot, not just in Margaux, but all over the Medoc. If you want to read a detailed report of the growing season and harvest for the Left Bank and the Right Bank: 2021 Bordeaux Growing Season and Harvest Report

2021 Margaux Appellation Wines

There are some very strong 2021 Margaux wines. But, due to the large size of the appellation, which of course features a wide and diverse array of terroirs, some of which were able to handle the difficulties of the vintage better than others, across the board, the wines are mixed.

The style of 2021 Margaux is clearly a modern classic. At their best, the wines provided soaring, floral aromatics, freshness, vivid red fruits, purity, and elegance. The wines are lower in alcohol than we have seen over the past decade. . But for lovers of classically-styled Bordeaux, which focused on aromatics, red fruits, freshness, and crisp fruits on the palate that were low in alcohol, 2021 Margaux is a very good year.

Almost every wine is dominated by the amount of Cabernet in the blends. Perhaps you can say that the wines lack richness in the mid-palate. But, on the other hand, most will also provide immense pleasure in their youth, and yet, they also have the ability to age and evolve as well.

Because of the lack of sugars, and perforce alcohol levels, chaptalization was used to increase the sugar levels by .5 to 1% for a portion of their harvest. To improve the levels of richness, many winemakers used reverse osmosis and saignée, which is the simple technique of bleeding vats to increase the concentration in the wine. For an overview of the entire Bordeaux region in 2021, please read 2021 Bordeaux Complete Guide to the Vintage

All of the following 2021 Margaux wines were tasted in Bordeaux in April, in non-blind conditions.

2021 Angludet – Medium-bodied, bright, fresh, crisp red currant and cherry-picked wine with nuances of dried flowers and thyme in the nose and on the palate. Already approachable, this will probably be at its best in its youth. Drink from 2023-2034. 86-88 Pts

2021 Bellevue de Tayac – Medium-bodied, bright, fresh, crisp, sharp red berry-filled wine with tobacco and underbrush accents that add to the red currant oriented wine. Drink from 2023-2036. 86-88 Pts

2021 Brane Cantenac – Tobacco, roses, currants, and bouquet garni kick off the perfume. The wine is soft, fresh, medium-bodied, and quite charming, as well as vibrant, finishing with a touch of spice on top of all the sweet red fruits you find on the backend. You will be able to enjoy this on release. The wine blends 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere 12.7% ABV. The harvest took place September 23-October 7. Drink from 2023-2050. 93-95 Pts

2021 Brane Cantenac Le Baron de Brane – Flowers and black currants are found in the nose of this early, drinking, ready-to-go, forward, medium-bodied, lightly fruited, easy-to-like charmer. Drink from 2023-2030. 88-90 Pts

2021 – Brane Cantenac Blanc – Light yellow in color, the wine opens with pineapple, mango, green apple, and flowers. Fresh, juicy, vibrant, and focused on its yellow citrus, with just a dollop of honey on the palate, the wine ends with an invigorating, lemon méringue note. The wine blends 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Semillon. Drink from 2023-2027. 92-92

2021 Cantenac Brown – Flowers, espresso, cocoa, and black currants are what you find on the nose. The wine is soft, round, and polished on the medium/full-bodied palate, finishing with more of that dark cocoa, roasted coffee, black cherry, and a hit of peppery spice on the backend. Drink from The wine is a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot. 13.2% ABV, 3.75 pH. The harvest took place September 23-October 4. Drink from 2024-2032. 92-94 Pts

2021 Cantenac Brown Brio de Cantenac Brown – Floral, fruity and fresh, the Merlot-based, medium-bodied wine is round, soft, approachable, and finishes with chocolate-covered, black raspberries and cherries. Drink from 2023-2029. 88-90 Pts

2021 – 2021 Cantenac Brown Alto de Cantenac Brown – Lemon peel, orange, white peach, and pineapple show up on the nose and in the bright, fresh, crisp palate. The wine was produced from a blend of 90% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Semillon. Drink from 2022-2027. 92-92 Pts

