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Chateau Margaux 2003

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750ML / 0% ABV
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750ML / 0% ABV

Winemaker Notes

An extraordinary wine and undeniably one of the great wines of the Medoc, and qualitatively a wine that towers over what other estates produced in the appellation of Margaux, the 2003 Chateau Margaux is made in a style that almost mirrors Lafite Rothschild in 2003. Last year I thought it could represent a hypothetical blend of the 1990 and 1996, but the wine has taken on even more opulence and seductiveness in an almost atypical but still fragrant, elegant, classic Chateau Margaux personality. Dense ruby/purple to the rim with an extraordinary floral nose intermixed with blackberries, cassis, mineral, licorice, and some vanilla, the wine is dense, opulent, voluptuously textured, with wonderful sweetness (reminiscent of 1982 and 1990 in that sense), low acidity, but tremendous concentration and an almost seamless integration of all components – alcohol, tannin, new wood, and acidity. This is truly sumptuous stuff that should drink reasonably well young after 4 or 5 years in the bottle and age for 30+ years. Bravo!

Critical Acclaim

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RP 99
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Am I being too stingy with the 2003 Chateau Margaux? A wine of extraordinary complexity and intensity, it reveals a deep purple color, a style not unlike the 1990 Margaux (possibly even more concentrated), a velvety texture, and notes of spring flowers interwoven with camphor, melted licorice, creme de cassis, and pain grille. Not a blockbuster, it offers extraordinary intensity as well as a surreal delicacy/lightness. There is riveting freshness to this offering, which tips the scales at a lofty (for this estate) 13.5% alcohol, as well as an alluring sweetness and accessibility. It probably will tighten up over the next few years. Nevertheless, it is a profound Chateau Margaux that brings to mind a hypothetical blend of the 1982 and 1990. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2035.
JS 98
James Suckling
This is a wonderful surprise. Showing an amazing nose of dried raspberries, strawberries, and flowers. On the palate this wine is full bodied, with pretty framed fruit and silky tannins. This wine is deep and wonderful, with scores of complexity... fascinating stuff. This is drinking like an old classic right now, but could still use five years in the bottle. Don’t pull the cork until at least 2015 to see it’s true glory.
WS 95
Wine Spectator
This shows the heat of the vintage, revealing a hint of torrefaction amid the coffee, tobacco, currant and blackberry aromas, and a decidedly singed plum skin edge along the core of blackberry and black currant flavors. The tannins are fine-grained, the acidity evident and the finish long and beguiling. Great terroirs always let the vintage speak while being able to handle extremes: This is exhibit A.
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Chateau Margaux

Chateau Margaux

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Chateau Margaux, France
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Chateau Margaux, a Premier Grand Cru Classé Bordeaux, is one of the most famous wines in the world. Care has been lavished on the property by a line of owners with an abiding concern for the reputation of the estate.

For more than five hundred years, season after season, generations of vineyard-workers, grapeharvesters, cellar-workers, coopers and many other craftsmen have all played a part in making Chateau Margaux what it is today: a wine with an incomparable personality, reflected in the elegant Palladian building which adorns its label. In 1977, the estate was purchased by the late André Mentzelopoulos, and it is now run by his daughter, Corinne Mentzelopoulos.

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Margaux

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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.

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Bordeaux Blends

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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, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

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