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    Rack of Lamb

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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.






Wine Information

This complicated year taught us many lessons, as it differed completely from the usual, very probably too simple, pattern of the great vintages. It may well be that the heavy rain which came at the end of September was, in fact, a help to the ripening of the Cabernet Sauvignon, as it very probably was the case in 1995, rather than the opposite as we feared. Whatever the explanation, this vintage ended up producing a wine which will go down in history for its classicism and purity. The Cabernet Sauvignon has seldom achieved such a perfection of style and such good balance. What is even rarer perhaps, is to find in a young wine, only just after its blending, the ability to impress and move us at once through the purity of its fruit, the density of its structure and the harmony of its shape.

After a very quick flowering, the summer was unsettled, with alternating periods of hot and cool weather and stormy showers, though less heavy in the Médoc than on the right bank. As from the 1st September, cool and very dry weather set in for three weeks. It then rained and fine weather returned for the harvesting of the Cabernets. (The picking began on 23rd September)

Château Margaux

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


Vintage 1996

1996 presents itself as a “classic” Bordeaux year, although – as Jancis Robinson MW wrote – not in the “lean” sense; Although Farr Vintners director Tom Hudson told the drinks industry it may have been a "very good" rather than "really great" year as it was not uniformly excellent across the region .

As a reminder, 1996 was a particularly promising vintage for Médoc wines. The Berry Bros & Rudd website boasts: “This is one of the great post-war vintages for Médoc Cabernet wines. These are rich, complex and beautifully balanced wines, full of ripe, pure fruit and with the structure that will allow the best wines to age over the next decade and beyond.

The Right Bank, on the other hand, is described as “distinguished” but “overshadowed” by the 95s – which was a particularly good vintage for Saint Emilion and Pomerol.

It was also an excellent vintage for white Bordeaux.

Robert Parker's scores tend to favor the Left Bank, although some of the best Right Bank wines have also received very respectable reviews.

Only two wines received 100 points: Lafite and Latour, Margaux was ranked 99, Léoville Las Cases 98, Ducru Beaucaillou 96 and Pichon-Comtesse 96.

La Mondotte was the highest rated right bank wine with 97 points, Ausone was the second highest rated with 93, as was L'Eglise Clinet, while Gomerie, Petrus and Le Pin settled for 92 and Cheval Blanc 90 .

With almost 20 years, the wines have naturally appreciated and now that they are well within their drinking window, demand will almost certainly start to push prices even higher for the most in demand among them.

The figures are often impressive, to date Lafite has seen an increase of 657.9% since its release, its second wine Carruades is up 592%, Latour is up 437%, Petrus is up 400% and Pichon Baron is up 240%. %.


Average Bottle Price

2024 2020 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2005
810€ +17.4% 690€ +23.2% 560€ +9.4% 512€ -5.7% 543€ -6.7% 582€ -19.5% 723€ +4.9% 689€ +209.0% 223€

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.

Latest Pro-tasting notes

24 tasting notes

Tasting note


Full, Brownish and Pale


Long, Lingering and Spicy


Coffee, Blackcurrant, Cedar, Voluptuous, Toasty and Tobacco


Intense, Refined, Complex and Seductive




Well-structured, Balanced, Concentrated, Mature, Full-bodied, One-dimensional, Firm, Rich, Ripe and Silky tannins


Impressive and Fine

Written Notes

Our last pair was Margaux, beginning with the 1996 Margaux. The Margaux nose was super sexy, jumping out of the glass with its candied edge, almost like a root beer float without the root beer. Make that an ice cream soda, that’s what it was, black ‘n white with a little egg cream. The nose was toasty, spicy and spiny, full of coffee, nut and leather aromas, with enough t ‘n a for an S & M dungeon. The palate was thick and long with great acidity, and flavor and aromas of beef bouillon complicated matters in this complex wine (97)

  • 97p

 This could hit triple digits in a few years. It continues filing out, gaining in complexity, richness, and texturally, additional layers of silk and velvet on the palate are the order of the day. This stunning wine is showing beautifully today, and while pricey, it is the best deal for a mature vintage of Chateau Margaux in the market today. Drink from 2023-2055.

