O Produtor, tasting note published in June 22nd 1905
Bottled very late (November 1997), the 1995 continued to bear fruit, evolving into one of the great classics made under Mentzelopoulos. The colour is ruby/purple opaque. The nose offers aromas of liquorice and smoky, sweet new oak mixed with black fruit jam, liquorice and minerals. The wine is medium to full-bodied, with extraordinary richness, fabulous balance, and heavy tannins on the finish. It is user-friendly and approachable. This is an exciting Margaux that will always be smoother and more evolved than its broader-shouldered brother, the 1996. How fascinating it will be to follow the evolution of these two vintages over the next half century.
It owes its unique qualities to the genius of its terroir, as well as to the passionate work of a succession of generations. It is a remarkable wine that comes from a combination of characteristics that are only rarely found: finesse, elegance, complexity, density, intensity, length and freshness. Although its tannic concentration may be exceptional, it is rare to detect astringency.
The great vintages are distinguished by their formidable capacity to move us. The smaller vintages give pleasure to sensible enthusiasts. They offer the advantage of evolving very quickly and, after a few years, they reveal, rather than power, this subtlety which is the prerogative of the great terroirs.
Château Margaux has an extraordinary capacity to evolve. Over the years, it has developed a delicacy, an aromatic complexity and a remarkable presence on the palate. The wine is aged for 15 months in 10% new oak and 90% second use barrels. Due to the particularities of the vintage, Cabernet Sauvignon made up 88% of the blend, with Merlot making up only 12% of the blend. It is important to note that the wine is kept in bottle until ready to drink, which may not mean that the vintages are available sequentially.
Château Margaux is one of Bordeaux’s most famous wine estates, located east of Margaux itself in the Médoc. Along with Lafite, Latour and Haut-Brion, it was classified as a first growth in Bordeaux’s original 1855 Classification of the Médoc. Generally, Margaux is regarded as the most elegant of the first growths and is consistently one of the world’s most expensive wines. La Mothe de Margaux existed as a separate estate in the 12th century, and was established as a wine estate in the 1570s when Médoc farmers began to abandon cereal crops in favour of vines. In 1705, the London Gazette announced the first auction of 230 barrels of ‘Margose’, and in 1787 Thomas Jefferson made his famous visit to Bordeaux and identified Margaux as one of ‘four first-rate vineyards’. In 1800, the estate occupied 265 hectares (655 acres) with a third planted with vines, which is still the situation today. The iconic Neopaladian castle, nicknamed “The Versailles of the Médoc”, was built in the early 19th century to match the vineyard’s reputation.
The vineyards of Château Margaux have a complex combination of soils that are unique to the region. These consist of limestone clay under a top layer of coarse and fine gravel, which is well suited to Cabernet Sauvignon, which accounts for around 75 per cent of the plantings. Merlot makes up another 20 per cent, with the rest planted to Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. As is typical of top Bordeaux estates, the vineyard is densely planted at 10,000 vines per hectare. There are also 12 hectares (30 acres) of Sauvignon Blanc to make Margaux’s white offering, Pavillon Blanc, which should be sold as Bordeaux AOP, not Margaux. The red wines are fermented in a mixture of traditional wooden and stainless steel vats; the great wine sees aging for between 18 and 26 months in new oak barrels.