Located at the centre of the AOC that shares its name, Château Margaux - historically referred to as La Mothe de Margaux (The Margaux Mound) on account of its elevation - is a two-hundred-and-fifty hectare estate responsible for some of the world’s most celebrated red wines. Two fifths of its area is dedicated to the vine, with eighty-seven hectares for red varieties and twelve for the cultivation of Sauvignon Blanc grapes which are vinified to form the property’s only white offering, Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux.
Typical of Margaux AOC and all of the left bank appellations, Cabernet Sauvignon reigns supreme on the estate’s unique terroir of free-draining coarse and fine gravel with chalky clay sub-soils. The principal grape accounts for 75% of all plantings, and whilst it varies with each vintage, generally constitutes between 85% and 90% of the final blend. Merlot is planted on 20% of the property’s plots with the remainder comprised of the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot varieties. These three supporting grapes make up the final 10% - 15% of the Grand Vin in various proportions depending on the particular conditions of each year.
As well as its Premier Grand Cru Classé Grand Vin, Margaux produces two further red wines (Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux and Margaux du Château Margaux) as well as the afore mentioned white. Each are the result of careful practice and precision in both the vineyard and the cellar, with pruning, planting, ploughing and protecting the vines from the threat of viticultural hazards all essential at various times of the year. Thinning of fruits from certain vines to encourage ripening of the best clusters is also key, as well as the importance of good trellising to avoid entanglement in such densely planted plots (vines are planted at a density of 10,000 plants per hectare as is the norm for Bordeaux’s elite estates). In the winery, the same meticulous, attention to detail continues with stringent fruit selection, fermentation in temperature controlled vats and ageing in new oak for a period of eighteen to twenty-four months, with racking taking place at three / four month intervals.
An average year at Château Margaux sees 130,000 bottles of the Grand Vin, around 100,000 of Pavillon Rouge and 40,000 of Margaux. The mono-varietal white gives approximately 10,000 bottles each vintage and is sold under the Bordeaux AOC label. For the last ten years, the estate has also produced a fourth wine which is not bottled, but instead sold in bulk to various Bordeaux wine merchants.
Centred on the neo-palladian château built in the 1800s and nicknamed ‘The Versailles of the Médoc’ on account of its grandeur, the reputation of Château Margaux’s wines has been secured over the centuries such that it continues to stand firm as one of the world’s preeminent red wines. Known to have been a favourite of former US President Thomas Jefferson - who remarked on placing an order for the wine in 1784 that ‘There couldn’t be a better Bordeaux’ - the Grand Vin of Châteaux Margaux, with its unique combination of power, finesse, complexity and freshness, has few equals.