Margaux 2015


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Tasting Notes

The 2015 Chateau Margaux was the final vintage under Paul Pontallier before his untimely passing in April 2017 and a specially engraved bottle has been made to honor the gentleman that did so much for this first growth. Nevertheless, one must be objective about the wine. It was so impressive in barrel, perhaps the finest from the left bank. Would it match up in bottle? The answer is an unequivocal affirmative. It has an incredibly perfumed bouquet with pure black fruit, oyster shell, crushed flowers and just a faint hint of black truffle. It is more nuanced than when I tasted it from barrel, taking its time to unfold in the glass with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine, almost chiseled tannin and a perfect line of acidity. Continuing from its showing in barrel, the Cabernet Sauvignon drives this wine forward and imparts a keen graphite thread from start to finish that lends it a Pauillac-like personality. Think of a more feminine Château Latour and you would be close. It is a long-term Château Margaux that will give pleasure for many decades, a fitting tribute to the man whose name is engraved on the bottle. Anticipated maturity: 2025 - 2070.

Score: 99Neal Martin, -, March 2018

The 2015 Château Margaux is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, all together representing 35% of the total production at the estate. Raised entirely in new oak, it has a lucid garnet color. The bouquet is aimed directly at the senses - there is no dilly-dallying about, as it almost knocks you off your stool with its intense mineralité embroidered into this iridescent, graphite-tinged nose. The focus and penetration here ranks among the finest that I have tasted at this estate since first coming here in 1997. The palate is astonishingly well balanced, perfectly poised with super-fine tannins wrapped around pure blackberry, bilberry, graphite and cedar fruit. Like the Pavillon Rouge this year, there is a Pauillac-like sense of authority and aristocracy, leavened by Margaux-inspired femininity that completes that standout 2015 on the Left Bank. Beg for a bottle and worry about the cost later. Post script: I composed this tasting note five days before the passing of Paul Pontallier. It is a final gift from a gifted winemaker. Drink 2028-2070.

Score: 98/100Neal Martin, Wine Advocate (224), April 2016

This is a haunting young wine that shows you a subtle and hidden strength on the nose with rose petals, currants, currant leaves, stones and plums. Wonderful ripeness yet brightness, too. Takes your breath away with the intensity and structure. Full-bodied, powerful and muscular, yet there's an agile undertone to the whole thing. Compact and condensed. A new legend for Margaux. The 1961 that didn’t happen. Try in 2024.

Score: 100James Suckling,, February 2018

The greatest Margaux ever made. More than perfection. Full body, firm and ultra-silky tannins. Black currant, mineral and floral character. It starts slowly and seems almost endless on the palate. Seamless. I want to sing! This is the wine that Margaux never made in some of the classics vintages like 1961, 1959 and 1945. May be it's the 1900 all over again? Breathtaking.

Score: 100James Suckling,, March 2016

The 2015 Margaux is a compelling, arrestingly beautiful wine that expresses all the best qualities of the vintage. Dark, fleshy and richly textured, the 2015 nevertheless retains the super-classic Margaux sense of structure. Time in the glass brings out the wine's rich, multi-faceted personality. I imagine the 2015 will enjoy a very long and uninterrupted drinking window that will last decades. As exceptional as the 2015, it is not easy to taste. I walked the vineyards at Margaux with Paul Pontallier in late July of that year. A few months later, Pontallier's life was tragically cut short by a very aggressive cancer. The 2015 will live on as a fitting testament to the legacy of a man who did so much for Chateau Margaux and Bordeaux. 2025 - 2065

Score: 99Antonio Galloni,, February 2018

The 2015 Margaux is a super-classic wine. In 2015, most Margauxs are notably intense, but Château Margaux expresses the richness of the year in its surprising tannic backbone and overall structure. Far from an up-front or sensual wine, the 2015 Margaux is likely to require considerable cellaring. It is a tightly-wound wine that manages to be both powerful and crystalline in its translucent purity. The 2015 is a wine of real density and yet so very much Margaux. About 35% of the crop went into the Grand Vin.

Score: 95/98Antonio Galloni,, April 2016

Tasted blind. Blackish crimson. Heady, rich, right-bank sort of aroma. Thick and sweet. Flattering and concentrated but without lift or that much freshness. Rather edgy and awkward.
Drink 2026-2042

Score: 17.5Jancis Robinson MW,, February 2019

Great breadth and savour on the nose. Lovely freshness and sophistication. Lots of fine tannins. Very aérien. Really flies! Perfect Margaux. A great welcome for the new chai and memorial for Paul Pontallier. Still tight but nothing out of balance. Very Margaux. Very classic claret. Quite brave because there is nothing showy about this wine, but it could truly be described as beautiful. 13.5%
Drink 2026-2046

