Margaux is one of the four great communes of the Médoc (alongside St Julien, Pauillac and St Estèphe). It is the first commune that one reaches when travelling north out of the city of Bordeaux and it is almost certainly for that reason that it contains 21 classified growths, more than any of the other communes. (Bordeaux wine merchants in their 19th century carriages could access the wines of Margaux much more easily and quickly than those of St. Estèphe.)
Margaux is also the name of the appellations most famous chateaux, the first growth, Chateau Margaux. Thanks to its name (used often in this spelling for the names of wine lover’s baby girls), it is one of the most recognizable names in Bordeaux. Margaux wines are rich and structured with notes of plums, violets and berries in the nose. These rather forward aromas belie a stern structure and solid tannins on the palate leading to the sobriquet “the iron fist in the velvet glove”.
Called rather poetically, Marojallia by the Roman consul, Ausonius, Margaux came into its own in the 18th century when the land was drained and the deep pebbles and gravel beds were revealed. One of its most famous visitors was Thomas Jefferson, the American ambassador who was to become President of the United States, at the end of the century.
Being the southernmost commune of the Médoc, it is also the warmest and harvesting starts usually at least a week before the northern communes. Like all of the Médoc, the chief grape variety is Cabernet Sauvignon with small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot. There are more than 1300 hectares of vineyard in Margaux, making it the second largest commune in Médoc after St. Estèphe. There are around 80 different chateaux producing around 600,000 cases of wine.
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- 2013 Château du TertreMargaux5ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l Red€28.80 €23.80A highly successful wine considering the vintage, du Tertre gets better and better every year. The nose is fairly rich with notes of cassis, liquorice and coffee. A touch of sweetness at the start with pure fruit flavours on the palate. Showing good concentration for this vintage and a long finish.
- 2014 Château du TertreMargaux5ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l Red€31.61 €26.12A lovely wine with lots of class and purity. Good lush flavours of boysenberry and blackcurants on the attack; very fresh and silky with lovely weight and balance. An extremely pretty, rather feminine wine.
- 2017 Château du TertreMargaux5ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l RedNew€40.99 €33.88Some frost damage resulted in less crop, so the blend this year is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. The estate is fully organic with 50% of the vineyards being farmed bio-dynamically. The wine has a good deep purple colour, sweet fruit on the nose, a sweet, attractive juicy fruit attack and nice spicy freshness on the palate. This is well-made and balanced with some interesting spicy elements in the finish.
- 2018 Château du TertreMargaux5ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l RedPrimeur€44.00 €36.36New winemaker Lorenzo Pasquini likens Giscours to an oil painting and calls du Tertre a watercolour. This is in no way pejorative as du Tertre has a natural beauty and liveliness which makes it more accessible when young and so drinkable. Made from a blend 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, the selection was draconian this year with half the production going into the second wine. Deep ruby colour; nose of black fruit with notes of minerals and spice; juicy, balanced and lively on the palate with more red fruit flavours; on the finish there are silky, lifted tannins and a long typically Margaux scent of fruit and incense. Delivery from winter 2020-2021
- 2016 Château du TertreMargaux5ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l Red€45.80 €37.85From the same stable as Giscours, du Tertre has made a name for itself for consistently good quality and value. This is the highest amount of Cabernet used in the blend at 75% with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot making up the rest. Quite classic and stern on the nose, the wine opens up to reveal black and red fruits, a mineral undertone, precise tannins and a crispy, pure finish to end the wine on a clear note. One of the best vintages made here.
- Margaux2ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l RedNew€53.60 €44.30Good bright fresh colour, fragrant and expressive on the nose with notes of cassis, fresh herbs and a touch of licorice. Quite light bodied but with attractive sweetness on the attack, then fresh fruit mingles well with the oak and the tannin to produce a balanced, harmonius wine with good persistance and character. Quite classic Margaux.
- 2017 Château GiscoursMargaux3ième Grand Cru Classé 0.75l RedNew€59.00 €48.76Frost affected about 35-40% of the vineyard and the blend this year is 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot . Deep ruby colour, inviting nose of blackcurrant and blackberries with a pretty, fresh lift. On the attack , the wine is sweet and composed, quite well-mannered, with fine tannic structure and a good fruit and tannin peristance on the finish. Quite classic Margaux.