Margaux du Château Margaux 2011
Today’s Château Margaux and Pavillon Rouge as a percentage of the estate’s total production are often equivalent to the production of just Château Margaux
from 30 years ago. Starting with the great vintage of 2009 it was clear that there were high quality vineyards producing high quality fruit that while not quite at the level of today’s Pavillon Rouge, were still of a level that would make Château Margaux proud to put their name on the label. Thus a selection of the top lots for a third wine was done, and a fourth wine was therefore produced (and sold off in bulk).
This wine was produced to allow consumers an entry to Château Margaux. The style of the wine and the timing of the release are intended so that the wine can drink when a vintage is launched. Because it is 100% estate, production will not grow, and is quite limited at 2-3,000 cases produced each vintage.
The estate has 200 acres under vine. Each plot and each variety are treated differently from pruning throughout the growing season. Chateau Margaux’ goal is to nurture and maintain vines for as long as possible, as they believe vines need to reach 20 years of age to produce great wine. The estate is constantly trying to understand through experimentation how to improve soil health and fruit quality. Today, no insecticides are used, there is an important balance of healthy insects to counter pests, and any number of experiments with ploughing, organic farming, and biodynamic applications are ongoing. A final key point to note, Margaux has for the last 30+ years had among the lowest yields in the Medoc.
The wine was aged for 15 months, in 10% new oak and 90% second use barrels. Cabernet Sauvignon made up 55% of the blend, with Merlot 45% of the blend. Importantly, the wine was held in bottle until ready to drink, which meant that it was released after the 2013 vintage.
This vintage benefited from a summery climate in April and May, hotter and drier than normal. June, July and August were cool but dry, and amplified the phenomenon of drought conditions, most notably in the extremely low yields, the lowest in 20 years.
The vast majority of vines reached perfect ripeness, resulting in not only an excellent Grand Vin and Pavillon Rouge but a very fine Margaux du Château Margaux, as well.
These wines are the fruit of a rigorous selection process. Indeed, all grapes from the youngest vines, which suffered considerably from the summer drought, were downgraded into a fourth selection sold in bulk.
This wine is remarkably concentrated — one of the benefits of the prolonged drought — and needed time for its imposing tannic structure to round out and soften. In keeping with the desire to not market this wine until it is ready to drink, it was delayed until 2019.
A lovely ruby color, this wine is imbued with harmonious oak notes and is floral and fruity on the nose. It is dense, powerful and lingering on the palate, yet unfailingly balanced, thanks to its remarkable freshness.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot