Grand Cru Selection
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Deep colour, a very high 90% of Cabernet Sauvignon dominates with amazing purity and noblesse (Paul Pontallier), freshness combined with great depth and perfect tannins, a 100% Chateau Margaux (for Pontallier 2000 and 2005 were 100% ).
After a rather cold winter (particularly during the month of February) but fortunately with more rainfall than in 2005, spring was so dry we almost started to get concerned about a possible lack of water for the vines. But that would have been forgetting just how adaptable vines are during a period of drought, and especially just how well great terroirs manage to even out such climatic extremes. On the other hand, our frost protection system was unable to prevent damage on April 11 at Virefougasse, the plot which produces the Pavillon Blanc, and resulted in a serious reduction in the potential yield. The flowering, which took place in excellent conditions, promised an average-sized crop of red at picking dates very close to those of the previous two years. The summer was then hot, even turning into a heat-wave during the last two weeks of July, the weather then cooled a little in August. It was dry, in particular: it rained less in July and August than during that same period in 2003! September brought the usual contrasting types of weather: very hot and dry for the first ten days, then mild and humid until the beginning of the harvest, then sufficiently dry to carry out the picking without any rush. This pattern of weather bears a strange resemblance to that of 1996, which had the same summer rain, the same very favourable weather at the end of August, and exactly the same rainfall from September 1st until the end of the picking. ... For a number of years now, we have had a succession of great and very great vintages, surely proving that, at least so far, the weather conditions have particularly favoured the ripening of the Cabernet grapes. It shouldn’t be overlooked though, that this success has also been the result of more and more rigorous selection: in 2006, barely 36% of the crop went into the first wine, which will only be a third by the time it is bottled, after the unavoidable loss of the lees wine at each racking. One single batch of Merlot, though of remarkably high quality, finally went into the blend, but it only represents 4% of the whole… It is the first time we have had so little. The Petit Verdot (4%) and the Cabernet Franc (2%) make up their usual proportions; they each bring added complexity that is difficult to define, but is most certainly a necessary contribution to the character of the wines of Château Margaux. The Cabernet Sauvignon therefore takes up almost all of the place: 90%! It brings to the 2006 an extraordinary aromatic finesse, a tannic richness that is second only to the 2005; and a particularly dense and tight-knit texture. The finish is very long, fresh and lively, a little bit firm but already packed with flavour. 2006 is therefore a great Château Margaux vintage. Of course, it is not 2005, or 2000; those vintages are exceptional. But it does have both the grace and the purity of the 1996, the so classic freshness of the 2004 and the heady power of the 1986 or the 1995. Such balance is a brilliant expression of Château Margaux’s noble terroir.
Showing an intense, dark and lovely red color, this wine offers a very aromatic, fine, fruity, complex and particularly fresh nose. Once decanted, it performs more complex and sweeter. On the palate, it is a concentrate of softness and mellowness, with plenty of taste and richness on the mid-palate. The wine finishes long, very tasty and a tad vivid when non-decanted. Decanting it improves its volume on the palate, its fat sensation and length on finish as well as the mellow character of its tannins. Wait until 2017 and drink before 2040. Note that since this tasting; I have retasted this wine twice, including one purchased bottle. I have always rated it consistently 18.25 // . Above all, it appears slightly better than the 2004 thanks to a superior fruit ripeness.
It is worth noting that when the bottled 2006 Chateau Margaux, which appeared closed and less impressive than I had predicted from barrel, was retasted alongside the remarkable 2008, I elevated my score to 94+. It does not possess the size or power of the 2008 or 2005, but the 2006 exhibits impressive density, a deeper color, and the beautifully textured, pure style that is a hallmark of this estate.
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 2006 vintage: 2% Cabernet Franc, 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot
Ageing: 100% in new barrels during 20 month/s
Friday, September 15, 2006
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Soil: Gravels on a subsoil of limestone and clay
Area: 80 hectares
Average age of the vines: 36 years
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