Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux, 2007

  Château Margaux

This was one of the most remarkable discoveries of our tasting trip: in a top class year for the dry whites, Margaux’s 100% Sauvignon Blanc offering has trumped its own string of recent successes with a heart-stopping wine of great power and elegance. It sports an astonishing 15.5% alcohol – all natural – yet is so well-endowed with sumptuous, racy fruit and stylish mineral freshness that you simply don’t notice it. Only 60% of the chateau’s white grapes were selected for this cuvée, picked in three separate passes through the vineyards, and the wine spent 9 months in barrel, of which a third were new. This is a must for lovers of fine whites.

Contains Sulphites.

About Château Margaux

Great as the wine of Margaux is, no introduction to this estate would be complete without mention of the magnificent Chateau, built by the Marquis de Colonilla and designed by Louis Combes. The Marquis allegedly had no real interest in wine, but his legacy is still enjoyed by everyone who visits.

The Mentzelopoulos family bought the estate from the Ginestet family in 1977. In an era of appalling vintages and economic depression in Bordeaux, Andre Mentzelopoulos invested in improving drainage, replanted vines, built a new barrel cellar and encouraged the use of a second label to improve quality. He sadly died in 1980 before the fruits of his labour were to become apparent, but he can be credited with the revival in Margaux’s reputation and setting the foundations for more successful times that followed. Today, Andre’s daughter, Corrine owns the estate and with the general manager, Paul Pontallier has continued the program of investment.

There is a general trend to producing wines with very high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. It is Paul’s belief that the best gravel croupes are best suited to Cabernet, with much of the Merlot utilised in the second label, Pavillon Rouge and a new third label. There is a 12 hectare vineyard further inland that is planted with Sauvignon Blanc, used in the white wine, Pavillon Blanc. At its best, the Grand Vin is ethereal, perfumed, powerful and always supremely elegant.

Appellation: Margaux

The wines tend to show more perfume and roundness than neighbour St-Julien, Pauillac, and St-Estèphe, whilst retaining a certain structure and concentration. Margaux is the most southerly and most extensive of the famous Médoc communes, a patchwork of vineyards with lesser parcels classed purely as Haut-Médoc. A myriad of soil mixtures can be found, clay, limestone, and gravel. Though quality is not always consistent here, the potential is great as more Margaux properties were included in the 1855 classification of the Médoc and Graves than any other appellation.

The two leading lights are the highly sought after Châteaux Margaux and Palmer, though there are several other solid performers including Brane-Cantenac, Rauzan-Ségla, Durfort-Vivens, Lascombes, Giscours, Ferrières, Malescot St Exupery and Luc Thienpont’s new boutique vineyard, Clos des Quatre Vents.

Grape Blend: Semillon | Sauvignon Blanc

Semillon is blended with Sauvignon Blanc to produce the great sweet botrytis-affected wines of Bordeaux in Sauternes and Barsac, the Sauvignon adds aroma, fruit and freshness to the rich fleshy Semillon. Semillon is at its most illustrious in the humid atmosphere of Sauternes and Barsac, where it is susceptible to Botrytis rot, which helps concentrate the fruit sugars, acids and flavours, producing some of the most luscious, sweet long-lived wines in the world. The most renowned example is Château d'Yquem, though there are a plethora of estates throughout the region whose wines come close in quality.