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.
Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Rauzan-Gassies’
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.
As you’d expect given the diversity of terroir in the Margaux appellation in 2008 things are more heterogeneous than in St Estèphe, Pauillac or St Julien. Once again the wines were a subdued bunch and only a handful sang on the day at the MW Institute 2008 tasting. Quite a few felt over-extracted relative to their fruit – this was surely not the vintage to be turbocharging – and neither does it play to the commune’s strengths, the beauty and elegance that mark the finest wines.