Overall, 2016 looks to be an impressive, comparatively homogenous vintage in Margaux in quality terms. This is something of an achievement in this large, heterogenous appellation. In recent tastings I’ve found the appellation more consistent than it was a decade ago. It is a large commune with varied soils and blends, so sometimes it feels one is comparing apples and oranges but, on the whole, the winemaking today seems gentler and less overly extractive than before. Likewise, new oak levels have come down. There is more emphasis on purity of fruit expression in the wines which is a good thing. So, what were the picks of the wines shown by the MW Institute? The line-up lacked Château Palmer, but Château Margaux [pictured left during primeurs in spring 2017] was there in all it’s glory. It has made fabulous wine in 2016. Not far behind though is a magnificent effort from Château Brane Cantenac and there is also a very strong wine from Château Rauzan Ségla.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau d’Issan’
Seventeen wines from the Margaux appellation in 2010 were shown by the MW Institute late last year. While there’s variation, generally the wines shown were very impressive. They have vivid fruit characters and show attractive tension and freshness. Once again there is more structure, grip and tannin evident in the wines than in 2009 so, in general, these 2010s need more time in bottle to show their best. At the top end Château Margaux [pictured here] has produced a 2010 every bit as good as its 2009. It is a fabulous effort. This is closely followed by an extremely plush and concentrated wine from Château Palmer, perhaps even better than their glorious 2009? Château Brane-Cantenac and Château Giscours are both beautiful. They show depth, purity and elegance. Château Lascombes is typically lush and forward while at the other end of the scale Château Rauzan-Ségla is dense and long term. Structured, balanced wines have also been made at Château Durfort-Vivens, Château Ferrière, Château Kirwan and Château du Tertre. Château Prieuré-Lichine and Château Rauzan-Gassies are full and gutsy.
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.
There’s always a degree of heterogeneity in the Margaux appellation. It’s one of Bordeaux’s largest with a variety of terriors and approaches. Still the 2009 vintage here seems to get a little more harmonious each time I return to it. Some of those wines that felt disjointed have settled in bottle. A few remain as over-wrought and over-worked as they did early on but, as you’d expect from an appellation that can really seduce, there are some beauties here in 2009. The highlights? Château Rauzan-Ségla is a first growth in all but name. It has terrific power. Château Palmer, qualitatively a premier cru year in year out, has produced another powerful wine. And bona fide first growth Château Margaux is unsurpassed in 2009. It is one of the wines of the vintage. Further down the chain, there are attractive, good value wines to be had too.