By Will Gardener
On Tuesday last week I was among the privileged few to be invited to a celebration and inaugural viewing of the new facilities at Chateau Margaux. Designed by Norman Foster, the new Chais with high tech laboratory and wine library boasting 800,000 bottles, is a triumph and one which the Mentzelopulous’s and key influences at Bordeaux’s most charismatic estate are very proud.
Corinne spoke movingly of the construction process which began with a chance meeting with Sir Norman six years earlier, assured that her father would have been delighted with the deft complement the extension had made to the existing estate. Her comment that Sir Norman had avoided an egotistical venture, was poignant; blending the topography so subtly that one hardly noticed the difference. This graceful approach of course epitomises Margaux and contrasts that of other recent and similar projects in the region.On Tuesday last week I was among the privileged few to be invited to a celebration and inaugural viewing of the new facilities at Chateau Margaux. Designed by Norman Foster, the new Chais with high tech laboratory and wine library with 800,000 bottles, is a triumph and one which the Mentzelopulous’s and key influences at Bordeaux’s most charismatic estate are very proud.
Corinne took the reigns following her father Andre’s death in 1980. He had fallen in love with the beauty and architectural splendour of the Chateau. The striking Neo-Palladian columns were said to remind him of home, and he bought the Chateau in 1977.
Krug Grande Cuvee – From Magnum
This was the perfect accompaniment to the wonderful hors d’oeuvres. Great freshness combined with intense citrus and ripe gamey, savoury and honeyed notes. Powerful but very delicate and layered. Really lovely. 94/100
Pavilion Blanc de Margaux 2012
Pale lemon, instant freshness of green fruit on the nose, with a hint of pear and tropical notes, it is subtle though the minerality shines through, the palate is fresh even piercing, with its youthful citrus, but the sweetness of the fruit kicks in and calms it down. Long pure and direct on the finish. This is still a baby but enjoyable even so. 92/100
Good deep plum, there is a touch of aging here, the nose is very serious and strong in a seductive way, deep intense, cedar with black fruits, the palate is again fresh and youthful but now it has a lot of breath with stylistic etching coming through, it is really quite profound for me with mega promise. It has earthy, even a rustic edge but you feel that will fade into a totally charming engrossing expression of Margaux, and slightly outplays the 1996 on this occasion. Brilliant wine. 98/100
The colour is paler at the rim with more obvious aging, more stewed notes here, just a little funky on the nose, may not be the best bottle. Plenty of spice too. The palate is very good though, lots of texture and spice again, the sweetness of the black fruit coming through, purity lots of fine grain tannin holding it up, it is lovely on the the finish too, very long. This is a fine Margaux but I think it was outshone by the 2000 and I have had better bottles of this amazing wine. 96/100
1985 Chateau Margaux
The nose here is very elevated maybe even a bit fresher than the 1996 today. Lots of classic cedar and almond notes. This is fresh again on the palate, lots of spice on the finish. The texture is extraordinary, and the vigour true to the colour, impressive. Super length. Great poise, an excellent bottle for sure and no hurry to drink up on this showing. 97/100
Quite a full colour approaching marmalade now, the nose is full on, again marmalade, raisin lemon zest, quite lovely. The balance shines on the palate, plenty of freshness bolstering the richness of the tangerine and crime brûlée notes. Long and silky finish. 93/100
The combination of a perfect summer evening, magical surroundings, cuisine orchestrated by Three Star Michelin Chef Guy Savoy and the world’s greatest wines, makes this event unique for me in my thirty years in the wine trade and one I’ll never forget!