Decanter’s next virtual masterclass features the truly magnificent and iconic wines of Bordeaux First Growth, Château Margaux.
Jane Anson, Decanter’s Bordeaux correspondent and author of Bordeaux Legends, a history of the 1855 First Growths, will be joined by Château Margaux managing director Philippe Bascaules to discuss what makes the wines so revered and how the estate became celebrated as one of the greatest in the region.
The tasting will begin with two vintages of Château Margaux’s acclaimed second wine Pavillon Rouge, the rich, nuanced, bright and fresh 2015 and fragrant, well-balanced, layered 2010. The inclusion of a third wine in the estate’s portfolio from the mid-1990s allowed for a more rigorous selection for Pavillon Rouge and attendees will see close flavours and balance, as well as the same subtle senses of power and softness, found in the grand vin. These will be followed by three vintages of Château Margaux’s grand vin - the 2006, 2001 and 1996 - each at different stages of their evolution showcasing all the qualities the château has to offer. The tasting will end with the spectacular Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux 2017, one of the very best vintages of this renowned white wine.
These wines gather a combination of characteristics that are rarely found in just one wine: the incomparable perfume of their bouquet, their finesse, elegance, depth, complexity, length, graceful tannins and incomparable ageing capacity.
Don’t miss what promises to be a truly unforgettable and unique experience exploring the epitome of elegance that is Château Margaux.
Date: Friday 25 June 2021
Time: 19:00 – 20:30 BST
Hosts: Philippe Bascaules (Château Margaux) and Jane Anson (Decanter)
Ticket types and price: £345 (including wine samples - UK only), £10 (link only - wines samples not included)
Click here for more information about ticket types
The Wines (in tasting order)
- Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux 2015
- Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux 2010
- Château Margaux, Margaux, 1er Cru Classé, Bordeaux, 2006
- Château Margaux, Margaux, 1er Cru Classé, Bordeaux, 2001
- Château Margaux, Margaux, 1er Cru Classé, Bordeaux, 1996
- Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux 2017
Château Margaux has sought to achieve excellence in its wines for over 400 years through prolonged studies of its terroir. There is also a constant desire to learn and innovate, by remaining sensitive to demanding markets, and above all, through a passionate commitment that has been shared by the families that have succeeded each other at the estate.
History and Ownership
Taking a brief gallop through the illustrious history of Margaux, the estate can trace its heritage back to the 12th century, when it was known as La Mothe de Margaux. It was owned by a series of wealthy lords, but vines were not seriously planted (or assembled by one owner) until the 16th century, when renowned owner Olive de Lestonnac’s father Pierre began buying local plots. There it became part of the nascent elite ‘First Growths’ - long before being established by the 1855 Bordeaux Classification.
It was one of the first Bordeaux châteaux to export its wines under its own name, and was regularly making an appearance at the London auctions of Christie’s in the early 18th century. Vine cuttings were sent from Château Margaux (and Château Haut-Brion) to Pennsylvania, where they were experimenting with planting vineyards, just after the French Revolution, not long after Thomas Jefferson’s famed visit.
Today, current owner Corinne Mentzelopoulos, supported by her team led by Philippe Bascaules, and following in her father’s footsteps, devotes her time and energy to radiating her enthusiasm for this wine, whose name is synonymous with greatness, balance and harmony. She was joined by her daughter Alexandra Petit-Mentzelopoulos in 2012 and her son Alexis Leven-Mentzelopoulos at the beginning of 2020.
Vineyard and Wines
The vineyards of Château Margaux cover 87 hectares and are situated on soils that are mostly gravel but also clay-limestone, the diversity of which is certainly partly responsible for the complexity of the wines they produce.
The first wine, Château Margaux, which makes around one third of the total crop, is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (at least 85%), Merlot (between 5-10%),Petit Verdot (around 2%) and a little Cabernet Franc (around 2%).
These proportions vary according to the vintage, but Cabernet Sauvignon always remains very predominant, as the “body and soul” of the estate’s wine.
On average over the last five years, the estate has produced 120,000 bottles of Château Margaux and 100,000 bottles of Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux (the renowned second wine) per year.
In addition to this, from a gravel plot of approximately 12 hectares, Château Margaux has been producing around 10,000 bottles of Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux per year, a highly-regarded white wine made solely from Sauvignon Blanc.
The estate’s third wine has been bottled since the 2009 vintage under the name of Margaux du Château Margaux, with an average production of 60,000 bottles.
Read Jane Anson’s Château Margaux producer profile here.
Jane Anson is Decanter’s Bordeaux correspondent and columnist and has lived in the region since 2003. She is the author of Inside Bordeaux (BB&R Publishing 2020), Wine Revolution, The Club of Nine and Bordeaux Legends, a history of the 1855 First Growth wines, as well as co-author or translator of over a dozen wine and travel books.
Jane has won several awards for her writing, including Louis Roederer Wine Online Communicator of the Year 2020, and Born Digital Best Editorial 2020.
She is a graduate of the DUAD tasting diploma with the Bordeaux Institute of Oenology and an accredited wine teacher at the Bordeaux École du Vin.
Born in the Landes region of southwest France, Philippe is an agricultural engineer and attended the École Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Montpellier writing his thesis on the working practices of the Bordeaux first growths.
He has intimate knowledge of Château Margaux, having been the estate’s chief operating officer from 1990 to 2011. Between 2011 and 2017 he was general manager of Napa Valley’s Inglenook.
Philippe then moved back to Château Margaux to take over as general manager in 2017 - where he succeeded the late Paul Pontallier, who held this position from 1989 to 2016.
After gaining such valuable international experience, Philippe is perfectly-positioned to lead the estate into the future. Supported by a loyal, skilled and experienced team, he makes a daily contribution to the continued tradition of excellence that has been pursued by Château Margaux for five centuries, while at the same time aiming for progress and innovation.