x
  • Country ranking ?

    6 175
  • Producer ranking ?

    89
  • Decanting time

    45min
  • When to drink

    now - 2025
  • Food Pairing

    Wood Pigeon Casserole

The Story

Since the 17th Century, the first wine of Château Margaux has been recognised as being one of the greatest wines in the entire world. It owes its unique qualities to the genius of its terroir as well as to the passionate work of a succession of generations. It’s a remarkable wine that comes from a combination of characteristics that are only rarely found: finesse, elegance, complexity, density, intensity, length and freshness. Although its tannic concentration may be exceptional, it’s rare to detect astringency.  

The great vintages are distinguished by their formidable ability to move us. The lesser vintages give pleasure to wise enthusiasts. They offer the advantage of evolving very rapidly and, reveal, after a few years, instead of power, this subtlety that is the prerogative of great terroirs.  Château Margaux has an extraordinary ability to evolve. Over the years, it has developed a finesse, an aromatic complexity and a remarkable presence on the palate.

Château Margaux has sought to achieve excellence in its wines for over 400 years now through painstaking and necessarily long studies of its terroir, through 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. At the end of the 17th century, it became part of the nascent elite “First Growths” – long before being established officially by the Classification of 1855. Since then, Château Margaux has known fame and fortune, seeing by experience how ephemeral both are.

 

 

 

 

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Vintage 1978

Weather/ The time lost through a particularly cool and wet spring was never made up during the summer, but an exceptional Indian summer enabled sufficiently ripe grapes to be picked in perfectly healthy condition. (The picking began on October 9th)

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Written Notes

A challenging year, saved by an Indian summer. Harvesting began on 9 October. The first wine of the Mentzelopoulos era has always enjoyed a high reputation. “A fantastic success for the vintage, even if it’s in an old-fashioned style,” said Anthony Hanson MW. Compared to a Mouton 1978 sampled recently, the tannins are well-amalgamated (if rather dry), and the quality of fruit is superior, with none of the woody aromas and spiky acidity that scar the Mouton. But the fruit seems lean compared to the other wines tasted here. “It belongs to a different generation,” admitted Pontallier. Absolutely of its time, and a style of wine that would be perceived by many nowadays as unacceptably lean and tannic. Indeed, 1989 was harvested almost a month later than this. Still in very good condition, and a thoroughly acceptable fine wine.
  • 85p
"Now this is getting better. Attractive nose. Sweet palate, earth, not much fruit left but drinking nicely. May be overrating after the disgraceful 1970, 1972 and 1975!"
  • 92p
(Served blind) Ruby with brick rim. Whif of floral notes, elegant, refined, sweet tobacco, some blackcurrant leafs. Fresh acidity, tannins almost gone, one of the fresher and younger of the 78's I've had, fresh and pure style, long length.
  • 95p

Information

Origin

Margaux, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Above Average

Value For Money

Satisfactory

Investment potential

No Potential

Fake factory

None

Inside Information

It was 1977, and young, 24-year-old Corinne Mentzelopoulos was very impressed as she stepped out to the bright white stairway of the palace that was built in the 19th century. They had just finished lunch that had taken place in a dark, ramshackle dining room. She could not yet foresee that as a result of the handshake between the two gentlemen on the stairs, her life would soon change. Her father, André Mentzelopoulos, became the first Greek winegrower in Bordeaux, as he bought the Château Margaux from Pierre Ginestet for 75 million francs. The historic estate had changed hands once again.

 


The estate has been occupied since at least the 12th century, but it was only with the arrival of the Lestonnac family in the 16th century that wine production became of particular importance, and in the 1570s Pierre de Lestonnac cleared many of the grain fields to make way for grapes. By 1700 the estate covered its present area of 265 hectares, and the 78 hectares devoted to vines has remained essentially unchanged since then.
Château Margaux has sought to achieve excellence in its wines for over 400 years now through painstaking and necessarily long studies of its terroir, through 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.
At the end of the 17th century, it became part of the nascent elite “First Growths” – long before being established officially by the Classification of 1855. Since then, Château Margaux has known fame and fortune, seeing by experience how ephemeral both are…
Today Corinne Mentzelopoulos, supported by her team led by Paul Pontallier, and following in her father André Mentzelopoulos' footsteps, devotes her time and energy to radiating her enthusiasm for this wine, whose name is synonymous with greatness, balance and harmony.

 


Pontallier drew most of his learning and production philosophy from Peynaud. Respect for the unique terroir of Margaux and applying this philosophy to wine in every unique year without the label of the wine maker represents Peynaud’s view that Pontallier has kept on honourably since Peynaud stepped aside from wine production in 1990.
The active and close co-operation between Pontallier and Mentzelopoulos has produced magnificent vintages: 1983, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2003, and 2005. It remains to be seen how well the new generation can continue Corinne’s success in the history of the estate. It is certain that she is not stepping aside for a long time, but when she looks 50 years to the future, she says:
– Who knows what the world will be like then? I just hope my children are still around and are here managing the estate. But can things get much better for Margaux, when it already is in the minds of all wine lovers of the world? Should I keep my fingers crossed?

Soil: gravelly, clay-limestone
Production area: 82ha
Grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (at least 75%), Merlot (between 10 and 15%) and finally Petit Verdot (around 5%) and a little Cabernet Franc
Average age of vines: 36 years
Harvest method: hand picked
Winemaking: The wine is fermented in oak vats
Ageing: over 18-24 months in new French oak barrels


Château Margaux
33460 Margaux
Tél. : +33 (0) 5 57 88 83 83
Fax. : +33 (0) 5 57 88 31 32
www.chateau-margaux.com

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