2021 Dauzac – Forward, medium-bodied, currant oriented with freshness and floral characteristics, the wine is soft, and easy to drink, with a red fruit and espresso tinted finish. You can enjoy this early for all of its soft, ripe, red fruits. Drink from 2023-2033. 89-91 Pts

2021 Dauzac Aurore de Dauzac – Medium bodied, forward, soft and fresh, with ample charming red fruits that is perfect for early drinking pleasure. This is a special parcel selection from Chateau Dauzac. Drink from 2023-2028. 86-88 Pts

2021 Dauzac La Bastide Dauzac – Forward, round, soft, and plummy with a currant and cherry-filled core of fruits that will offer pleasure on release. Drink from 2023-2031. 86-88 Pts

2021 Desmirail – Medium-bodied, savory red fruit edged, forward, with a crisp, bright, red berry core of fruits on the palate and in the classic-leaning finish. Drink from 2023-2033. 87-89 Pts

2021 Deyrem Valentin – Espresso, flowers, cherries, and currants are discovered on the nose. The bright, fresh, crunchy, crisp, red berries on the palate give the wine a classic edge in the mouth and in the finish. Drink from 2024-2038. 89-91 Pts

2021 Durfort Vivens – Red currants and cassis with a touch of flowers are in the nose. Medium-bodied, bright, fresh, and juicy, there is a crispness to the red berries on the crunchy palate. The wine is a blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Merlot, representing the highest percentage of Cabernet ever placed in the blend in the history of the property. 12.9% ABV. Drink from 2024-2039. 91-93 Pts

2021 Ferriere – With flowers and raspberries on the nose, the wine is medium-bodied, crisp, soft, and fresh with a spicy, bright, red, currant, and cranberry mid-palate and crisp finish. The wine blends 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. 13.1% ABV. Drink from 2023-3035. 89-91 Pts

2021 Giscours – Violets, spice-tinged cherries, and currants create the nose. On the palate, the wine exudes a sweetness to its core of red berries, along with elegance and refinement. Balance and freshness are the hallmarks of this wine, which finishes with layers of sweet, finesse-styled red fruits and tannins. The wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot, 13.5% ABV, pH 3.8, the harvest took place September 27 – October 13. Yields were 38 hectoliters per hectare. Drink from 2026-2045. 92-94 Pts

2021 Giscours La Sirene de Giscours – Savory, olive and green leafy edged, fresh, medium-bodied red fruits come through with soft, textures in a forward elegant, fresh style that is perfect for early drinking pleasure. Drink from 2023-2034. 87-89 Pts

2021 dIssan – Deep ruby in color, the wine kicks off with assorted red pit fruits, lilacs, cedar, and forest leaves. Medium-bodied, elegant, soft, and vibrant, the fruit is focused on its freshness, balance, and elegance, leaving you with the essence of purity in the red cherries and plums that linger in the finish. Produced from a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec. This is the second vintage to include 5 Bordeaux varietals in the blend. 13.18% ABV, pH 3.6. Picking took place September 27 – October 9. Drink from 2024-2047. 92-94 Pts

2021 dIssan Blasson d’Issan – Black raspberries and floral notes are what you initially notice. The wine is light, but more importantly, fresh, sweet, and fruity with loads of ripe cherries on the palate and in the finish. This is a perfect wine to order in a cafe or restaurant. The wine blends 52% Merlot with 46% Cabernet Franc. Drink from 2023-2029. 88-90 Pts

2021 Kirwan – Medium-bodied, fresh, forward, fruity, with a currant packed, mid-palate, and lingering cherry-oriented finish. You can enjoy this on release. Drink from 2023-2039. 88-90 Pts

2021 La Gurgue – A bit of spice, flowers, and red fruits on the nose. The medium-bodied wine is bright, fresh, and crisp, with a cranberry, red currant, and orange-flavored mid-palate and old-school, classic finish. The wine is worth tasting as here you have an estate that goes its own way, using no oak during the aging process. Drink from 2023-2029. 86-88 Pts

