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The production of a second wine probably goes back to the beginning of the XVII century because it is inseparable from the search for excellence which started at that time. Sold under the name of “Château Margaux 2nd wine”, it took its permanent name of Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux in 1908. After an eclipse between the thirties and the mid-seventies, its production restarted on the arrival of André Mentzelopoulos in 1977 and at first greatly increased in order to improve the quality of the first wine. From the mid - 1990s, the creation of a third wine in its turn, allowed for a more and more rigorous selection for Pavillon Rouge. For a few years now, a third of the harvest has gone into the first wine, barely 30% into the Pavillon Rouge, and the remainder is divided between the third and fourth wines.
The quality of Pavillon Rouge has become very close to that of the first wine because all the plots involved contributed to the blending of Château Margaux not so long ago.
We often forget that the rigour in the selection for the blend benefits not only the wine of Château Margaux, but also Pavillon Rouge, because the batches which are not in the end chosen for the first wine bring up the quality of the second wine. In the same way, the existence of a third wine over the last several years has freed the second wine from anything that could drag its quality down. These two reasons probably explain why Pavillon Rouge has improved so much over the last ten years. In 2006, it represents a bit over a half of the crop, while almost 10% has been left to go into the third wine.
About 40% of the Pavillon Rouge blend of course is made up of most of the Merlot; it blends in very nicely since it has plenty of finesse and power, and is only lacking that graceful touch that is so particular to, and perhaps exclusive to the Cabernet Sauvignon. The latter therefore still makes up the majority with 55% of the whole. As with the first wine, but to a lesser extent of course, it brings the 2006 a tannic power and rare vivacity, both of these characteristics being supported by the presence of 4% Petit Verdot. This blend of grape varieties is quite classic for the Pavillon Rouge.
And it works… The Pavillon Rouge 2006 is a powerful wine, full of flavour, with a fresh, firm finish, perhaps a little austere today, but whose richness and balance guarantee superb development in the years to come. (April 2011)