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The 2010 is a brilliant Chateau Margaux, as one might expect in this vintage. The percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the final blend hit 90%, the balance Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and only 38% of the crop made it into the Chateau Margaux. Paul Pontallier, the administrator, told me that this wine has even higher levels of tannin than some other extraordinary vintages such as 2005, 2000, 1996, etc. Deep purple, pure and intense, with floral notes, tremendous opulence and palate presence, this is a wine of considerable nobility. With loads of blueberry, black currant and violet-infused fruit and a heady alcohol level above 13.5% (although that looks modest compared to several other first growths, particularly Chateau Latour and Chateau Haut-Brion), its beautifully sweet texture, ripe tannin, abundant depth and profound finish all make for another near-perfect wine that should age effortlessly for 30-40 years.
2010 Chateau Margaux: Paul Pontallier was rattling off some interesting statistics about Chateau Margaux. The 2000 (a great, great wine) was 13.1% natural alcohol, the 2005 13.1%, the 2009 13.2%, and the 2010, the highest ever measured, 13.5%. That is still nearly one degree less than the Pauillac first-growth of Chateau Latour at 14.4%. This blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc (representing only 38% of the total production) has the classic, quintessential Margaux character of spring flowers, almost cool-climate precision, medium body, and a seamless integration of tannin, wood and alcohol. The blue and black fruit characteristics are present, and the wine restrained. The most measured and polished of all the first growths I tasted, it is also less concentrated than any of the other first growths, but the elegance is classic. The harvest finished on October 15, which was not their latest by any means. This is one of the few first growths of 2010 where the tannins are remarkably delicate and sweet, and the softness of this wine will provide magical drinking at a relatively early age, yet its balance and concentration will carry it for 20 or more years.
The 2010 Château Margaux performed far better at this horizontal than at Farr's blind tasting a few days later. It has a beguiling bouquet, highly perfumed with crushed violets infusing the blackberry and crushed strawberry scented, hints of pencil box and cedar emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins and a fine bead of acidity. There is a wonderful sense of symmetry here with a silky elegant finish that is amazingly persistent. It is one of the best wines that Paul Pontallier ever made. Drink 2025-2060.
The 2010 Château Margaux is refulgent in colour with little ageing on the rim. The bouquet is stunning: brilliant definition, very mineral driven at first, becoming more floral with aeration. Blackberry, hints of graphite, iris more than violet here. The palate is really the complete package, combining the power and finesse that this First Growth delivers like few others when it is in top flight. There is a sense of symmetry here, everything perfectly balanced, tensile and brimming with energy. For sure, it is a long-term proposition and you might interpret that the finish is severe. Rather, it’s just too young to be approached and it will require a decade in bottle before it is anywhere close to ready. What a monumental Margaux this is turning out to be, perhaps even better than I thought. Tasted at the château. 2025 - 2065
The Grand Vin is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 1.5% each of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Bottled in late July, Paul Pontallier reminded me that the Grand Vin takes around six months before it settles down. Still, allowing several minutes aeration, it has a very intense bouquet of dark cherries, boysenberry, crushed stone and a hint of bay leaf that is beautifully defined, but as Paul mentioned, will need a months to blossom. The palate has a beguiling sense of symmetry: spine-tingling poise and tension. This is a magisterial Chateau Margaux with seamlessly integrated oak, pure dark berry fruit and an almost breathless, Burgundy-like purity on the satin textured finish. Utterly seductive, this is an incredible wine that will age for decades. Tasted November 2012.
A blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot and 1.5% Petit Verdot and 1.5% Cabernet Franc with a pH 3.65 (it was 3.75 in 2009.) The Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the nose more than any other vintage of Chateau Margaux that I have tasted out of barrel, lending it a Pauillac-like personality. Blackberry, graphite and a soupcon of liquorice. The tannins are exceptionally fine, real backbone here and a sense of ambition that I think neither the 2008 nor even the 2009 demonstrated. The clarity on the finish is truly outstanding and it seems to mellow and gain more sensuality with further aeration. Tasted March 2011.
Deep garnet in color, the 2010 Château Margaux features notions of minted blackcurrants, new leather and Black Forest cake with nuances of sautéed herbs, tar, underbrush and wild fungi plus a waft of cedar. Full-bodied, the palate has a rock-solid structure of firm, grainy tannins and bold freshness supporting the taut, muscular fruit, finishing long and earthy. 2023-2060
This was phenomenal from barrel and remains so. The aromas are spellbinding. It smells like a bouquet of pink roses and then goes to currants, berries and citrus. Full body, with wonderfully refined tannins. It starts discretely and then grows to different levels and dimensions like a slow but big high tide. The texture is so beautiful. Try it in 2020 or beyond.
A phenomenal nose of roses, violets, and other flowers. Subtle yet rich raspberries and currants. It is 90 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. The is a curious wine, almost ethereal. It is all in the front of the palate with ultra-fine tannins. It is full and very, very rich but it is forever balanced and in harmony What a wine. It is a pinpointed wine. So cerebral. It sends shivers down my spine. Incredibl
Mid layered crimson. Saline and gently done on the nose. Deliberately restrained. Almost defiantly restrained! Was it picked relatively early? It certainly suggests that more time is needed for the tertiary flavours to emerge. Dry finish. Quite a contrast to the opulent Palmer 2010! 13.5%
Drink 2025 – 2045
Amazingly dark purple. Very, very strongly Cabernet Sauvignon (90% of the blend - only 2006 matched it) with some light vegetation at first which opened out and mellowed to something utterly seductive in the glass. Dry and intense. Very rich on the front and amazingly supple - it smells as though it may be going to be a bit of brute but on the palate it is still so intense and polished initially but then it is clear that there are masses and masses of tannins. There is noble, fine, perfectly confident, minerally fruit that opens out on the palate. It is thinkable to drink this already! Paul Pontallier: 'We decanted the samples but it still grows in the glass.' 13.5%
Since the early 1980's Margaux has produced many excellent vintages under the assured direction of Paul Pontallier.It is always impressive whilst remaining fine and elegant. Margaux is certainly the most stylish and sophisticated of the First Growths. Quality is maintained here by a rigorous selection process and 2010 will see the launch of a new third wine. Only 38% of the crop has been used for the Grand Vin. It is stongly Cabernet Sauvignon this year- 90% with 7% Merlot and 1.5% of each Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. It has a wonderfully exotic and seductive aromatic nose with hints of violets and Asian spices. The palate has layers of complexity. This is a seamless wine that oozes class and sophistication; black pepper, truffles, vanilla, tobacco, cassis and cream.... The flavours go on and on yet there is a wonderful lightness of touch. This silky Margaux is staggering. So different from Latour (for example) less power and more elegance. This is maybe less opulent than the 2009 but has more freshness and density. Should develop into one of the greatest wines ever made here.
The plushness of the Merlot fills out the nose lots of attractive ripe fruit. Black fruits are to the fore blackcurrant and bramble under pinned by cherry but there is freshness with hints of red cherry towards the back. It is rich and powerful opulent sensuous but has fragrance and an amazing rather understated elegance.
Superb colour, a lovely concentration of polished flavours that stay on the palate forever, unbelievable freshness and density, a truly great wine. Drink 2020-50.