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White wine production at Château Margaux goes back to the end of the XVII century. The cellar master at that time recounts how he was one of the first to separate the white grapes from the red during the vinification. Sold in the XIX century under the name « Château Margaux vin de sauvignon », it has existed under the brand name « Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux » since 1920 and its label has not changed since that date.
The eleven-hectare vineyard is composed only of Sauvignon Blanc. It is situated on a very old plot of the Estate that had long since been planted with red vines and then been dug up because of the high risk of spring frosts. Production techniques, as well as the selection have been completely reviewed since the years 2009/2010 in order to reach a higher level of excellence; only 1/3 of the harvest is bottled, the remaining 2/3 is sold loose. So the quantity of Pavillon Blanc has been greatly reduced and isn’t more than one thousand cases. Today it benefits from the new wine cellar’s ultra-modern installations designed by Norman Foster.
The finesse, complexity, richness and the length in the mouth of Pavillon Blanc are incomparable for a wine produced from 100% Sauvignon. The very latest vintages, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 in particular, have opened up new horizons in quality, ageing capacity and style which has become more mineral and much more complex. A significant part of the harvest is bottled in magnums which create optimum ageing conditions.
The grapes were harvested from September 8th to 18th. While we hurried to bring in part of the berries that were already quite concentrated, we also had to wait a little longer for the rest to reach perfect levels of ripeness. Thanks to the gorgeous weather though, we were comfortably able to do both. 2009 is undoubtedly a very great Pavillon Blanc vintage, but it came at the cost of drastic selection. Only 32% of the crop was chosen for the final blend! The youngest vines together with those plots with lighter soils suffered from the prolonged drought, which only benefited the greater terroirs. The recent run of great vintages has perhaps also made us more demanding and severe.
This uncompromising selection has resulted in a Pavillon Blanc that is both more concentrated than 2008 and fresher than 2007. It is the demonstration of how Sauvignon Blanc can achieve, in privileged terroirs, a perfect balance between power and finesse, richness and delicacy. (April 2011)
Right up there with 1947, 1961, and 2005, 2009 is a year of almost exaggeratedly (for Bordeaux) flamboyant, opulent wines with elevated ripeness and low acidity. The tannins are unusually ripe, while the wines are quite voluptuous in style. The Left Bank recorded more sunlight hours than legendary vintages such as 1947 and 1982, and grapes had higher sugar concentrations than 2003 and 2005. The key was significant diurnal temperature swings that allowed grapes to handle the hot daytime temperatures. An exceptional vintage across the board.