Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Touring Château Margaux in Margaux, Bordeaux – A Profile

 Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller at Château Margaux in Margaux

Château Margaux in Margaux is one of the 5 Premiers Grands Crus Chateaux in the Classification of 1855.

The 5 Premiers Grands Crus Chateaux en 1855 of Bordeaux, France


The history of Château Margaux goes back to the 12th Century, when the property was known as La Mothe de Margaux and owned by various people of noble birth, including Edward III, King of England. It was when the Lestonnac family took charge that premium wine production gained steam. By the end of the 1600s, Château Margaux had expanded to 265 hectares, with 1/3 devoted to producing wine.  The impressive First Empire style château that we see today was built by one of Bordeaux' foremost architects, Guy-Louis Combes, when Marquis of La Colonilla acquired the estate in 1804.

Pictures:  Château Margaux

In 1977, the property was sold to André Mentzelopoulos – the Greek of Medoc - and the modern history of Chateau Margaux began. Château Margaux passed to his daughter, Corrine Mentzelopoulos, only a few years later, when she was still at a young age.

Pictures:  Château Margaux

Château Margaux under Corrine Mentzelopoulos

Under her late father's leadership, a new cellar was built, drainage added and a long-term investment strategy made to secure the property's future. Corinne Mentzelopoulos added a second underground cellar for second-year barrels. Today, the expansion continues. British architect Norman Foster has been commissioned to redesign its cellars, create a new winemaking hall, as well as a subterranean bottle library of previous vintages to be completed by 2015.

Pictures:  Château Margaux

Château Margaux

Château Margaux totals 262 hectares, with 87 hectares entitled to the Margaux appellation; 82 hectares are under vine. All four common red Bordeaux varieties are planted: Cabernets Sauvignon (75%), Cabernet Franc (3%), Merlot (20%) and Petit Verdot (2%), whereas the white vineyards are planted solely with Sauvignon Blanc.

Pictures:  Château Margaux

The fruit is fermented in large 150-hectolitre oak vats and (since only very recently) stainless steel vessels. The red wines are aged between 18 and 24 months in oak barrels (constructed on-site in the Margaux cooperage), the whites up to six months.

Pictures:  Château Margaux

There are typically 13,000 cases of the Grand Vin Château Margaux produced each year and 17,000 cases of the second wine, Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux. The Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux has a production of 3,000 cases and must be sold under the Bordeaux AOC as the cultivation of Sauvignon Blanc does not fall under the directives of the Margaux AOC.

A Tour and Tasting at Château Margaux

Château Margaux always attracts a steady stream of visitors. For those without an appointment, the journey down its magnificent plane-tree-lined drive ends at the bottom—halted on the gravel by vast iron railings beyond which lies what has been described as the "Versailles of the Médoc." For those lucky enough to be expected – as we were - a tour and a tasting in the château's tasting room follows.

Pictures:  Toring Château Margaux with Annette Schiller, wine tours by ombiasy.

See for the past year' s and this year's upcoming tours:
Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France
Ombiasy Wine Tours: Bordeaux Trip Coming up in September 2013 

Wine Searcher Average Prices

Pictures: Tasting

Grand Vin in US$

2012 465
2011 532
2010 1148
2009 1310
2008 585
2007 552
2006 652
2005 1253

Pavillion in US$

2008 175

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