Margaux has had a good to very good vintage in 2014. It vies with 2012 as being the best year here since 2010. The quality is not quite as outstanding as it is further north in the Haut-Médoc [St Estèphe, for example has produced wines that rival 2010] but I was still impressed with many of the wines in Margaux for their balance and elegance. Things feel significantly more homogeneous here than in the past in what remains a very heterogeneous and large appellation. Out side of Château Margaux and Château Palmer I was very impressed with Château Brane Cantenac, Château Giscours, Château Lascombes, Château Marquis de Terme and Château Rauzan-Ségla. There are good efforts too from Château Angludet, Château Cantenac Brown, Château Kirwan, Château Labégorce, Château Malescot Saint-Exupéry, Château Rauzan Gassies and Château Siran.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Monbrison’
Originally I was impressed by the overall quality of the Margaux appellation in 2012 during primeurs. Last month’s UGCB tasting in London has done nothing to shake the belief that many properties here have, by and large, made a set of enjoyable, reasonably full and delicious wines. There is appetizing vigour and sap in the best but plenty of plush Merlot fruit in evidence too. This variety really succeeded in 2012. It gives a forward and attractive aspect. There is elegance – this is not a set of blockbuster wines by any means – but the balance and harmony is striking. The vintage clearly plays to the virtues of the appellation. Early maturing Margaux for sure, these wines are generally more homogeneous and enjoyable for me than 2006, 2007, probably 2008, and certainly 2011 and 2013.
The Margaux appellation has struggled more than most in 2013. A great many wines tasted at the Union des Grand Crus tasting were in a kind of no-man’s land. The delicate fruit tones of 2013 had been worked too much in quite a few cases, rendering them chewy and extracted yet with puckering levels of acidity. Some very good wines have still been made. I’ve posted separately on Château Margaux and Château Palmer. Both stand out as beacons of hope but neither are what you might call affordable. Elegant efforts from Château Angludet, Château Giscours and Château du Tertre are pure and vigorous and worth considering if you’re a Margaux fan [like me]. Château Rauzan-Ségla and Château Brane-Cantenac, Château d’Issan and Château Lascombes, should also work out well too. The disappointments seem more to do with approaches to the vintage in the cellar as much as the problems that 2013 presented itself. In some respects many of the Margaux wounds are self-inflicted.
As a commune Margaux 2011 was all-over-the-shop during primeurs week eighteen months ago. Just how are the wines now they are in bottle? Many have settled, some nicely, others not quite so well, and a number are as disappointing as they originally were. Margaux of course is a large and heterogeneous appellation with a wide variety of terroirs and blends but I’m not sure this explains the differences. For me it’s more the jumble of winemaking styles found here than in the other prestige left bank appellations.
Overall a surprisingly homogeneous and really encouraging set of wines that confirms, for me at least, that the Margaux commune probably out-performs St Estèphe, Pauillac and St Julien in 2012 in terms of consistency, delicacy and drinkability. Early maturing certainly but not in the under-ripe, hollow sense. There is genuine lushness in many of the wines, layers of ripe, velvety fruit provided by the beautiful Merlot that the vintage produced. It combines nicely with the tighter, admittedly fresher, but rarely angular or green Cabernet Sauvignon. The combination works well. Given the right pricing [critical] the best are seriously worth considering. Certainly they are a far better set of wines overall than in 2011.
There’s some variation in Margaux 2010 as you’d expect from this diverse commune, though there is greater consistency here than in some years. It’s a large appellation with a great variety of terroirs and winemaking styles and this, as ever, accounts for these differences. The density, tannin and grip of 2010 are very present here in almost all the wines. Some lack the fruit to match the density [or is it that match the winemaking?] but others have produced very good, serious, intense wines, which look long-term bets. There’s not as much joy in the best as there was in 2009 but you’d really need to see the wines sat side-by-side to gauge precisely. I guess I could think of other appellations that I’d stock up with first in 2010, but that’s not to say that there are not wines to seek out here in Margaux.