Chateau Labegorce 2017
Blend: 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Under the helm of Marjolaine de Coninck, who arrived from Fonplegade in 2009, this estate has been firing on all cylinders, and they've made a beautiful 2017 Chateau Labegorce. Based on 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot that spent 14 months in 45% new oak, its deep purple/plum color is followed by a complex, medium to full-bodied, seamless Margaux that has complexity as well as depth and richness. With lots of cassis fruit and notes of sandalwood and spice, they’ve done a fabulous job with the tannins, and it has a great mid-palate and outstanding purity. You’d be excused for drinking bottles today, yet it should benefit from short-term cellaring and evolve for 15 years. This estate covers 65 hectares (there are 53 hectares under vine) located just north of the town of Margaux, on the plateau just across the road from Lascombes.
This has a swathe of very attractive plums and ripe red berries on offer. The palate has a very fresh array of fine tannins. Smooth and easy with a rich, deep-set drive to the finish. Drink or hold.
Ripe and stylish, featuring dark plum and blackberry compote flavors, infused with singed alder and tobacco notes. The fine-grained finish has nice flow. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2032.
This is a wood-laden, spicy wine. It seems as though the wood has taken precedence over the fruit, giving the tannins prominence. While it will soften, the wine’s dryness will stay. Drink from 2024.
Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2017 Labégorce has quite an oaky nose to begin, giving way to scents of warm plums, pencil shavings and blackcurrant pastilles plus a waft of black olives. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers a lot of muscular fruit, framed by firm, chewy tannins and bold freshness, finishing a little hard. Rating: 90+
The Labégorce vineyards include three main plots, totalling 70 hectares in all, although only approximately 40 hectares are fully planted up. All three plots lie in the northernmost part of the commune. The largest plot, accounting for about two-thirds, lies just northeast of the fine chateau, which was constructed by the renowned architect Courcelles. There is a second plot around the chateau itself, accounting for about a quarter of all the Labégorce vines, while the smallest plot lies a little further north around the church in Soussans. The vines average 30 years of age, with the oldest vines, of which there are just four hectares, dating from between 1902 and 1950. More date from 1951 to 1985, whereas a quarter date from 1989 when extensive replanting took place. Vineyard practices involve careful use of chemicals, with no herbicide used at all, and yields are typically 50 hl/ha. Harvesting is by hand, and fermentation begins with a short, cold maceration followed by a temperature controlled process. Each parcel of vines, of which there are many, is vinified separately. The blend is 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Malolactic fermentation takes place in oak, 30% of which is new, where the wine spends up to fifteen months. It is fined using egg whites before bottling. The grand vin is Chateau Labégorce, and the second wine is Chateau Tour de Laroze. There is also a third wine, produced from a 4 hectare plot entitled to the Haut-Médoc appellation, called La Mouline de Labégorce
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.