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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.
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.
1955 vintage by Château/ 1955 combined most of the parameters that are necessary to make a great vintage; in particular, a hot, dry August and excellent conditions during the harvest. Château Margaux 1955 was a success : it is a wine full of charm and freshness, delicacy and smoothness. The bouquet is superb, the palate is perfectly harmonious; it lacks perhaps the little bit more density that would justify describing it as a true great vintage. It is perfect to enjoy now, but its development in bottle, and especially in magnum, could surprise us yet. (September 2002)
After a rainy start to the summer, in June and July, the months of August and September were dry and hot. The fine weather carried on throughout the harvest. (The picking began 22nd September)
In Bordeaux the 1955 began with unstable weather conditions just before summer, but turned into an extremely favourable season by the end of the year. A beautiful, sunny and warm—if not hot—period prevailed throughout August and September, until the just the right amount of much-needed rain came along. The crop turned out to be of the highest quality. However, because the vintage was overshadowed by the 1953, it offering wines with a good price-quality ratio that can still be enjoyed today. Ripe grapes and autumn rain guaranteed an excellent year for Sauternes wines. The wines of this vintage vary widely in quality, and many are dominated by tannins. Only the finest wines, such as the Lafleur, Cheval Blanc and Mouton-Rothschild, offer balance and richness.