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  • Country ranking ?

    223
  • Producer ranking ?

    14
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2025
  • Food Pairing

    Espresso Braised Beef

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Medium/full bodied, elegant, refined, soft and silky, the wine relies on its freshness and delicate nuances, instead of power and structure. Complex, captivating and caressing on the palate, this is at or probably slightly past its peak of maturity. 93 Points" - 93/100Jeff Leve, The Wine Cellar Insider

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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.

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.

 

 

 

 

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Wine Information

1961 vintage by Château/ It has sometimes been said that 1961 was the greatest vintage since 1900. Our memory does not always serve us well, but there is no doubt that this vintage displays quite extraordinary qualities, which we were not to find again, in any case, until the 1982 vintage. 1961 not only benefited from remarkable weather conditions, but also from the first achievements of what was called \modern oenology\" under the inspiration of Professor Ribereau Gayon and Doctor Emile Peynaud. Château Margaux 1961 is a sumptuous wine, at the same time tender, harmonious, rich, very dense and full of freshness. Its bouquet is unique : over the smell of undergrowth, so characteristic of the great wines of that era, comes a layer of indescribable fruity and floral fragrance... Smelling this wine is a moment of unforgettable excitement, of pure emotion! The sensations that come through on the palate are a harmonious match to the aromatic festival on the nose : its tannic density asserts itself smoothly and delicately, the finish is a strong and yet tender caress. A really wonderful wine. Today, the 1961 has lost none of its freshness, even though the magnums are starting to show more consistency than the bottles. Of course, it can be opened now, but it was built for eternity... (May 2010)

Weather
A sharp spring frost and exceptional "coulure" due to an intensely cold spell at the end of May drastically reduced the crop size. Then, the wonderful weather conditions during the summer, which was particularly dry and hot, enabled this small crop to reach really extraordinary ripeness and concentration. (The picking began 19th September)



 

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Vintage 1961

1961 - the greatest Bordeaux vintage of all time?

I am writing this during the primeur campaign and I notice that Bordeaux château owners and merchants have been exceptionally quiet this year. I've been following this part of the market remotely for almost 30 years now and have been told about a lot of the "vintages of the century". Once wines are bottled and sold or vice versa, as is the case in Bordeaux, these claims tend to be changed.

Who are the serious contenders for the title of “The Greatest Vintage Ever”?

During the 19th century there were a number of vintages with great reputations made from pre-phylloxera vines. These include the legendary "Vintage Comet" 1811, 1864, 1865, 1870, 1893, 1895 and 1899. Most are too old for anyone now alive to have tasted them in their prime.

During the 20th century, claims were raised for the vintages 1900, 1921, 1929, 1945, 1947, 1949 (by me), 1959, 1961, 1982, 1989 and 1990.In the current century already three of the eight vintages produced – 2000, 2003 and 2005 – were mentioned by an overly excited press as candidates for the title, as well as the superb duo - 2009 and 2010.

In the book “The 1,000 Best Wines Ever Made” 1961 is the Bordeaux vintage most often mentioned, with 22 châteaux. 1945 is mentioned 19 times, 1947 16 times, 1982 14 times and 1959 13 times.

What is the definition of a great wine?

It’s a wine that has an extra dimension giving you an unforgettable drinking experience – in other words, a “Wow!” effect. ". It is a wine that has a long drinking life. It should be good to drink young, but it should also be able to age for a long time without losing its appeal. A good vintage produces wines that meet these requirements.

A great vintage, however, is equally good in all major regions of Bordeaux, both on the left bank and the right bank. It’s also a vintage where something special was produced in every appellation, from the lowest Cru Bourgeois to the most powerful Premier Cru.

1961 meets these requirements better than any other vintage.

This was the vintage where the most incompetent winemaker simply couldn't make a bad wine and the wines drank very well at an early stage; In most cases, they still do this today.

Some extremely impressive wines were produced in 1945, but these came primarily from the Left Bank and many of the wines had excessively high tannin levels, making them increasingly dry as they aged.

1947 produced the most amazing Right Bank wines, but many Left Bank wines had problems with volatile acidity.

1959 has produced a number of wines that are on the same level and sometimes even a bit higher than the corresponding '61, and some experienced wine critics like Michel Bettane prefer 1959 to 1961. But 1959 does not have the same consistent quality at all levels.

1982 undoubtedly produced a lot of very impressive wines but I have the impression that the Right Bank wines lack structure and have not aged very well and that very few Margaux and Médoc wines have had a great success. The twin vintages of 1989 and 1990, or 2009 and 2010 may come closest in overall quality, but it is still too early to judge their aging capabilities.

