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The dates for bud-break, flowering and colour change in the grapes correspond exactly to the averages. What distinguishes this growing season is the exceptional heat and drought during the month of August : the grapes acquired an excellent level of concentration early on. The heavy rain at the end of September came too late to cause significant dilution.We came very close to making a great vintage. It was a question of a few showers at the beginning of the harvest... From the beginning, the wines, whether Merlot or Cabernet, had astonishing concentration, recalling the 1995 and 1996 vintages. At first, they tended to be a little firm and austere, but with barrel ageing they gained a lot of roundness and harmony. Today, Château Margaux 1998 displays aromas of great freshness, in which fruit, particularly red berry fruit, is to the fore, and in which lingering hints of vanilla and roasted coffee beans mingle slowly into the wine. The impression on the palate is of great power with fresh, firm but fat tannins, which give this wine a very classic dimension. 1998 is undeniably a long-ageing wine, which will only come out completely in fifteen years' time. However, it can be drunk now, out of curiosity, since it has nothing aggressive about it.
Lovely dark red, average intensity. Still young. Aromatic, fine nose, still a bit woody, complex but not developed and subtle like the estate's greatest vintages. From its beginning, this Margaux vintage has a nose less present than the others. Very lovely entry in mouth, refined and smooth. Meticulous, very fruity, aromatic, melting, this flavorful, and very, very pleasant wine does not have the strength and the depth of the 2003. The flesh stops before but it present lovely flavors. Good length, subtle and noble. Wait until 2010 and before 2030.
The 1998 Margaux's color is a dense ruby/purple. The wine is tannic and austere, but elegant, with notes of asphalt, blackberries, acacia flowers, and sweet, toasty oak. Subtle, rich, nicely-textured, and medium-bodied, it is built for the long haul.
Gorgeous aromas of berry, currant and exotic spices, especially cinnamon. Medium- to full-bodied, with layers of silky tannins and ripe berry and raspberry on the palate. An outstanding Margaux. Best after 2006.
1st classified growth in 1855. The château, already known in the 12th century under the name La Mothe de Margaux, started only to resemble to what it is today when the Lestonnac family took it over in 1572 and undertook important restructurations. By the end of the 17th century, Château Margaux already covered 265 hectares (654 acres). At the beginning of the 18th century the estate manager Berlon was the first to vinify red grapes and white grapes separately and understood the importance of terroir. In 1810, a Basque, Bertrand Douat, Marquis de la Colonilla, owner since 1801, built the neo-palladian style residence of Margaux and the cellars which we still admire today. After several successions of owners, the Ginestet family bought the chateau in 1950 after being obliged by the serious economic crises to sell it in 1977 to André Mentzelopoulos, a Greek at the head of the grocery shops Félix Potin. André Mentzelopoulos sensed the opportunity and invested massively without expecting any immediate return in a market that was still depressed and a few years away from the new golden age for Bordeaux at the end of the 20th century. He made spectacular moves: in the vineyard, where better drainage was introduced and new plantations made; in the cellars, under the supervision of the oenologist Emile Peynaud, Pavillon Rouge was reintroduced with a considerable increase in selection; new oak barrels were used to age the wine, plans were drawn up for the first great cellar in the region to be built underground (a technical feat), and Pavillon Blanc was redefined. In the château and its outbuildings, under the supervision of the inspectors for Historic Monuments (Margaux is a classified monument), the reconstitution of the architectural heritage and the renovation of the interior were carried out. All of this was done with deep respect for the existing structures and with the determined aim of allowing the terroir to express its fabulous qualities. Since his death in 1980, his daughter Corinne Mentzelopoulos has been managing the estate and pursuing the investment program of her father.
Owner: Corinne Mentzelopoulos
Administrator: Paul Pontallier
Cellar master: Philippe Berrié
Vineyard manager: Julien Boiteau
Oenologist: Jacques Boissenot
Blend of the 1998 vintage: 2% Cabernet Franc, 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot
Ageing: 100% in new barrels during 24 month/s
Thursday, September 24, 1998
Soil: Gravels on a subsoil of limestone and clay
Area: 80 hectares
Average age of the vines: 36 years
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