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Chateau Margaux, 2009 – £122,380 / Chateau Margaux creeps into the top 10 again with its limited edition 12-litre 2009 vintage. Billed by many as the finest wine ever produced by the estate, only six bottles have been made, and one was sold to an Asian buyer in Dubai in 2013 for an eye-watering £122,380.
10/15/2009 Harvest 2009 – An exceptional vintage: The harvest finished yesterday afternoon. As with all the great vintages, in a way, we’ve made the pleasure last, not having had any other constraints but to give each plot the time to ripen perfectly. As and when the vats finish, we’ll be able to better judge this extraordinary vintage, even if we have to wait a few more days to appreciate its true dimension. Today, our traditional end-of-harvest-meal, “La Gerbaude” arrives to finally end this unusual harvest, the longest we’ve ever had (September 8th to October 14th).
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.
2009 is perhaps the greatest young Château Margaux we have tasted over the last 30 years.
Mother nature could not have done it all by herself; barely 36% of the crop (i.e. just 31% by the time it is bottled) went into the first wine – a drastic selection for such a vintage. Still, in 2009, she surpassed herself. She allowed the greatest terroirs, whatever their grape variety, to bring their fruit to exceptional ripeness, providing a wine of wonderful concentration, finesse, balance and freshness. The Cabernet (87% of the blend) has no equivalent other than 2005, but it is more tender. The only two batches of Merlot that were kept (9%) have no equivalent at all. As for the Cabernet Franc (2%) and the Petit Verdot (2%), they performed at their highest levels.
The 2009 Château Margaux is an unparalleled vintage in its tannic power and fullness (reminding us of 2005) and its softness (reminiscent of 1990). And since its alcoholic degree is barely over 13, its finish remains fresh, flavoursome and of astonishing length. (September 2010)
Recommended glass shape
Average Bottle Price
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