Margaux du Château Margaux 2013
Today’s Château Margaux and Pavillon Rouge as a percentage of the estate’s total production are often equivalent to the production of just Château Margaux
from 30 years ago. Starting with the great vintage of 2009 it was clear that there were high quality vineyards producing high quality fruit that while not quite at the level of today’s Pavillon Rouge, were still of a level that would make Château Margaux proud to put their name on the label. Thus a selection of the top lots for a third wine was done, and a fourth wine was therefore produced (and sold off in bulk).
This wine was produced to allow consumers an entry to Château Margaux. The style of the wine and the timing of the release are intended so that the wine can drink when a vintage is launched. Because it is 100% estate, production will not grow, and is quite limited at 2-3,000 cases produced each vintage.
The estate has 200 acres under vine. Each plot and each variety are treated differently from pruning throughout the growing season. Chateau Margaux’ goal is to nurture and maintain vines for as long as possible, as they believe vines need to reach 20 years of age to produce great wine. The estate is constantly trying to understand through experimentation how to improve soil health and fruit quality. Today, no insecticides are used, there is an important balance of healthy insects to counter pests, and any number of experiments with ploughing, organic farming, and biodynamic applications are ongoing. A final key point to note, Margaux has for the last 30+ years had among the lowest yields in the Medoc.
The wine was aged for 15 months, in 10% new oak and 90% second use barrels. Because of the particularities of the vintage, Cabernet Sauvignon made up an extremely high 88% of the blend, with Merlot only 12% of the blend. Importantly, the wine is held in bottle until ready to drink, which may not mean that vintages are released sequentially.
To say the 2013 was frustrating would be an understatement. Cool temperatures at winter’s end and into spring delayed bud break and flowering. There was also quite a bit of rain during this period, which would ultimately affect the Merlot with coulure. It was immediately understood that this would not be a plentiful vintage. However, the summer drought afforded the fruit some time to catch up on their ripeness and by September, there was hope for a harvest that seemed to be ripening under excellent conditions. At the end of the month, a spike in botrytis led to early picking in the vineyard by a few days; enough to dash the hopes for a great vintage but not enough to take away all its promises.
So, what to do with a vintage like 2013 without betraying a commitment to excellence? It was with this in mind that the blending was carried out. The decision was made to “support” the Margaux du Chateau Margaux with selected plots earmarked for Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux and the top lots identified for Margaux du Chateau Margaux. When all was said and done, the Margaux du Chateau Margaux was completely composed of wines originally destined to Pavillon Rouge.
It is just like all the best wines of the vintage, fresh, fragrant, very soft on the palate, and with no hint of harshness or aggression. It is a charming wine that appeals to delicate foods and although it does not have the same keeping capacity as the other vintages, will nevertheless offer immediate pleasure to the enthusiasts who taste it.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot