Text: Ivy Tsang
The history of Chateau Margaux dates back almost one thousand years ago! It was known as “La Mothe de Margaux” which could be used by the royalty in the 12th century. Vineyards were not part of the estate. It was then restructured and rebuilt by Pierre de Lestonnac, the owner of Margaux from 1572 to 1582, who also introduced vine growing and wine making at Margaux.
By the end of the 17th century, under the lead of the d’Auledes family, the estate grew to 265 hectares, of which one third is grown with vines for wine making. Up till now, Margaux has almost the same size with 80 hectares of vines. The size does no change much until now, which you seldom find in the other Bordeaux wineries.
In the beginning of 18th century, a wine maker named Berlon made some changes and improved the wine quality a lot. He was the first one to vinify the red and white grapes separately. He also never picked the grapes in the morning cos the morning dew dilutes the must. He was also one of the pioneer wine makers who understood the importance of soil and terroir. The wine was so amazing that Chateau Margaux took the name from the appellation. Chateau Margaux is still the only Bordeaux winery to carry the name of its appellation.
With the rise in quality, Chateau Margaux moved into the golden era. Not just being the first “claret” to appear in a Christie’s catalogue in 1771, Thomas Jefferson, who was the US Ambassador to France at that time, bought some Margaux 1784 and commented “There couldn’t be a better Bordeaux bottle”. Owners changed in the middle just like the other Bordeaux estates. The current owner is Ms. Corinne Mentzelopoulos.
Chateau Margaux is said to be the most elegant and perfumed Bordeaux, even among the first growth. Typically, it has the dark berry fruits and floral notes like violets and lilacs, with the hint of spice like cigar box and tobacco. 2007 is not a great vintage in Bordeaux. However, if you would like to have a taste of Margaux, mediocre vintage might be a choice if you do not want to spend almost double the price for the great vintages. When we say mediocre year, it does not really mean mediocre for the first growth. Perhaps it can be drunk earlier! Even for vintage 2007, Robert Parker rated it 92 points with the drinking window until 2035. Worth a try!