Château Durfort-Vivens 2016

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• Domaine: Château Durfort-Vivens
• Appellation: Margaux
• Classification: Second Growth, 2ème Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Left Bank, Bordeaux, France

Château Durfort-Vivens is a Second Growth estate in Margaux appellation.  It is owned by Lucien Lurton.  After a period of relative obscurity, Durfort-Vivens rebounded significantly with successful vintages in the 2010s and major innovations at the estate.  In 2018, biodynamic farming practices led to an extremely low yield wine which was a gamechanger for the estate in terms of quality and critical acclaim.  That special vintage was hailed by the famed French wine critics, Bettane & Desseauve predicted their grand vin to be a, “future cult wine.”  Since 2018, the loyal and devoted following of the estate continues to grow with each passing vintage.  Due to their painstaking obsession with terroir, constant periods of self-reflection, and unique winemaking techniques, Durfort-Vivens is a perfect example of an estate changing the tides of fortune in their favor.  

Like many estates, Château Durfort-Vivens was named after previous owners.  The Durfort family were nights from Quercy in the 11th Century.  In 1450, Thomas de Durfort became the Lord of Margaux.  Four centuries later, Viscount Robert Labat de Vivens inherited the estate, and thus the name Durfort-Vivens was given to the property in 1824.  Durfort-Vivens achieved critical acclaim and in 1844 created a remarkable vintage that sold at a higher price than any château in all of Bordeaux. A little over ten years later, they were ranked as a Second Growth Estate during Napoleon’s 1855 Classification. The American President and oenophile Thomas Jefferson categorized the estate directly after Château Lafite Rothschild, Château Latour, and Château Margaux. Before the property was purchased by Lucien Lurton, the wines were made at Château Margaux. 

After a period of struggle, Durfort-Vivens fell out of critics' favor.  It wasn’t until 1992, when Gonzague Lurton became the owner of the property that Durfort-Vivens began to make some very important changes.  Under Lurton’s leadership, Château Durfort-Vivens modernized their cellar with new fermentation vats of cement, wood, and amphora. They currently use amphorae, or clay vessels, to age their wines in.  This is very unique to many of the estates in Bordeaux and lends their wine a highly sought-after freshness. 

Durfort-Vivens is also the first estate in all of Margaux to become 100% biodynamic which is a highly significant and rigorous process.  The estate received their Demeter Certification upon completion in 2016 and have set an important example for the other estates in Margaux.  Biodynamic viticulture is a holistic view of winemaking that involves zero manipulation of the wines at the estate.  Many Biodynamic wineries are their own unique ecosystems, where terroir is paramount to everything else.  At these wineries, one can often see cows on property to serve as organic sources of fertilizer.  Certain wineries make their own teas out of plants grown on the estate, such as nettle and chamomile, to protect the vines from pests.  Biodynamic viticulture also has more of an esoteric side, where harvest dates are chosen based off of the lunar calendar.

The winemaking team at Durfort-Vivien focuses on ripeness of fruit and concentration in their wines.  Each bottle of Durfort-Vivens has 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc.  Durfort-Vivens is in the midst of a renaissance; as the years progress, the wines receive more critical acclaim for each passing vintage.  They are, without a doubt, one of the ones to watch.

Tasting Notes

"The 2016 Durfort-Vivens is gorgeous. Cabernet Sauvignon aromatics and structure play off the natural intensity of the year beautifully. Blackberry, grilled herbs, licorice, leather and crème de cassis are all vividly sketched in this layered, expressive Margaux. Readers should expect a dark, exotic Margaux that stands a bit apart from the norm for the appellation." - Antonio Galloni,, (January, 2019), Rating: 93, Drink: 2024-2041

"The 2016 Durfort Vivens, which I tasted at a négoçiant tasting, is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Merlot, the vineyard now biodynamically farmed and Demeter approved. I have criticized this Margaux on previous occasions due to lack of ripeness, but certainly the nose does not display any of that. This 2016 comes armed with attractive blackberry, bilberry and sous-bois aromas that gradually unfurl in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with an insistent grip on the entry. The tannins feel quite bold for Durfort-Vivens, with plenty of sappy black fruit. I appreciate the acidic drive of this Margaux and the finish is energetic, full of tension and leaves a lovely, almost brine-like aftertaste. This is one of the best wines from Gonzalgue Lurton that I have tasted in recent years." - Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/28/2017, Issue 230), Ratings: 90-92, Drink: 2021-2042


More Information
Stock Status Out of Stock
Appellation Margaux
Vintage 2016
Brand Chateau Durfort-Vivens
Shipping Weight 3.000000
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Margaux is well known for its prime location in the Haut-Médoc subregion on the Left Bank along the Gironde estuary, which provides a temperate maritime climate and ideal conditions for grape cultivation. The cultivation of vines and wine production in Margaux can be traced back to Roman times. However, during the Middle Ages, the wine industry in Bordeaux began to take shape, and centuries later, Margaux continued to build its reputation as a premier wine appellation throughout the 20th century. 

Margaux is known for its diverse and complex terroir, with gravelly, sandy, and clay-rich soils. The gravelly soils provide excellent drainage and heat retention, particularly favorable for the ripening of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, the primary grape variety grown in Margaux.

Margaux is celebrated for producing elegant and refined red wines. These wines are often described as having a delicate and perfumed character, with aromas of blackcurrant, violets, and other red and black fruits. They are known for their balance, finesse, and exceptional aging potential.

The appellation gained international recognition for producing some of the world's finest wines. Its namesake champion, Château Margaux, was named in 1855 as one of the original First Growths (Premiers Crus). In addition, Margaux is home to these classified estates: Château Palmer, Château Rauzan-Ségla, Château Rauzan-Gassies, Château Durfort-Vivens, Château Lascombes, Château Brane-CantenacChâteau Giscours, Château Kirwan, Château d'Issan, Château Malescot St.-Exupery, Château Cantenac Brown, Château Desmirail, Château Ferriere, Château Marquis d'Alesme, Château Boyd-Cantenac, Château Prieuré-Lichine, Château Marquis de Terme, Château Dauzac.

Footnotes on Futures, Pre-Arrivals, and potential US Tariffs: 

1. As of June 15, 2021, the US and the EU agreed to suspend tariffs resulting from the Boeing-Airbus aircraft trade disputes. Accordingly, such import taxes are now suspended for the next five years.

2. Futures are expected to be available for delivery two years after the sales (e.g., the 2022 vintage, sold in 2023, will be delivered in 2025 mostly, or 2026 if the producer ages the wine longer).

3. Pre-Arrivals are items currently stored in our Bordeaux cellar or in transit from France to the US. It usually takes 1-6 months for Pre-Arrivals to become available for delivery, depending on the stage of the import process.

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