Margaux: a guarantor of finesse
For Bordeaux experts, it makes perfect sense that this prestigious appellation in the southern part of the Médoc, just 30 kilometres from Bordeaux's city centre, has a female first name. The best Margaux crus, owing to their delicacy and subtle elegance, are frequently described as feminine. Nonetheless, Margaux wines have been increasing in fullness as a result of a warming climate. Despite their elegance, the wines possess great longevity.
Red wines from Margaux
It is a subject of constant debate whether the legendary elegance of Margaux wines is due primarily to the terroir, the choice of variety, or the vinification process. Most likely, all three factors play a role. However, it is striking that many prestigious Margaux crus are prepared according to a highly balanced variety formulation, in which Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in lighter form, and Merlot in particular plays an important supporting role.
In Margaux, many of the most prestigious cru classés lie close to one another around two villages at the appellation’s centre: Margaux and Cantenac. Here, vines are grown on a six-kilometre-long, two-kilometre-wide plateau, whose soil is marked by white gravel. In the peripheral areas of the appellation, the gravel terroir is far less homogenous, and the best locations here are scattered across small gravel hilltops.
Many classified crus
The cultivation area of 1,100 hectares produces exclusively red wines, albeit with a few exceptions like the Pavilion Blanc of Château Margaux. The maximum yield is set at 40 hectolitres per hectare. With twenty classified crus, the spectrum ranges from premier to cinquiéme crus. No other communal appellation in the Médoc has such an array of prestigious châteaux.
As always, finesse is the central characteristic that differentiates a successful Margaux wine from the often more tannic, more powerful growths from elsewhere in the Médoc. Nonetheless, Margaux crus have noticeably increased in concentration in the last 20 years. While they were a maximum of 12.5 percent alcohol by volume in the early 90s, 13.5 percent has now become the norm. In order to maintain the Margaux finesse, the appropriate expertise must be applied in both the vineyard and the cellar.