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The First Wine of Château Margaux 2019 is without a doubt one of the greatest vintages of the estate. While the blend was dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot from the Haut du Jardin plot lent a nice roundness to this Grand Vin. 2019 was also the first vintage of the estate to be produced at the new facilities of the property, whose construction was initiated by André Mentzelopoulos in the late 1970s.
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.
The Grand Vin of Château Margaux 2019 is an excellent vintage and one of the precious wines we have been lucky enough to produce this decade, in 2015, 2016, 2018 and now 2019.
Cabernet Sauvignon still forms the heart of the Château Margaux, accounting for 90% of the assemblage. Merlot accounts for 7%. In addition to our emblematic parcels, this year we have added the Merlots from the Haut du Jardin parcel which bring body and charm to the wine as a whole. The Cabernet Franc (2%) and the Petit Verdot (1%) complete the assemblage. Château Margaux represents 37% of the harvest.
The Grand Vin of Château Margaux 2019 will be the first to take full advantage of the new facilities in the second-year cellar, the construction of which was begun by André Mentzelopoulos at the end of the 1970s. Modified several times over the years, it recently underwent extensive renovation work and has been completed, we are delighted to say, just as his grandson, Alexis Leven-Mentzelopoulos, joins the Château Margaux team. He and his sister Alexandra Petit-Mentzelopoulos represent the future of the Estate. (April 2020)
Globally, 2019 was the warmest year on record. In France, the average temperature was 13.7°C, 1.1°C to 1.2°C higher than usual.
In Margaux, the winter of 2019 was mild at 1 to 2 degrees above the 30-year averages, with limited rain (30 mm less than the 30-year averages) and only three days of frost. Under these conditions, the date of bud-break ranged from March 29th to April 4th.
Spring was mild and temperatures were near-normal for the season, with abundant rainfall at the end of April and again between June 5th and June 18th. Flowering occurred between the 1st and the 9th of June and went relatively well. Only some older parcels of Merlot showed some signs of coulure. The rain, which risked causing occasional outbreaks of mildew, had no sanitary impact and the vineyards remained in a very good state throughout the year.
The summer stood in sharp contrast to the rainy spring. Anticyclonic conditions prevailed and only 64 mm of rain fell between June 21st and September 21st. However, the summer of 2019 will be best remembered for two heatwaves at the end of June and then from July 22nd to 24th when the temperature reached 39.9°C in Margaux!
The red grape harvest began on September 18th in ideal conditions, and the Merlot grapes were perfectly ripe and concentrated when picked. A weather disturbance between September 22nd and the 29th did not affect the health of the grapes and allowed them to ripen more slowly under conditions that were less aggressive for the vines, better preserving the acidity levels, with ultimately not too high levels of alcohol. The grapes picked between the end of September and the beginning of October benefited from the concentration developed after veraison (August 5th to the 10th), without being significantly affected by low slight dilution from the rain.
The harvest ended on October the 10th.