Wine Words & Video Tape

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Château Durfort-Vivens

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Address: 3 rue General de Gaulle, 33460 Margaux

Telephone: +33 [0]5 57 88 31 02



Potentially one of the finest Margaux, Château Durfort-Vivens was classified as a second growth in 1855. In 1961 Lucien Lurton bought the property and Gonzague Lurton inherited the estate from his father in 1992. The wines tasted recently seem good, although they do take a few years to put on weight, testament possibly to the relatively high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. Generally the wines offer very good value and this is fresh elegant Margaux with life and bite, if not with the opulence of some of the other chateaux in the appellation. In some vintages Château Durfort-Vivens can seem a little lean in comparison to its peers. The 2009, 2010 and 2012 look good here. 2016 is in a league of its own.

Vineyard: 55 hectares spread over three communes, Margaux, Cantenac and Soussans. Poor gravel. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and 24% Merlot planted at a density of between 6600 and 7700 vines per hectare. Yield 37-40 hl/ha.

Winemaking/Elévage: Batch fermentation of parcels in wooden and concrete vats, followed by 18-22 months ageing in French oak barrels, 35-45% new each year.

  • 2012 Deep and fresh looking; sappy blackcurrant; little reductive note; good palate with blackcurrant fruit in a spicy style; sufficient flesh here. Elegant and vigorous Bordeaux. Round tannins. Drink 2017-2028. 89+ UGC Oct ’14
  • 2011 Mid depth; fresh and spicy Cabernet tones; quite lifted; spicy blackcurrant notes on the palate; fresh acid. Vibrant and elegant if high toned. Drink 2016-2026 87+ UGC Oct ’13
  • 2010 Deepish and fresher looking [more vibrancy]; some Cabernet Franc tones; blackcurrant cassis and Ribena notes; some cherry tones; quite measured palate with blackcurrant and plum tones with attractive tension between the fruit, the acidity and structure. Not pushed. Intelligent wine. Drink 2016-2035. 91+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated looking; herbal, boiled sweet and red fruit nose; some menthol; a whiff of honey; quite briary fruit on the palate; spices, herbs and blackcurrants; nice purity; this is the best Durfort for a while. Very good effort.  Far improved from its en primeur showing. 90+/100 UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and saturated; super-ripe notes here plus a curious vegetal streak too; quite intense and blackcurrant, but feels a bit vegetal. Extract and intensity but rather herbal green note. Disappointing.  84-87?/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Deep, bit rasiny and cooked to me; thick and rather stewy; not me; some blackcurrant notes but feels terribly dry and tannic. I just don’t get the wine here this year. 84-87?/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC
  • 2009 Very deep core; red fruit lift; strawberry tones; ripe with resin; fruit on the palate; black fruits; quite elegant with nice saturation and flavour with good sap. Tannin nicely ripe. Good length here. More mid-weight and elegant than some but has come together well. Drink 2015-2030. 90+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Dense colour; ripe, jam and cassis; open palate, ripe red fruits, strawberry tones – almost Burgundian; some dryness to the tannin and the palate; a little medicinal note along with the red fruits. More settled and complete now than before despite tannin. 89-91/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Deep colour; up to edge; slightly dumb note initially later blackcurrant; bit brooding, some fragrance to the palate; violets and elegance; has balance and some tannin; chewy and good extract here; good to very good. Attractive Margaux; true to the commune. 90-92+/100 [Second] Slightly fresher and a little more lifted than the Desmirail; cassis and violets here too but less pronounced, palate intense; some extraction here; tannins a little dry but this is very well endowed with voluptuous fruit, more sturdy than the Desmirail, good extraction. 90-92+/100 [74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot 5% Cabernet Franc] Tasted 30th March & 1st April 2010.
  • 2008 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 MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Deep red black; red at edge; quite clean and positive on the nose; some earth; good palate, dense and tannic but should develop; slightly austere note but feels well-made. Lacks a bit of flesh. 86/100 UGC Oct ’10
  • 2007 Mid depth, quite dark at centre; dusty tannic nose; some spice and blackcurrants on the palate but lacks joy; angular and dry and tannin very dry and chewy. Not sure where this is headed? 84?/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier] Quite deep; up to edge; some candy; ripe; good palate, blackcurrants; quite supple and nicely layered palate; depth and concentration with tannins on the finish. Pretty good. 86+/100 UGC tasting Oct ‘09
  • 2006 Mid depth; ripeness here and more strawberry notes than the leafy quality of 2008, nevertheless [given the high cab content] there is some leafy Cabernet Franc notes – but nevertheless quite attractive; earth here too [gravelly style]; quite grippy and austere here on the palate; fresh yes but also a bit austere; ‘old fashioned’ I’ve written, and I mean this in the best sense I think… 86-88/100 MW Institute Nov ’10
  • 2005 Mid red; loser at the rim than Giscours; legs; attractive rose petal nose at first, violets; fragrant; cassis also here; seductive; plums and ripe cherry; more blackcurrants on the palate; quite medium weight; some tobacco and mocha notes with rose petal; good grip; elegant and intense with wonderful balance. Reminds me a little of Palmer though less hedonistic. True to Margaux. 92+/100 Sept ’09 
  • 2000 Mid red; blackcurrants, some spicy herbal notes; mid depth attractive blackcurrant flavours; mid weight wine. Nice balance. 88+/100 Dec ‘10

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