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  • Country ranking ?

    1 189
  • Producer ranking ?

    62
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now-2030

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The Story

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.

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Wine Information

In 2013 the precocity of the Sauvignon was a more determining asset than usual, because the grapes were able to achieve full maturity before the botrytis started to develop seriously. The low vigour of the vines, linked to their age (35 years) and the terroir as well as to the low yield, equally contributed to preventing the rot from spreading quickly, although Sauvignon is usually prone to it. Previously the cool and very dry August, greatly contributed to the success of this vintage by enabling the grapes to ripen stress-free, and under conditions that preserved both their acidity and their aromatic expression.

 
2013 has benefitted from the great changes that have been introduced to the vinification process over the last five years, the aim of which is to produce a white wine that is more complex and richer, but also fresher and lower in alcohol. Success in this great challenge will be attained by a lot of effort and a drastic selection… The Pavillon Blanc consists of less than 40% of the harvest. 
Pavillon Blanc 2013 is probably as great a success as 2012 or 2011, with a slightly lower quantity. (April 2013)

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Vintage 2013

BORDEAUX 2013 VINTAGE REPORT

The 2013 vintage in Bordeaux was one of the most difficult since 1965 and 1968. Thomas Duroux of Château Palmer describes it as “the most complicated vintage in 20 years”. It rained almost continuously in the spring. Flowering was uneven, leading to poor set, millerandage and coulure. The threat of mold was alleviated by the arrival of warm, dry weather during the summer. For a while, winemakers hoped that abundant sunshine and mild weather would allow the vines to catch up. Severe storms, winds and intermittent heavy rains in July and August hampered vine growth and created fruiting difficulties. High humidity and cool temperatures before harvest led to slow ripening and the ideal environment for botrytis (gray rot) infection. Merlot did not perform well on the left bank. Château Margaux was certainly vulnerable to these conditions, but others, in their efforts to talk about the vintage, displayed superb Gallic denial. You would be forgiven for thinking this could be an exceptional vintage; Such is the genius of the world's best professional liars.

 

In years past, weather conditions, uneven ripening and disease pressure would have resulted in disastrous wines. Château Margaux avoided the worst rains by bringing in a picking team of 300 people to harvest the crop at lightning speed. Chateau Lafite also raced against the elements and won. Most castles don't have this type of luxury. The sorting tables were “drilled” during the harvest, allowing the best berries to be selected. I don't remember seeing red wine with visible botrytis characters. The fruit, however, has generally not ripened to optimal levels. Many producers have found it necessary to chaptalize their vinification to allow the wine to reach a more attractive alcohol level. Some châteaux, including Cos d’Estournel at 12.7% alc, produced their wines apparently without adding sugar. Most areas, however, have struggled to reach phenolic maturity. Tannins are the fabric of all red wines. They don't need to be perfectly ripe; An “al-dente” texture can provide convincing freshness and an attractive structure. But it was easy to extract too much in 2013. The best wines were those that were “unpushed” and intuitive to the conditions of the vintage. The use of saignée (juice runoff), reverse osmosis, and other methods to concentrate wine, is never discussed by winemakers, but there were some wines with soupy textures and a silky feel. unnatural mouth.

 

Many 2013 primeur wines have only been in barrel for a few weeks. This creates challenges because oak characters can detract from the inherent quality of young wines. Many châteaux will undoubtedly adjust their oak maturation philosophies to match the character of the vintage. Others will use oak as a cosmetic or construction bog to make up for structural inadequacies in their wine. Acidity is also strongly present in the wines this year. This element is essential for the freshness, tension and lifespan of any vintage. In more mature years, acidity tends to play second fiddle, but in 2013, it's first fiddle. Fruit character, perhaps the most important characteristic of any wine, inevitably varies by subregion and vineyard. The best wines of this vintage have the aromatic quality, persistence and depth of good vintages. Ultimately, the most triumphant red wines are proportional to the commitment and financial resources of the wine producer.

 

Although Merlot struggled in the Médoc, it performed well on the Right Bank. The Pomerol was relatively resplendent with generous fruit and tannin backbones that were riper than elsewhere. St Emilion was also capable of making good wine, but as usual the results were mixed. The reds from Pessac Léognan were muscular and rustic, while the whites were mineral and fresh with strong acidities. Many think that dry whites are excellent. For most Australians, these wines don't really offer value. There were some good Cabernet Sauvignon-dominant red wines made in the Médoc. However, no subregion prevailed. If anything I preferred Pauillac, especially Château Grand Puy Lacoste and Château Batailley.

The humidity which hampered the 2013 harvest in the Médoc and elsewhere worked in favor of the producers of Sauternes and Barsac. There was a “widespread proliferation” of botrytis cinerea (noble rot) during Bordeaux’s wet autumn. The wines range from magnificent to standard in quality. The best ones have beautiful honey, barley water complexity, understated richness and viscosity, and fresh acidity. Château d’Yquem is remarkably good. The biodynamic Château Climens is a beautiful, expressive wine. Every year, I taste it in barrels and in pieces. I can imagine the final blend and it will not disappoint.

 

The 20% drop in Australian dollar to euro exchange rates over the past year will make the 2013 more expensive than the best vintages 2012 and 2011. Unfortunately, this will have a significant impact on market opportunities in Australia . It is unlikely that the castle owners will lower their prices enough to make this campaign worthwhile. Falling demand from China and a full pipeline to other markets will lead to sluggish sales across the world. Although this year's primeur campaign will test the resilience of the traditional Bordeaux wine trade, there is still an impressive level of optimism. I think everyone is looking forward to moving on after the 2013 vintage. On the other hand, it's the type of vintage, with a hint of bottle age, that could re-emerge in a more favorable light in a few years.

by ANDREW CAILLARD MW

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

<10 tasting notes

Tasting note

color

Light and Green-Yellow

ending

Long

flavors

Honey, Cassis and Citrus

nose

Charming

taste

High in Acidity, High tannin, Youthful and Light

Verdict

Excellent

Written Notes

Tasted blind. A hit of smoky reduction, smoky grapefruit. Dusty. Rich, creamy texture and full in the mouth but with excellent freshness. Mouth-watering and well endowed with steely citrus fruit. Long. A real standout. (JH)
 

  • 91p

Château Margaux Pavillon 2013 / Bright yellow colour with green hue. Very elegant and persistant nose, mint, buxus, ripe peaches, fresh grapefruit, guava, hints of passion fruit and pineapple. Hints of toasted brioche and vanilla in the backgroune. On the palate well balanced with a lot of freshness and hints of salty minerality, elegant lemon peel character in the background. Great length "tout en finesse"

  • 94p
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Information

Origin

Margaux, Bordeaux

Other wines from this producer

Château Margaux

Château Margaux Pavillon Rouge

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