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External Reviews for Web Exclusive Chateau Margaux Premiere Grand Cru Classe Margaux
Ultraconcentrated, with layers and layers of fruit and superfine tannins. Plenty of fruit, mineral and meat character. Full-bodied yet refined and classy, it coats your palate with gorgeous fruit and ripe tannins. Truly superb. One of the wines of the vintage. Best after 2012.
This may be from the exceptional vintage of 2003, but Château Margaux remains true to form. First and foremost, it is a refined, elegant wine, with complex layers of flavors. But, yes, the hot summer is there the dense, dry tannins, but somehow they seem to float through the wine rather than sitting heavily in the middle. Acidity and freshness come to finish, giving the wine a delicious lift.
Full, saturated red-ruby. Knockout nose combines redcurrant, tropical chocolate, leather, woodsmoke and nutty oak with exotic chocolate mint and coffee liqueur; still manages to retain floral lift even in this beastly vintage. Then wonderfully fat, sweet and full, even if it comes across as almost heavy following the ineffable 2005 and 2004 examples. But "relatively inelegant" for Margaux still suggests a degree of refinement that few chateaux can match in the greatest vintages. A hugely rich and dense wine that finishes with elevated but ripe tannins and great length, with a subtle suggestion of dry spices. Pontallier says the terroir will take over in 20 years, "like with the '82." Splendid.
Another celestial effort from Paul Pontallier and Corinne Mentzelopoulus, the 2005 Margaux, a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot, boasts a dense opaque blue/purple color as well as an extraordinary bouquet of spring flowers, blueberries, black raspberries, creme de cassis, licorice, and, despite its having spent two years in 100% new wood, only a subtle touch of toasty oak. Although full-bodied, the wine seems light on its feet because of the silky tannins as well as the great gravel terroir from which it comes. Beautiful purity, length, and nobility define this modern day classic. Is it better than the 2000, 1996, 1990, or some of the vintages from the decade of the eighties? Who knows, but it is unquestionably one of the all-time great wines made at Chateau Margaux. This estate has produced only exceptional wines over the last three decades. The seamlessness of the 2005 suggests it will perform well early, but it should last for a half century or more. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2050+.
Fiona Morrison once described Margaux to me as a drag queen, all feminine make up on the surface, all masculine muscle underneath. She may well have been describing this '98, given its violets and spice, its knee-melting new oak scent, its mint and cardamom and fine cigar tobacco aromas. It smells and feels like a grand cru, but it gives nothing of itself for several days. Then, when several of the other top Margaux wines from the vintage were heading south, this was just beginning to show all its layered ganduer. Even then, the lovely dark berry density at the center was still sealed off under all the strapping complexity. It's a finely build aristocrat (of indeterminate sex).
Am I being too stingy with the 2003 Chateau Margaux? A wine of extraordinary complexity and intensity, it reveals a deep purple color, a style not unlike the 1990 Margaux (possibly even more concentrated), a velvety texture, and notes of spring flowers interwoven with camphor, melted licorice, creme de cassis, and pain grille. Not a blockbuster, it offers extraordinary intensity as well as a surreal delicacy/lightness. There is riveting freshness to this offering, which tips the scales at a lofty (for this estate) 13.5% alcohol, as well as an alluring sweetness and accessibility. It probably will tighten up over the next few years. Nevertheless, it is a profound Chateau Margaux that brings to mind a hypothetical blend of the 1982 and 1990. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2035.
The 1995 has fleshed out, developed more intensity, in addition to some stunning aromatics since I tasted it last spring. It appears to be a sensational Chateau Margaux that should take its place alongside some of the great wines produced at this estate under the Mentzelopoulos regime. Will this vintage ultimately rival the 1990, 1986, 1983, or 1982? I doubt it, but this majestic wine is not far off the mark of those classics. The wine's opaque purple color is followed by a fabulously sweet nose of black fruits, licorice, smoke, and the alluring floral scents that are so typical of Chateau Margaux. There is admirable flavor intensity and presence on the palate, as well as layers of black fruits, full body, and well-integrated toasty oak, acidity, and tannin. In comparison with other great vintages, it is not as creamy-textured and flattering as the 1990, but neither is it as backward and tannic as the 1986. Given the fact that it has developed so spectacularly in cask, this should be a Chateau Margaux to drink between 2005-2025.
Food Pairings for Web Exclusive Chateau Margaux Premiere Grand Cru Classe Margaux
Dietary Information: Kosher, Organic
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