As one would expect from one of the Left Bank’s First Growths, the Grand Vin de Chateau Margaux is one of the most profound and most sought-after wines of Bordeaux. Recent vintages have reached new peaks, harnessing the natural power of the terroir with an extraordinary precision and texture. Few wines combine such haunting perfume, elegance and ethereal complexity.
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, Pavillon Rouge to improve quality. Sadly, Andre died in 1980 before the fruits of his labour were realised, but it was his vision and enterprise that laid the foundations for success. His daughter, Corrine along with the long-term general manager, Paul Pontallier continued the program of investment. Paul dedicated his working life to Chateau Margaux, restoring its reputation and pursuing excellence ceaselessly. His last vintage was the magnificent 2015, a fitting acknowledgement to his life and work.
There has been a general trend towards producing wines with very high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. It was Paul’s belief that the finest gravel croupes are best suited to Cabernet. Much of the Merlot that was utilized in the Grand Vin is now blended into the second label, Pavillon Rouge and a new third label (simply called Margaux). A 12 hectare vineyard further inland, planted with Sauvignon Blanc, is used to produce their excellent white wine, Pavillon Blanc. Alas, this tense, mineral infused cuvee is produced in miniscule quantities and is a rarity to our list.
Great as the wine of Chateau 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. More recently, Sir Norman Foster and Partners designed a state-of-the-art winery, which blends seamlessly with its early 19th century surroundings.