Chateau Margaux

Wine Producers » Chateau Margaux

Name: Chateau Margaux

Region: Medoc

Appellation: Margaux

Classification: First Growth

Average annual production: 12,500 cases

Grapes (Typical Blend): Cabernet Sauvignon (75%), Merlot (20%), Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (2%)

Made by: Paul Pontallier

Owned by: Mentzelopoulos family

Second Wine: Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux

A little history: Perhaps the proudest of all the Chateaux in terms of sheer edificial stature, Chateau Margaux has been consistently battled adversity throughout its noble yet potted history, namely down to some pioneering oenologists supported by forward-thinking & (thankfully) deep-pocketed owners.  It was the first claret ever to be sold at Christie’s in 1771 after Berlon (the manager under the first major wine producing family, Lestonnac) transformed the wine with his deep sensitivity to soil & grape concentration.  Following the French Revolution, owner Elie du Barry was guillotined & the estate taken over by the state.  What follows are sad years for what was previously a very well-loved Chateau with over one third of its land devoted to vines, only to eventually be rescued by the Marquis de la Colonilla who knocked down the entire place to rebuild.  Neighbouring family the Ginestets gradually took over the running of more & more of the estate only to be struck down by the economic crisis of 1973.  France’s by then “national treasure” was attracting interest from the wrong kind of investors (think big cooperations like Coca Cola & the National Distillers Chemical Cooperation) & was placed under government protection until a financial suitor was deemed worthy of her.  Roll in Greek, Andre Mentzelopoulos in 1976 of the French Grocery & Finance group Felix Poton, & things started to look up again.  He poured money & devotion into her ailing treasures, working with manager Philip Barre to instal new drainage & replant vines.  Mentzelopoulos sadly died in 1980 & daughter Corinne took up the reins very young.  The estate has lovingly been brought back to its former glory under the expertise & guidance of initially Barre, then Emile Peynaud & now Paul Pontallier.  Favour finally seems to be working for this jewel in Medoc’s first growth crown.

Top vintage: 2009, 1929

Surprising hero: 1949, 1995

Interesting fact: Chateau Margaux was allegedly the first ever appellation to have vines planted on it. By the Romans, of course.