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2017 du Château Margaux

Grapes Sauv, Sémillon
Colour White
Origin France, Bordeaux
ABV 13.1%

Thankfully Margaux's plots of Sauvignon Blanc were saved from the frost due to a nifty sprinkler system. The early harvest (Aug 28th - Sept 5th) also meant the fruit was unaffected by late summer rains, while the cool nights helped retain acidity and a good balance of ripeness in the grapes. Estate manager Sébastien Vergne likened the vintage to 1996, the last time he felt there was a similar balance of concentration and acidity in the fruit. Whatever the comparison, the resulting wine is already quite open and showing plenty of rich and intense flavours of citrus, white peach and blossom. Despite that richness, the wine never appears flabby or loses 'zip'. The finish is strikingly long, fresh and beautifully defined. A 'wow' wine and certainly a prime candidate for best dry white in 2017. Drinking range: 2019 - 2027 L&S (Apr 2018)

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Margaux has a spraying system to combat frost at the Pavillon Blanc vineyard, but they lost a bit of production, with yields finishing at 22 hectoliters per hectare. The nose of the 2017 Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux is a little reticent to begin, giving way to beautiful white peach, grapefruit and lemongrass notes plus hints of mandarin peel, honeysuckle, baking bread and just a waft of ginger. The medium to full-bodied palate is very crisp and super intense, laden with citrus and stone fruit layers, coupled with a lovely satiny texture and plenty of weight without feeling heavy, finishing with incredible length and a lingering mineral note. Rating: 93-95 Lisa Perrotti-Brown, 2018)

The 2017 whites are in the same league as the 2015 yet are drastically different in style, showing more freshness and minerality, while still being nicely concentrated. The 2017 Pavillon Blanc is a juicy, racy effort and offers a medium-bodied, vibrant, tight, salty style to go with classic notes of lemon, citrus, mint, and ample minerality. Drink it over the coming 15-20 years. Rating: 93-95 Jeb Dunnuck, 2018)

This is very powerful with a super aftertaste of chalk, limestone, and crush sea shells. Full body, layered with phenolic texture that resembles a sleek red. Yet it’s fresh vivid all the time like the excellent white it is. The white pepper character combined with dried citrus is fabulous. Rating: 97-98 James Suckling, 2018)

Always 100% Sauvignon Blanc. But a complex blend of barrels. Nine months in barrel, 20–25% new oak. 40% of the crop went into this wine, the rest sold in bulk. Perfect conditions for the whites in 2017, according to estate manager Sébastien Vergne. They want the wine to be fat and creamy in the mouth but to keep the finish fresh and the hallmark scent of honeysuckle. Fermentation starts in tank, then the wine goes into barrel until a month before bottling. pH 3.1. Slightly higher alcohol than last year but also lower pH. Very scented, intense citrus but also finely floral. Really floral. Peachy. Full in the mouth and great acid tension leaving the mouth clean. A floral scent on the palate too but it is quite delicate. There's a gentle creaminess and a slight lees grip yet the intensity is fruit-driven. Long and complete and just a light saltiness on the finish. Drinking range: 2020 - 2030 Rating: 17.5 Julia Harding MW, 2018)

This is, as always, 100% Sauvignon Blanc. It was cropped at just 22 hl/ha, the harvest running from August 28th and September 5th. The nose is impressive, filled with aromatic guava, peach and lychee fruits. The fruit on the palate is broad, ripe, and filled with exotic fruits, showing a really broad phenolic grip, with a rich bed of textural and phenolic substance. It has lots of bitter grip, a very fresh lift, and a very gentle core of central acidity. I like the depth and the substance, and the acidity is nicely inserted, but it shows a slightly sleepy repose through the middle of the palate. A very fine example of Pavillon Blanc, but it misses the exciting cut that pure Sauvignon Blanc can offer beyond the boundaries of Bordeaux. Rating: 93-95 Chris Kissack, 2018)

Château Margaux

1855 classification - Premier Grand Cru Classé Margaux, originally La Mothe de Margaux, has a long history dating back to at least the 12th Century. By the 17th Century, Margaux was widely recognised for the quality of their wines - in 1771 Château Margaux was the first wine sold by Christies, and Thomas Jefferson bought some Margaux when he was Ambassador to France. The French Revolution was a turbulent time for Margaux but, by the turn of the 19th Century, the estate was in the hands of the Basque Marquis de la Colonilla who's singular contribution was to build the château that we see today. Margaux's reputation was recognised by the 1855 classification which placed it among the elite group of Premier Grand Cru Classés. By the 1960's, however, Margaux was trading as much on reputation as anything else and a run of poor vintages in the 1970's led Margaux to be sold. This was its salvation, for the purchaser was André Mentzelpoulos who, despite some rumblings of discontent locally at such a grand property falling into "foreign" hands, poured in investment, replanting the vineyards, building a new underground cellar and renovating the château. Also more than renovated was Margaux's reputation as one of Bordeaux's leading estates, a reputation it now richly deserves, still under the benevolent eye of the Mentzelpoulos family. Château Margaux is a large estate, running to nearly 265ha, although under vine there are only 82ha. For red wines the vines are 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Merlot with smaller plantings of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Wines are fermented and aged in barrels made at Margaux's own cooperage, the reds spending up to two years in wood. The second wine of the estate is Pavillon Rouge de Château Margaux which has been produced since the 19th Century, making it among the longest established of such wines. Château Margaux also produce a very successful white wine - Pavillon Blanc de Château Margaux - 100% Sauvignon Blanc, aged in wood for six months. This is classified as AOC Bordeaux as there is no appellation for white Margaux.

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