Score: 19Jancis Robinson MW,, April 2016

The 2015 Chateau Margaux is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Medium garnet-purple colored, the nose features oh-so-seductive notes of warm blackberries, cassis and black forest cake with touches of forest floor, sandalwood, anise and cigar boxes plus a waft of lavender. Medium to full-bodied, it delivers taut, muscular, densely packed black fruits and exotic spice flavor layers supported by a very firm backbone of grainy tannins with oodles of freshness and a long, savory finish. It is tightly knit and a little reticent at this very youthful stage; afford it at least 15 years in the cellar, and it will open out into a classic Chateau Margaux of incredible proportions. Readers may be interested to know that this wine is beautifully packaged in a special commemorative bottle honoring winemaker Paul Pontellier, who passed away in 2016. The gold-etched black bottle bears the message, “Hommage à Paul Pontellier” at the bottom. This 2015 is an achingly beautiful swan song from an incredibly gifted winemaker, taken from us too soon. In my view, this alone makes this vintage more than worth the investment for the many lovers of history in a bottle. 2023 - 2050

Score: 99Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Advocate (Interim Fe), February 2018

Since the early 1980's Chateau Margaux has produced many excellent vintages. It is always impressive, whilst remaining fine and elegant. This is where we most often find the "Iron Fist in a Velvet Glove". Margaux is certainly the most stylish, charming and sophisticated of the First Growths. Quality is maintained here by a rigorous selection process and since 2009 there has been a third wine (Margaux de Margaux) produced as well as the popular second wine Pavillon Rouge. There is also a 4th wine sold off in bulk to a local negociant. Tragically, the man responsible for 30 years of great vintages here, Paul Pontallier, passed away in early 2016 but he was able to see the outstanding promise in this, his final vintage, as well as the completion of new building work designed by Lord Norman Foster. The 2015 vintage Chateau Margaux represents 35% of the total production and is made from 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot in 100% new oak. Deep purple colour. Layers of blue and purple fruits on the powerfully aromatic nose that is just bursting from the glass. Violets, truffles, sweet smoke, incense, and cedar are all in evidence. The palate is immediately ripe, smooth, supple and layered. Superb levels of ripe blackcurrant, black cherry and plum give a juicy entry that build with silky tannins that build through the mid palate to perfectly frame the huge intensity of fruit. There is an unctuous ripeness that still manages to retain a floral, mineral edge as the smoky, sweet vanilla oak builds on the finish. Incredible purity and layer upon layer of complexity. A real triumph, and doubtless wine of the vintage. A truly wonderful wine.

Score: 19+Farr Vintners, March 2016

The grand vin is the 2015 Château Margaux and it’s as good a wine as I’ve ever tasted. Coming from just over one-third of the total production and a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and the balance Petit Verdot, brought up in 100% new French oak, its deep ruby/purple-tinged color is followed by a thrilling bouquet of crème de cassis, toasted spice, hints of toasty oak, and cedar wood. Incredibly elegant and finesse-driven, yet packed with fruit, depth, richness, and structure, it has as much class as you can fit inside a glass. While the vintage provides plenty of upfront charm, this is a wine to cellar for at least a decade, and enjoy over the following 40+ years. 2026 - 2066

Score: 100Jeb Dunnuck,, November 2017

Fresh and fragrant the nose has a mix of red and black fruits the start of the palate sweet with ripe fruit. Supple generous in the middle a complex mix of fruits. Perfect balance freshness yet sweetness fine tannins ethereal a stylish elegance. Richer at the back the fruit is sweet with depth on the finish.

Score: 95/98Derek Smedley MW,, April 2016

A great vintage at Château Margaux and a fitting tribute to the memory of the equally great
Paul Pontallier. This is a poised, elegant, beautifully framed claret, with perfume, structure,
acidity and a core of red and black fruits complemented by notes of graphite and green
pepper. Au revoir, Paul. Et merci. Drink: 2022-35

Score: 97Tim Atkin MW,, April 2016

With exceptional intensity and masses of power balanced with extraordinary subtlety and intellect, this is an exquisite
wine. Similar to the 2010 in terms of classical dimensions and 2009 in terms of richness, it is the perfect embodiment of
Paul Pontallier who passed away one week before the En Primeur tasting week. His son, Thibault, gave the most moving
tasting, referring to his father throughout and he was so proud that his father had presided over this magnificent wine. I
am shocked by the depth and also the finesse here. The length is mind-blowing and the power is otherworldly. This wine
is only a half-step back from the perfect 20/20 score of the 2010 vintage and yet I wonder if that during the remaining
time spent in oak the flavours will grow further pushing this wine up to another perfect score. I trust that Paul’s aura is
still taking care of this vintage right through until bottling and so the chances are that it will.

Score: 19.5+Matthew Jukes, Matthew Jukes' Blog, April 2016

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.