2003 Château Margaux Margaux Bordeaux France Wine Tasting Note

  1. 2003 Château (Margaux)

    1. Lush, sensuous, rich, opulent and perhaps decadent levels of perfectly ripe fruits are impossible not to get caught up in. Length, purity, seamlessness and textural delights are what you will find here. This is one of the top wines of a mixed vintage and a great Margaux.

      99 points - Tasted
    2. If you are a fan of Chateau Margaux, and you have the funds, this is a wine you need in your cellar! Pure silk and velvet textures, lush, opulent tannins, incredible depth of flavor, concentration and length, the perfectly ripe fruit that fills your mouth, is absolutely decadent. While young, there is such a wealth of ripe fruit and the tannins are so soft and polished, you can drink this now. Or, feel free to lay it down in your cellar for another decade. This is one of those unique wines that leaves you thinking about it, long after the wine has left your glass and gone to where it was intended to be.

      100 points - Tasted
    3. Truffle, coffee bean, licorice, spice, roasted blackberries and cherry blossoms. Pure , sensuality, with fruit drenched in velvet and silky tannins, with a long, fresh, sweet black cherry finish. This is still young and while the wine is delicious to drink today, this is going to get better and better with time. This is a contender for the wine of the Left Bank and of the vintage!

      99 points - Tasted
    4. Compelling in every way, 2003 Margaux has it all! A fragrance that grabs you with its smoke, caramel, truffle, blackberry, floral, forest floor and cedar wood scents. The thick, rich, silky palate pairs intensity and purity. The wine is deep, fresh and complex. This will be a legendary vintage in a decade or two.

      98 points - Tasted
Margaux front Wine Tasting Notes, Ratings

Chateau Margaux Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking

The 262 hectare estate of Chateau Margaux has a total of 80 hectares under vine for the production of red wine. This is almost the same size as it was during the time of the 1855 Classification of the Medoc. The Margaux vineyard for the production of red wine is planted to 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. This shows a marked increase in the amount of Cabernet Sauvignon planted in the vineyards. The final blend on average usually contains close to 85% Cabernet Sauvignon in most vintages.

Unlike many Bordeaux estates, most of their vineyards are close to the chateau. The vineyard is basically in three sections with parcels close to and surrounding the chateau, hillside parcels that are just due north and vines are also planted close to the church, which is just a bit south. On average, the vines are kept at 35 years of age. However, there are parcels with very old Cabernet Sauvignon vines, which are close to 80 years of age!

The old vine Merlot and Petit Verdot vines are close to 60 years of age. The complex terroir of Chateau Margaux is mostly gravel with clay, sand and limestone in the soil. Since 2012, the vines used to produce the Grand Vin of Chateau Margaux have been farmed using 100% organic farming techniques. A large portion of the grapes used for the production of Pavillon Rouge are also farmed using only organic methods.

11 hectares of vines planted to 100% Sauvignon Blanc are located west of the famous chateau, with more limestone in the soils and a cooler, micro-climate. Those vines are devoted to the production of the white Bordeaux wine of Chateau Margaux, "Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux." There are a few vines of Semillon in the vineyard that are not included in Pavillon Blanc in most vintages. At most, a minor portion is included roughly once every ten years or so. The wine is sold as a generic Bordeaux Blanc.

The terroir for their white wine is prone to problems from frost. So, to protect the white wine vines used for Pavillon Blanc, Chateau Margaux uses a frost protection system that sprinkles water on the vines during potential, frost inducing weather. Something else that has helped to continue elevating the quality of the white wine has been the introduction of organic farming techniques used for the Sauvignon Blanc. Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux made its debut with the 1921 vintage. However, white wine was produced at Chateau Margaux at least as far back as 1900.

Chateau Margaux Winemaking

To produce the red wine of Chateau Margaux vinification takes place in vats that are a combination wood and stainless steel. There are a total of 34 wood vats and 22 stainless steel vats. The vats range in size from as much as 180 hectoliter wood vats down to 25 hectoliters. In the new vat rooms, which were completed in 2014, the estate added 35 more vats ranging in size from 5 to 15 hectoliters. The new, small vats will be used for in the production as well as for testing new ideas. The red wine of Chateau Margaux is aged in 100% new oak for 18-24 months, depending on the quality and character of the Bordeaux vintage.

A large percentage of the oak barrels used to age their wine are produced at Chateau Margaux. Chateau Margaux is one of the few Bordeaux estates with their own cooperage on the property. Chateau Margaux has been involved in making sure that consumers purchase only, genuine bottles of Margaux since 1989. In that year, they began laser etching their bottles. In 2011, Chateau Margaux strengthened their anti counterfeiting program with the addition of using the prooftag system.

Chateau Margaux Pavillon Blanc

To produce the dry white Bordeaux wine of Chateau Margaux, Pavillon Blanc, which is always made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc, the grapes are whole cluster pressed, with no skin contact. Vinification takes place in an average of 33% new, French oak barrels. There is no malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged on its lees with stirring in 33% new, French oak barrels for 7-8 months before bottling. Close to 2,500 cases of Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux are produced each year.

The wines of Chateau Margaux have continued to show marked improvements since the Mentzelopoulos family took over. Quality took another giant leap once Corinne Mentzelopoulos was placed in charge. Part of the reason is the increased severity of selection.

To give you an idea of what is taking place today, versus just a few decades ago, during the 1980's, the production of the Grand Vin was more than 20,000 cases. By the 2000 vintage, the production of the Grand Vin slid below 17,00 cases. The portion of the Grand Vin continues decreasing due to selection. To fully illustrate this, on average, Chateau Margaux produces the following amounts of their wine today:

Chateau Margaux - 12,000 cases per year

Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux - 16,000 cases per year

Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux - 1,600 cases per year

As you can see, the amount of Grand Vin has been reduced by close to 40%. Those numbers now vary due to the fact that Chateau Margaux has introduced a third wine, Margaux de Margaux starting with the 2009 vintage, and a fourth wine produced from red grape varietals which is sold in bulk to negociants.

When to Drink Chateau Margaux, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau Margaux is not a wine to drink on the young side. The wine is usually far too tannic, powerful and reserved during its youth. Young vintages can be decanted for an average of 3-6 hours, give or take. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment. Chateau Margaux is usually better with at least 15 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau Margaux offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 18 and 60 years of age after the vintage.

Serving Chateau Margaux with Wine, Food, Pairings

Chateau Margaux is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. Chateau Margaux is best paired with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted braised and grilled dishes. Chateau Margaux is also good when matched with Asian dishes, rich fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta.

The white wine of Chateau Margaux, Pavillon Blanc can be paired perfectly with all types of seafood, shellfish, sushi, sashmi, veal, chicken, pork and cheeses.