“There cannot be a better bottle than a bottle of Margaux.”Thomas Jefferson
If you are a history buff, you’d find that Thomas Jefferson’s view of Chateau Margaux was more than just a statement of a loyal fan. A little lesser known is the fact that back in year 1855, when the Classification was put together to help visitors of the Paris Exhibition to better understand the price and corresponding quality of Bordeaux top wines, Chateau Margaux came top in the tasting with a 20/20 score; whilst Lafite and Latour scored 19/20. We applaud Bordeaux expert Jane Anson for highlighting this geek fact in her book Bordeaux legends. Since then, over the course of more than 150 years, Chateau Margaux has seen ebbs and flows as it stood as a witness of Europe’s turbulent 19th century history.
1970s saw Chateau Margaux turning a new page penned by the Greek family of Mentzelopoulos, of which the late grain trader Andre Mentzelopoulos played an instrumental part restoring Chateau Margaux’s vineyards, winery and overall estate to the grandeur of its glory days. Subsequent hiring of Professor Emile Peynaud, father of modern day Bordeaux winemaking, as a consultant; and Dr Paul Pontallier as Technical Director and General Manager of Chateau Margaux brought on long-term, lasting quality assurance of Chateau Margaux’s output.
Today, Corinne Mentzelopoulos, daughter of Andre Mentzelopoulos, focused solely on the management of Chateau Margaux since she took the rein 36 years ago in year 1983. She is joined by her daughter Alexandra. The great reds of Chateau Margaux, including both Grand Vin and second wine Pavillon Rouge, come from just 33% of land from the vast 262 hectare estate of Chateau Margaux. Annual red wine production averages 150,000 bottles, if you exclude their third wine Margaux de Margaux; and a fourth wine which they produced and sold in bulk to negociants. The white Pavillon Blanc is a charming wine classified under Bordeaux AOC.
Compared against other First Growth counterparts, we find Chateau Margaux exuding a unique mix of charming classiness and refined generosity – rather distinguishable from Latour’s aristocratic firmness, Lafite’s consistent elegance, Mouton’s exuberant opulence and Haut Brion’s indulgent sensuality. As with all First Growths, there are almost no “bad” Chateau Margaux, more just how they reflect the vintages whilst somewhat maintaining their house style. Shop whichever Chateau Margaux’s vintage you haven’t had yet – from WWX quality source of sellers – and enjoy.
Brief facts about Chateau Margaux
- The land itself was first known in 12th century as “La Mothe de Margaux” (the Mound of Margaux) – no vines were grown on it by then. It was only since 1570s did the plateau being developed for viticulture.
- One of the rare few Bordeaux estates of which area under vines has neither expanded nor shrunk for centuries – to day, 30% of the vast 262-hectare estate is planted to vines, among which 82 hectares are planted to black grapes; and 12 hectares to white grapes.
- The iconic, stately neo-palladian building that welcomes all visitors, decorates Chateau Margaux’s Grand Vin label; was built in 1815.
- Owned by current owner Greek family Mentzelopoulos since 1977. Third generation Alexander Petit-Mentzelopoulos has been joining her mother Corinne Mentzelopoulos in managing the chateau since 2012.
- Planting density of 10,000 vines per hectare (with a replacement rate of 10,000 to 15,000 vines per year)
- Soil is majority chalk and clay, with a gravelly top soil – highly favourable for Cabernet Sauvignon plantings.
- Area under vines is planted to about 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% merlot, rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot
- Average annual production of Château Margaux: about 130,000 bottles (mostly comprise of 85% + Cabernet Sauvignon, rest of blend varies according to vintage conditions)
- Average annual production of Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux: about 100,000 bottles.
- Average annual production of Margaux du Château Margaux: about 40,000 bottles.
- Average annual production of Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux: about 10,000 bottl.
Above facts about Chateau Margaux are extracted from the official website of Chateau Margaux.