 

What made 1961 so special?

It was a very small harvest, the smallest since World War II. This was partly due to coulure (cold weather at flowering) and in some parts due to frost on the night of May 30-31, together reducing the yield per plant to about a third of the usual size at that time. period (which, compared to today's harvests, seems tiny). This concentrated the minerals and power of the vine among the few remaining grapes and was the reason for the success of minor châteaux, which would normally produce much higher yields than would be good for their wines.

August and September were hot and extremely dry. This drought meant that maturation took longer than the 100 days usually prescribed. The harvest was delayed until September 22, but benefited from perfect conditions. Thanks to better aging techniques, winemakers avoid the harsh tannins of 1945 and the volatility of 1947. The wines have a very deep color, an attractive nose and a ripe, concentrated and full-bodied fruitiness, with sufficient tannins and acidity to give the wines structure and freshness.

I organized a large tasting of over sixty years from 1961 to 1989 and all the wines were very good, even from small châteaux

 

 

 

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Average Bottle Price

2024 2020 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005 2000
1 580€ +27.5% 1 239€ +56.8% 790€ -3.8% 821€ -10.9% 921€ +13.6% 811€ -1.7% 825€ -3.7% 857€ +23.7% 693€ +54.7% 448€

This data comes from the FINE Auction Index, a composite of average prices for wines sold at commercial auctions in 20 countries. The average prices from each year have been collected since 1990. This chart plots the index value of the average price of the wines.

Tasting note

color

Youthful, Brick red and Cloudy

ending

Long, Lingering and Smooth

flavors

Coffee, Blackcurrant, Vegetal, Toasty, Mineral and Creamy

nose

Intense, Complex and Rich

recommend

Yes

taste

Average in Acidity, Warming, Medium tannin, Perfectly balanced, Balanced, Concentrated, Developing, Medium-bodied, Elegant, Harmonious, Fruity and Silky tannins

Verdict

Transparent and nice but not special

Written Notes

The superb 1961 vintage begun with a spring frost and due to a cold spell that was followed by very exceptional "coulure" reducing the crop size drastically. Luckily the wonderful weather conditions with hot and dry weather during the summer enabled this small crop to reach really extraordinary ripeness and concentration. 
Dark, deep and youthful colour. The nose is very complex, elegant and fragrant bouquet with layers of ripe fruit, flowers and oak. On the palate the wine is wide open and expanding. Refined gentle tannins and soft and silky texture. A multitude of flavour nuances. Rich and harmonious wine with smooth and elegant tannins. A well-balanced and elegant wine that is mature but there is no hurry. The aftertaste is impressively persistent.  

  • 97p
The third wine had a delicious nose, with sweet fruits and tender aromas of wheat. It was blacker in style, gamy with a pinch of BBQ. Its palate was round, rich and long, certainly deserving outstanding status. The wine was heavy yet dancing with a bit of zip. Buttery and decadent, this was clearly a special wine. One of the educated ladies guessed, ‘Spanish,’ but it was a magnum of 1961 Margaux. This was sweet, outstanding stuff. It was then noted that if Parker hasn’t had a great bottle/note of an old Bordeaux, it was like it didn’t exist, kind of like the ’61 Margaux (96M).
  • 96p

It has sometimes been said that 1961 was the greatest vintage since 1900. Our memory does not always serve us well, but there is no doubt that this vintage displays quite extraordinary qualities, which we would not find again until the 1982 vintage. 1961 not only benefited from remarkable weather conditions, but also from the first achievements of what was called \modern oenology\" under the inspiration of Professor Ribereau Gayon and Doctor Emile Peynaud. Château Margaux 1961 is a sumptuous wine, at the same time tender, harmonious, rich, very dense and full of freshness. Its bouquet is unique : over the smell of undergrowth, so characteristic of the great wines of that era, comes a layer of indescribable fruity and floral fragrance... Smelling this wine is a moment of unforgettable excitement, of pure emotion! The sensations that come through on the palate are a harmonious match to the aromatic festival on the nose : its tannic density asserts itself smoothly and delicately, the finish is a strong and yet tender caress. A really wonderful wine. Today, the 1961 has lost none of its freshness, even though the magnums are starting to show more consistency than the bottles. Of course, it can be opened now, but it was built for eternity...

