Château Margaux 2015 (OWCx1)
Some people are drawn to wines for their stories. They believe the tales associated with each vintage are just as important as the contents inside each bottle. If you love a good comeback story as much as a good bottle of wine, you will love Château Margaux.
The history of Château Margaux is one of innovation and countless winemaking “firsts.” In the 17th Century, the château was the first to consider terroir’s effect on certain varietals and vinifying white and red grapes separately. Château Margaux also pioneered “night picking,” the practice of picking grapes later in the day to get the fullest, most concentrated expression of fruit. The château was rightfully designated a Ffirst Ggrowth in the 1855 Classification -- the only estate to receive a perfect score of 20/20.
During the economic crisis of Bordeaux in the 1960s and 1970s, Château Margaux suffered due to mismanagement and financial constraints. Its name was tarnished and was for sale for over two years before its was acquired by André Mentzelopoulos, a Greek supermarket magnet who fell in love with the gorgeous Neoclassical architecture of the estate. After his passing in 1980, his French-born and educated daughter, Corinne, inherited the estate and proceeded to make substantial improvements to the property.
Initially, Corinne worked with the general manager already in place. In 1983, she appointed the young professional Paul Pontallier as general manager to lead new efforts to renovate the vineyard. Paul led the construction of a new cellar. He was general manager for over 30 years until his premature death from cancer. The last vintage Paul supervised, the vintage of 2015, became the most storied vintage in Chateau Margaux’s recent history. It garnered 100 pts, a perfect score, from influential critics.
Château Margaux currently hosts 192.7 acres of vines that are on average 35 years old. It produces roughly 400,000 bottles of wine a year. The vineyards are painstakingly tended to by hand, and the grapes that go into the Grand Vin are organically farmed. Red varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc are planted on the white gravely soil. Château Margaux also produces one of the most well-respected white wines in the entire Médoc -- Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux. This enchanting stunner is composed of entirely 100% Sauvignon Blanc and dazzles with its fruity depth and subtly herbal, oaky qualities.
Château Margaux produces some of the most ravishing, multidimensionally rich and balanced wines in all of Bordeaux. They are known for their sensuously opulent bouquets of black currents, violets, and spicy vanilla.
During the 1980s, many claimed that the best wine in all of Bordeaux was from Château Margaux and these claims were not unfounded. Curiosity is integral to the spirit of Château Margaux – and those in charge have learned from past issues that in the pursuit of sustained excellence, complacency is not an option. The story of Château Margaux is of redemption, and proof that with determination and efforts, one can bounce back from struggle.
2015 At A Glance
The 2015 vintage was an exceptional year, benefitting from optimum weather conditions. It was widely regarded the year of Margaux, as the appellation was the top performer of all of Médoc.
Never before has Château Margaux made a departure from its usual label. With the unusual bottle design, Proprietor Corinne Mentzelopoulos intended to pay a tribute to an exceptional year, two centuries of architecture and to Paul Pontallier, who died of cancer before the last vintage he supervised could be bottled. Mr. Pontallier had made such an impact on the estate, which he joined in 1983, at the age of 34, and assumed its general management from 1989 to his untimely death in March 2016.
The 2015 vintage also celebrates the bicentenary of Château Margaux’s exceptional Neo-Palladian architecture built in 1815. Rarely seen in France, this stunning building was listed as an historical monument in 1946. Proprietor Corinne Mentzelopoulos had entrusted to Norman Foster (the famed British architect whose works included: Apple Park, Hong Kong Airport, Beijing Airport, Bloomberg Headquarters, Wembley Stadium) the design of new buildings including cellars, an underground vinotheque, and a research and development centre. These new buildings were inaugurated in 2015.
The Limited Edition bottles of Château Margaux 2015 are decorated with silk-screen printing. This has been specially created and fixed on the glass in place of the usual labels on the bottles, magnums, double magnums, imperials and balthazars. The silk-screen printing faithfully mirrors the image embodied by Château Margaux. The Château and the cellars are superimposed in grey and gold. Additionally, two lines of silk-screen printing at the bottom of the bottle pay tribute to Paul Pontallier and on the back, to two centuries of architecture. With the Wine Advocate estimating the life of this legendary wine lasting more than 50 years, this is a bottle made for collectors who will have a story to tell for many decades to come.
"The 2015 Château Margaux is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, all together representing 35% of the total production at the estate. Raised entirely in new oak, it has a lucid garnet color. The bouquet is aimed directly at the senses - there is no dilly-dallying about, as it almost knocks you off your stool with its intense mineralité embroidered into this iridescent, graphite-tinged nose. The focus and penetration here ranks among the finest that I have tasted at this estate since first coming here in 1997. The palate is astonishingly well balanced, perfectly poised with super-fine tannins wrapped around pure blackberry, bilberry, graphite and cedar fruit. Like the Pavillon Rouge this year, there is a Pauillac-like sense of authority and aristocracy, leavened by Margaux-inspired femininity that completes that standout 2015 on the Left Bank. Beg for a bottle and worry about the cost later. Post script: I composed this tasting note five days before the passing of Paul Pontallier. It is a final gift from a gifted winemaker." - Neal Martin, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/27/2016, Issue 224), Ratings: 98-100, Drink: 2026-2070
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