As you’d expect given the diversity of terroir in the Margaux appellation in 2008 things are more heterogeneous than in St Estèphe, Pauillac or St Julien. Once again the wines were a subdued bunch and only a handful sang on the day at the MW Institute 2008 tasting. Quite a few felt over-extracted relative to their fruit – this was surely not the vintage to be turbocharging – and neither does it play to the commune’s strengths, the beauty and elegance that mark the finest wines.
Chateau Margaux leads the appellation as you’d expect. It has produced a layered and intense wine, though I thought it trailed its first growth peers. Next up is probably Chateau Palmer although this has sunk into itself somewhat. That said there is obvious structure and depth here. Chateau Lascombes, which does push out the boat in winemaking terms, has made a very attractive wine in 2008. It’s a ‘worked’ style but it does actually work in the glass. Chateau Rauzan-Ségla has fashioned something typically structured and tight knit but with plenty of layers and depth. It shows what many others in the appellation are missing. The rest? Well there’s a lot of classed growths in the Margaux commune as you know but many look disappointing in 2008 in my view, a series of hollow, somewhat hard edged wines. It might be a phase they are going through but I wouldn’t bet on it.
Mid depth; some red at edge; some chalk, blackcurrant notes and earth; chewy blackcurrants, spices some dryness and acid – structured. Some flesh here but nevertheless feels a tad hollow. May come round as there may be just enough ingredients here. 87
Deepish, quite dense looking; some earth, spice and mealy qualities; slightly reductive whiff; palate feels a bit hollow and overplayed. Hard edge to the tannins and palate. 84
Mid depth; translucent at core; some iron, tea notes and elegance with herbal spicy tones; not that bad in leafy elegant way; mealy note on the palate., some spice and chew. Angular on the finish. Spicy fruit can’t hide a hollow edge here. 85
Mid depth; open nose, leafy notes spice and undergrowth; feels mature; works to a degree in a spicy, leafy, herbal style; elegant palate, some chew, lots of acid. This may work out. 87
Mid depth, some density; some resin and ink, some red fruit and chocolate; herbal tones on the palate, very spicy; grippy with pretty dry tannin at the end. Whiff of under-ripeness? 84
Mid depth; some reddening at edge; chalky, spice and leaf; feels cool vintage; high toned and boney style; pine, spices and herbal tones on the palate. Elegant with plenty of grip. 86
Mid depth, some reddening; very earthy initially, some blackcurrant, some green pepper, capsicum notes; blackcurrant and leaf on the palate; quite old fashioned in feel but not without depth of fruit. Structured and sturdy but enough fruit such that it should meld and last. 87
Deep and saturated; some earthy, peaty notes with some meal/cereal tones; chewy, dense palate which feels a little overworked and tired. Lacks vibrancy. Chewy, woody and extracted. What will emerge? 86?
Mid depth; some reddening at edge; earthy maturing nose; quite solid; blackcurrant notes, some cassis; pretty good; lots of depth to the palate; nice chew and density; a worked style but the material warrants it. Purity of fruit comes across despite the cellar antics. Much better than 2006 and 2007 here. Stood out nicely in the line-up. 90+
Chateau Marquis de Terme
Pretty deep looking; glossy; lifted strawberry and red fruits; unctuous style, very reduced; feels overworked to me; red fruits and resin is what I get. Chewy but feels overdone on the finish. 86
Mid depth; some subtle layers and depth with leaf and tobacco notes; some smoked meat; nice intensity on the palate; some spice and grip too. [Second tasting much earthier, quite sexy nose; nice marriage of oak and fruit; better than ’07 here; leaf and spice; elegant palate with some grip – acid]. 93+
Deep and attractive looking; some chalk and minerality, some blackcurrant lift; chocolate and mocha notes; depth to the palate; feels a bit chunky and chewy with tannin at the end. Chewy wine. Little shut down compared with it’s showing a couple of years back – needs ten years. 90+
Mid depth, some saturation; redcurrant fruits and lift; some wet stone; some chew on the palate, spices. Grip at the end. 86
Mid depth; quite open palate, lacks a bit of depth; some development; earthy palate, some plummy fruit and spice and chew. Not that bad as this estate goes. 87
Mid depth; some red at edge; red fruits, some spice, leaf – blackcurrant and pastel notes; spices; blackcurrants on the palate, layers and purity here; core of fruit in here [shows how hollow many of these are in this commune]; structured yes but has the guts. 90+
Chateau du Tertre
Mid depth; some red at edge; some chalk, some stalks; not over engaging; spice and some life on the palate; freshness with elegance and firmish tannins. 87
Tags: 2008, Chateau Brane-Cantenac, Chateau d’Issan, Chateau Dauzac, Chateau Desmirail, Chateau du Tertre, Chateau Durfort-Vivens, Chateau Ferrière, Chateau Giscours, Chateau Kirwan, Chateau Lascombes, Chateau Margaux, Chateau Marquis de Terme, Chateau Palmer, Chateau Prieuré-Lichine, Chateau Rauzan-Gassies, Chateau Rauzan-Ségla, Margaux, MW Institute