1961 Chateau Margaux: Amazing color. Maturing but youthful for its age. Extremely rich color. Nose: Excellent. Classic. Very perfect condition. Developed very well. Beautiful nose. Like old leather armchairs. Amazing finesse. Palate: Spectacular. Beautiful sweetness. Perfection for age. Three hours later: Evolved into a magnificent barnyardy nose, like old horse stables with strong odors of leather harnesses and slightly horsey straw. With a sweet, incredible finish. My father, Michael Broadbent, had once written of this wine after tasting it in 1970 “1961: I tasted first in 1964 and predicted 20 years of development. In fact, a further 20 years later, at a cellar lunch at the chateau, I noted it’s ‘hallmark’, an exquisite bouquet; on the palate, sweet, brambly, with a sort of a singed fragrance. Last tasted in 1970; hopeless really to describe its unique enchantment. Maturing of course, but if well-cellared, perfection. At least five stars.” In fact, he names it among the Top 10 Bordeaux wines. Today, the provenance of the bottle was one of the greatest wine cellars in the world, perfect conditions since, no doubt, en primeur sale. It was all there and more. My father only marks wines at of 5 stars, less than a half dozen might have been 6 stars, this being one of them.

  • 100p

Low-shoulder bottle, no signs of seepage, cork outside almost black, greasy but inside good looking. 

I did not expect much from this bottle but as often an old classified Bordeaux with low level will offer a big surprise. When I pulled the cork certain sweet flavours came up but as well leather, old furniture, shoe polish aromas. The promising fact: NO traces of vinegar or sherry at all. The cork did not come out in one piece. This bottle of 1961 Margaux had a dark mahagony colour, clear without any cloudiness. From the first moment it showed as a great Bordeaux from a great vintage. Seductive flavours of cedar, underbrush, decent sweetness. Amazing freshness, if tasted blind my guess would be from the 80's, perhaps 1985. It developed nicely with air, medium body, very elegant, fine, a little fragile fruit, simply an outstanding Bordeaux and I am not sure if a bottle with much better level would provide much more pleasure. A bottle to remember.

Food: Iberico blade shoulder, grilled, no sauce

Music: Bob Dylan: Forever young

 

 

 

         

  • 94p

The most impressive wine of the tasting combining elegance and persistence. Intense garnet red colour. Elegant and persistent aroma reminiscent of mild spices, vanilla, hints of roasted aroma, fine fruit in the background, elegant minerality. On the palate excellent balance, fine tannins, freshness and great length. A wonderful wine with long lingering aftertaste and great elegance. Close to perfection.

  • 99p

Very complex and intense, immense depth and supporting tannin and lush fruit. Wonderful balance, elegance and finesse. A truly great wine!

  • 96p
Worryingly low fill!? Just above mid shoulder, ruby wit thin orange rim. Staring out with intense floral notes, violets, blackcurrant's, plums, cigar, tobacco, perfumed, seductive and flirting, with another ten minutes, licorice, layers upon layers. Very elegant body and texture, fresh acidity, ripe tannins, beautiful balance, enormous elegance, after two hours gaining in body, getting more fruit, turns out the low level can't have had any negative influence, its difficult to believe there can be a much better bottle, after even more time, mint, eucalyptus, opens up hugely, enormous complexity, rose-garden, figs, long and elegant finish. Getting even better after five hours.
  • 97p
D 2 h / G 2 h Moderately deep tawny colour. Intense and complex nose with rich coffee aromas and high concentration with vegetal nuances. Firm, medium-bodied wine with lively acidity and minerality, supple tannins, and surprisingly intense fruitiness. Very vibrant and energic wine with great balance and finesse in the lingering finish. Still very youthful, so no hurry to uncork. Keep well another 10-12 years.
  • 96p
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Information

Origin

Margaux, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality

Extraordinary

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Good

Fake factory

Serious

Inside Information

Bordeaux Book, 3rd Edition 
Jan 1998
Robert M. Parker, Jr. 93 Drink: 1991 - 2001 $1250-$3140
An intense bouquet filled with the scents of ripe plums, flowers, toasted walnuts, and oak is divine. This expansive wine is silky, rich, very generously flavored, long, and full bodied on the palate. It is fully mature, but there is little chance of this wine falling apart for at least another decade. I have high hopes that the 1982, 1983, and 1986 will ultimately surpass this vintage of Margaux. The 1961 is a top-flight wine and unquestionably the last great Margaux until the Mentzelopoulos era began its remarkable string of great Margaux in 1978.Anticipated maturity: Now. Last tasted, 4/91.
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