Château Margaux has produced one of the wines of the vintage in 2015, probably the wine of the vintage. It is seductive and beautifully balanced, displaying power and harmony. The tannins are silky and the wine has exceptional length. It is easily on par qualitatively with the 2009 and 2010 here. Only 35% of the crop has gone into the grand vin, and only 23% into what is probably the best ever Pavillon Rouge. This is remarkably strict selection in a vintage as special as this one in Margaux. The property has also produced an exceptional Pavillon Blanc, again undoubtedly among its finest. All the wines are a fitting tribute to the late, great Paul Pontallier.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Margaux’
So what are the principal characteristics of the Bordeaux 2015 vintage? Firstly there is a real beauty to the fruit tones in the red wines this year. Time after time, especially on the Right Bank but also on the Left I kept writing ‘beautiful,’ ‘pretty,’ and ‘delicious.’ There is freshness, despite pretty high alcohols in the main. The vintage is almost a hypothetical blend of 2009 and 2010, but with less evident structure and weight than those vintages. For me it recalls 1985 in terms of that vintage’s early beauty and freshness – and ‘85 remains in great shape today. But the 2015 vintage is by no means homogeneous. In fact there is considerable variability. What is in no doubt is that ‘15 is terrific in St Emilion. There is concentration and delight in so many wines there this year. It has also been strong vintage in the surrounding Côtes de Bordeaux appellation, especially Castillon and Francs.
Day three on primeurs week saw me start off in Margaux with an early morning tasting with Thomas Duroux at Château Palmer. There is great depth to Palmer in 2015. It looks to be an exciting vintage in the appellation. Though there is some variation in experience, Margaux, overall, had less of the September rain that dampened things further up the Haut-Médoc. An emotional trip to Château Margaux then beckoned. This was the first primeurs tasting in the château’s new Norman Foster designed chais and winemaking facility. Obviously it was also the first primeurs for thirty years or more unaccompanied by Paul Pontallier. It was an emotional experience. All the things he had worked for at Margaux had come true – an impressive new cellar and a beautiful wine in 2015 – a fitting epitaph for a fine man.
The death of Paul Pontallier, director of Château Margaux, has cast an undoubted shadow over the primeur tastings that will take place next week. Aged 59, he died this Easter Monday of cancer. When André Mentzelopoulos bought Margaux in 1976, at a time when it was seriously underperforming, he had the wisdom to engage Emile Peynaud as consultant. It is said that he told Peynaud “I want you to make me the best wine in the world.” To which Peynaud replied: “Give me the best grapes in the world and I will make you the best wine in the world.” Or words to that effect. It was Peynaud’s young protégé Paul Pontallier, who came to Margaux in 1983, who was largely responsible for achieving that goal, with the unswerving support of the current owner Corinne (daughter of André Mentzelopoulos).