2021 La Tour de Mons – The nose shows flowers, mint, red currants, and espresso notes. Medium-bodied with a coffee-bean, and savory-edged, red berry palate, this will be easy to enjoy on release. Drink from 2023-2034. 88-90 Pts

2021 Labegorce – Mint leaf, espresso, smoke, thyme, Indian spice, flowers, and red fruits are found on the nose and palate. Fresh, spicy, medium-bodied, and already open, you can start drinking this on release. Drink from 2023-2034. 90-92 Pts

2021 Lascombes – With good dark color, the wine is soft, round, forward, polished, and already shows its ripe, dark, red fruits, espresso, smoke, and cocoa charms easily, Drink from 2024-2040. 91-93 Pts

2021 Le Coteau – Medium-bodied, bright, minty, floral, and vibrant, the red berries on the palate finish with a savory edge along with additional nuances of olives and herbs. Drink from 2023-2028. 86-88 Pts

2021 Le Coteau Andrena – Produced from a 1-hectare parcel of vines, this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wine, was a surprise to taste. Black raspberries, currants, flowers, and tobacco leaves are all over the place. Fresh and refined, not much is made, so if you see a bottle, or two, grab it. Drink from 2023-2030, 88-90 Pts

2021 Malescot St. Exupery – Initially you notice the brightness in the fruits before moving to the flowers, tobacco leaf, espresso, smoke, and earthy nuances. The wine is focused on its vibrancy, freshness, and fleshy style, managing to find the perfect balance between all three characteristics. The wine is a blend of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. Drink from 2027-2050. 92-94 Pts

2021 Chateau Margaux – Deep garnet in color, the wine opens with lilacs, spice, black currants, tobacco leaf, and a hint of cedar in the perfume. On the palate, the wine is elegant, polished, silky, fresh, and reserved in character. Classic, (In a good way) there is lift, vibrancy and poise to the fruit on the mid-palate, leaving you with a supple, refined, discreet, almost formal finish. Give it 5 years or so and it will be even better. Clearly, this is one of the wines of the vintage! The wine blends 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, 13.1% ABV, pH 3.64. The Grand Vin was produced using only 36% of the harvest. Picking took place September 24 – October 13. Drink from 2029-2060. 96-98 Pts

2021 Chateau Margaux Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux – Flowers and black raspberries with touches of spice and herbs create the nose. On the palate, the wine is elegant, forward, vibrant, and refined with a touch of juicy plums in the finish, You can enjoy The wine was made by blending 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, and 4% Cabernet Franc, 13.1% ABV. Drink from 2023-2035. 91-93 Pts

2021 Margaux Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux – White flowers, yellow citrus and orange rind with a hint of white peach. green apples and spice nuances are all over the place here. The wine shows a lushness and rich character that is equally fresh, crisp, and vibrant on the palate and in the finish. In fact, it is almost racy in its attitude. The wine is produced from 100% Sauvignon Blanc. 13.3% ABV. Drink from 2024-2037. 95-95 Pts

2021 Marojallia – Incense, flowers, spice, and dark currants show on the nose and on the round, plush, polished, chocolatey, espresso-tinted, supple-textured palate. Drink from 2023-2040 90-92 Pts

2021 Marojallia Clos Margalaine – Savory-edged, red fruits, flowers, and plums, with a strong note of espresso, cocoa, and smoke on the nose and round textured palate will show nicely with just a year or so of aging. Drink from 2023-2028. 87-89 Pts

2021 Marquis dAlesme – Cedar, flowers, cocoa, mint leaf, and red fruits shine in the nose. On the palate, the wine is elegant, soft, fresh, and juicy, with a fruity mid-palate and a refreshing, savory edge to the finish. The wine blends 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. 13% ABV. Drink from 2024-2044. 91-93 Pts

2021 Marquis de Terme – Violets, cherries, plums, and flowers, with accents of licorice and black cherries, the wine has good concentration, ripeness, polished tannins, round textures, and a lot of flesh and depth for the vintage. Drink from 2024-2039. 91-93 Pts

