Jancis Robinson reported on her site this morning the very sad news of the untimely loss of Paul Pontallier, 59, the Managing Director of Château Margaux. Pontallier had worked at the estate since 1983 and was one of the leading figures in Bordeaux and of the wider world of wine. Erudite, cultured and always impeccably dressed (often in his trademark tweed jackets) Paul Pontallier, was never one to exaggerate the virtues of a vintage during the annual primeurs ‘shindig’. I remember his particularly frank account of the appalling conditions of the 2013 vintage for example and his embarrassment in having to describe 2010 as another great year, hot on the heels of 2009. First class in his analytical skills as well as in his winemaking/growing nouse, he will be sorely missed by everyone in the world of fine wine.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Margaux’
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.
At Château Margaux Paul Pontallier describes 2014 as very good for their reds, and a great year for the white Pavillon Blanc. Overall 2014 is certainly a classic vintage in the sense of elegance and proportion found in the wines and the attractive freshness that they display. It will probably vie with 2012 as the best vintage here since the heady days of 2009 and 2010. Time will tell. Pavillon Rouge is a structured, classic and fresh Margaux while Pavillon Blanc is indeed a beauty. It completes a thrilling set of highly successful back-to-back vintages for this label. Is it the best Pavillon Blanc ever? It’s probably the best I’ve tasted.
Tuesday’s 2014 primeurs tastings started at Château Palmer [pictured – but not in that weather – grey and drizzly] and continued with the UGC Margaux event at Château Dauzac. The wines generally showed a lot of very vivacious and attractive fruit with vibrant acidity and there was more homogeneity than usual. Palmer and Alter Ego looked good with plenty of texture and fruit. Château Margaux tasted later felt classical and proportional. Pavillon Blanc looks excellent [many of the 2014 whites are very good indeed]. Overall in Margaux there is much to compare with 2008 in terms of freshness and 2012 in terms of fruit, though more so, and at the top level 2014 appears to be better than both vintages. Tastings at the UGC event at Château Lamarque – where a large St Bernard was woofing at visitors from the ramparts of the château – were rewarding. There is a lot of fresh, juicy fruit and ripe tannin on display amongst the Haut-Médocs, and these should [hopefully] offer good value.