  • 99p

The 1996 Chateau Margaux, which was bottled in September, 1998, is undoubtedly one of the great classics produced under the Mentzelopoulos regime. In many respects, it is the quintessential Chateau Margaux, as well as the paradigm for this estate, combining measured power, extraordinary elegance, and admirable complexity. I tasted the wine on three separate occasions in January, and in short, its a beauty! The color is opaque purple. The wine offers extraordinarily pure notes of blackberries, cassis, pain grille, and flowers, gorgeous sweetness, a seamless personality, and full body, with nothing out of place. The final blend (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc) contains a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. It tastes complete and long, although backward. My instincts suggest this wine will shut down, but at present it is open-knit, tasting like a recently bottled wine. The fruit is exceptionally sweet and pure, and there are layers of flavor in the mouth. I do believe this wine will develop an extraordinary perfume, and possess a high level of richness. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2040.
Robert Parker

  • 96p

The colour is paler at the rim with more obvious aging, more stewed notes here, just a little funky on the nose, may not be the best bottle. Plenty of spice too. The palate is very good though, lots of texture and spice again, the sweetness of the black fruit coming through, purity lots of fine grain tannin holding it up, it is lovely on the the finish too, very long. This is a fine Margaux but I think it was outshone by the 2000 and I have had better bottles of this amazing wine. 96/100

  • 96p
Ruby, seductive nose as always, layers, intense of violets, lillies, cassis and leather, stunning refinement. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, gorgeous texture, flirting, seductive, gorgeous length.
  • 96p
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Margaux, Bordeaux

Vintage Quality


Value For Money


Investment potential

Below Average

Fake factory


Glass time


Inside Information

Wine Advocate #110
Apr 1997
Robert M. Parker, Jr. (99) Drink: 2004 - 2035 $548-$1582
Chateau Margaux, along with Leoville-Las Cases in St.-Julien, was among the handful of properties that did not finish their Cabernet Sauvignon harvest until October 12. Whether that was a factor or not, both of these estates undoubtedly produced compellingly great wines in 1996. At Chateau Margaux, the Cabernet Sauvignon was picked between October 1 and October 12. The final blend produced a wine with nearly 13% natural alcohol, and relatively low acidity. I have tasted some extraordinary Margauxs over the last 18 years, but I have never tasted a Chateau Margaux as rich and Cabernet-dominated as the 1996. Certainly the 1986 came close to this level of quality at the same stage of development, but the 1996, which is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, and 10% Merlot, contains 10% less Merlot than the 1986. Unequivocally, the 1996 Margaux is a candidate for perfection. The Mentzelopoulos family has made a number of spectacular wines since they took over this estate in 1977, but the 1996 is so extraordinary that it may prove to be more prodigious than the legendary wines they fashioned in 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, and 1990. Paul Pontallier and Corinne Mentzelopoulos confirmed that they had never before picked Cabernet Sauvignon with such high sugars. The 1996 Margaux boasts an opaque black/blue/purple color that resembles ink. The nose offers extraordinarily sweet, jammy, blackcurrant fruit that has totally absorbed the effects of four months in 100% new oak barrels. I noticed this phenomenon with most of the top 1996s, and I consider it to be indicative of just how rich in extract the finest wines of this vintage are. I cannot recall a young vintage absorbing and masking the new oak as well as the finest 1996s have done. The wine hits the palate with extraordinary purity, richness, and equilibrium. Every component in this seamless, velvety as well as voluptuously-textured wine is stunning. As I was slushing the wine around on my palate, chills suddenly ran down my back as I realized I was in the presence of one of the greatest young wines I had ever tasted. Given the high Cabernet Sauvignon content, I expected the tannins to be more obvious, but this wine is so rich that the high tannin level is buried beneath the wine's extraordinary levels of glycerin, extract, and fruit. It is difficult to imagine when this wine might reach full maturity. I suspect it will exhibit more tannin in 1-2 years than it does at present, but the wine possesses such amazing sweetness and richness, that I suspect it will be approachable when young. It will not hit its peak for 15 or more years. It will be a fascinating wine to follow over the next 3-4 decades. Kudos to Corinne Mentzeloupolos and her mother, as well as their talented administrator, Paul Pontallier. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2035.
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