2021 Palmer – Deep ruby, garnet in color, the wine shows off its flowers, cocoa, black plum, and dark cherry, with a Cuban cigar note coming in at the end of the nose with ease. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, fresh, sweet, poised, and vibrant. The wine offers a lush, dark chocolate, plum, currant, and coffee bean tinted mid-palate in the vibrant, lifted finish. The wine is blend of 56% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot. 13.4% ABV, pH 3.72. Yields were low at a paltry 22 hectoliters per hectare. 55% of the harvest was placed into the Grand Vin. Picking took place September 24 – October 14. Drink from 2028-2055. 94-96 Pts

2021 Palmer Alter Ego dePalmer – Flowers and black cherries on the nose open the wine. On the palate, the medium-bodied wine is soft, juicy, fresh, clean, and forward, with a polished, spicy, cocoa-dusted currant and plum finish. The wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, and 8% Petit Verdot, making this the highest percentage of Cabernet ever used in any vintage of Alter Ego. Drink from 2023-2038. 89-90 Pts

2021 Paveil de Luze – Sweet, round, chewy, fresh, and loaded with savory currants and blackberries, with soft tannins and sweet currants in the finish. You can enjoy this early-drinking charmer on release. Drink from 2023-2037. 87-89 Pts

2021 Rauzan Segla – With a nice richness to the color, the wine opens with lilies, roses, coffee beans, Indian spice, and black plums. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, elegant, refined, and silky. There is freshness and energy, along with a nice sweetness to the fruits. There is a touch of chalk at the backend of the finish. You will be able to enjoy this in its youth, which is not always the case here with this age-worthy Margaux. The wine was produced by blending 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, 13% ABV. The harvest took place September 20 to October 8. Drink from 2025-2050. 94-96 Pts

2021 Segla – Black raspberries, plums, and cedar chest notes on the nose. Medium-bodied, soft, silky, and approachable, with a touch of chocolate to accompany the polished fruits in the finish. You can enjoy this on release and over the near future for its elegant stylings and accessible, refined fruits. The wine blends 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. Drink from 2023-2030. 88-90 Pts

2021 Siran – Violets, cherries, and tobacco leaf show up with ease on the palate. The wine is soft, fresh, polished, silky, vibrant, elegant, and spicy. The finish is loaded with peppery, red currants, a touch of espresso, and spicy plums. Give it a year or two of aging, and enjoy it over the following 15 or more years. Interestingly, this is the first time in ages, if not in history that the blend was dominated by Cabernet. The wine blends 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. 13% ABV. Drink from 2025-2040. 91-93 Pts

2021 Siran S de Siran – Medium-bodied, bright, herbal, savory-edged, peppery red fruits on the nose and palate helped produce a wine that is best for early drinking pleasure. Drink from 2023-2029. 86-88 Pts

2021 du Tertre – Leafy black raspberries, mint, flowers, and spice are what you initially notice. On the palate, the wine is fresh, crisp, juicy, sweet, and bright, with a core of chewy red currants, touches of cocoa, and spice on the palate and in the dusty, earthy, yet, elegant finish. From a blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, 13% ABV. Give this just a bit of time to soften and flesh out. Drink from 2024-2039. 90-92 Pts

2021 du Tertre Les Haut – Medium-bodied, fresh, forward, and savory, with an herbal, leafy edge to the red fruits on the palate and in the finish. You can enjoy this on release. Drink from 2023-2029. 86-88 Pts

2021 du Tertre Blanc – White peach, vanilla, flowers, melon, vanilla, lemons, and spice create the complex nose. Fresh, sweet, juicy, and creamy, with peach and lemon rind in the finish. You can enjoy this on release. The unique blend is made from 38% Gros Manseng, 25% Viognier, 25% Sauvignon Blanc and 12% Chardonnay. The wine was vinified in stainless steel and barrel and aged in 100% new, French oak barrels. Drink from 2023-2027. 90-90 Pts

Next up we will take a deep dive into all the top 2021 Haut Medoc, Listrac and Moulis Wines of the Vintage before moving on to the best red and white Pessac Leognan wines which include our only 100 Pt score this year!

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