Chateau Cantenac Brown 2016
The quality of the wines is no accident: the predominantly gravelly slope in the village of Cantenac produces some of the best wines in the world and is location of many Crus Classes of Margaux. The soils, poor and generous at the same time, added to deep rooted vines and the vintners’ know-how lead to fine, elegant and perfectly balanced wines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc produce subtle wines with an intense bouquet, well-suited for laying down. Merlot makes up the remainder of the vines and contributes to color, richness and roundness.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2016 Cantenac Brown comes from a Margaux estate that has upped its game in recent years. It has an intense bouquet with floral aromas filtering through the black cherries, cassis and boysenberry notes, in an odd way almost Saint-Emilion in style. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin. Silky smooth with very well-judged acidity, there is a sorbet-like freshness imbued into this Margaux and it just glides across the palate towards the quite sensual finish. This is certainly equal to the impressive 2015 Cantenac Brown. Rating: 92-94
On the slightly fuller end of the Margaux spectrum, the Cantenac Brown marries ample ripeness with lifting freshness on the nose and refuses to give in to weighty excess in the mouth. It is very rich, to be sure, but it counts fruity precision first among its gifts, and shows great stamina and staying power at the finish. It may not demand a decade of cellaring but is capable of handling that much and more with ease, and, as with any well-regarded claret from a good year, time will bring rewards that can be found by no other means than waiting.
The Cantenac Brown soil is typical Medoc gravel. This beautiful, brilliant quartz, formerly called "Medoc diamonds" reflects the sun's rays onto the grapes by day and then releases the heat stored during the day to warm the grapes by night. Cabernets, in particular Cabernet Sauvignons, do well in this soil. They produce fine wines, with an intense bouquet, which are suitable for aging. Merlot, with which they are blended, provides color, richness and smoothness.
Silky, seductive and polished are the words that characterize the best wines from Margaux, the most inland appellation of the Médoc on the Left Bank of Bordeaux.
Margaux’s gravel soils are the thinnest of the Médoc, making them most penetrable by vine roots—some reaching down over 23 feet for water. The best sites are said to be on gentle outcrops, or croupes, where more gravel facilitates good drainage.
The Left Bank of Bordeaux subscribes to an arguably outdated method of classification but it is nonetheless important in regards to history of the area. In 1855 the finest chateaux were deemed on the basis of reputation and trading price—at that time. In 1855, Chateau Margaux achieved first growth status, yet it has been Chateau Palmer (officially third growth from the 1855 classification) that has consistently outperformed others throughout the 20th century.
Chateau Margaux in top vintages is capable of producing red Cabernet Sauvignon based wines described as pure, intense, spell-binding, refined and profound with flavors and aromas of black currant, violets, roses, orange peel, black tea and incense.
Other top producers worthy of noting include Chateau Rauzan-Ségla, Lascombes, Brane-Cantenac, and d’Issan, among others.
The best wines of Margaux combine a deep ruby color with a polished structure, concentration and an unrivaled elegance.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.