Four Decades of Margaux

It had been many years since we did a vertical of a first growth. Linda and I have been collecting Chateau Margaux for almost 30 years, and decided it was time to give them a try. I split our collection into two tastings. This first batch begins in the middle, a tough time for Bordeaux and Margaux in particular.

We tasted the wines in reverse chronological order, from 1975 to 1949. Margaux was a property in decline during the 60s and 70s, and the first seven wines really reflected this. Even the 70 and 75 were uninspired. The 75 is probably the worst price performance ration of the bunch. The 66 and 64 were the first wines I would actually have consumed!

The reward was at the end While the most famous Margaux is perhaps the 59, it has never blown me away, but this was an excellent example. However it was eclipsed by the other three. 62 is an often overlooked year, having occurred in the shadow of the great 61s. This 61 did not disappoint. Despite an extremely low shoulder, it was a beautiful wine with many flavor profiles. But the stunner was the 1949, an extraordinarily fresh, feminine and complex wine that evolved in the glass for hours. A real treat to end on.

In September we’ll complete this tasting with vintages from 1977-1990.

1975 Ch Margaux Smoke bacon, tart, sour finish 84pts 432
1973 Ch Margaux Overripe fruit, stewed, sweet finish 85pts 175
1972 Ch Margaux Sawdust, oak 88pts 286
1971 Ch Margaux Face powder, cherry, balanced, coffee 89pts 225
1970 Ch Margaux Bug spray, ashes 88pts 212
1969 Ch Margaux Candy, funky, chemicals 83pts 220
1967 Ch Margaux Madeirized, bacon 84pts 158
1966 Ch Margaux Eucalyptus, mint, dust 89pts 188
1964 Ch Margaux Big fruit, wood finish, much disagreement about mildew, chocolate, caramel, the group was vehemently split on this wine, with some hating it 90pts 293
1962 Ch Margaux Fruity, young, violets, red fruits 94pts 629
1961 Ch Margaux Extremely low shoulder yet beautifully fresh, roses, sawdust, soy, earthy, waxy 97pts 910
1959 Ch Margaux Young and fresh, smoke, waxy 93pts 1,167
1949 Ch Margaux Cherries, bright fruit, light color, cinnamon, crisp, apple 99pts 1,643

Other wines:

2008 “Y” Steve botrytis, very fruity, dry but doesn’t seems so, semillon 99pts
1981 Alzeyer Sybillenstein Spatlese Ron medium amber, mint, floral, surprisingly sweet 89pts
2006 Adobe Road Pinot Noir Steve Varietal, cherries, leather 90pts
2006 Chateau Beaucastel CNDP Dick Cherries, vanilla 92pts
2000 Clos de Papes Ron Menthol, tar, cherries 94pts
2001 Casanova di Neri Tenuta Nuova Brunello di Montalcino Dick tar, chewy, black fruits 95pts
2006 White Oak Syrah Andy Vanilla, meat 90pts
2001 Marquis Phillips S2 John Syruppy, canilla 90pts
1999 Pride Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Ron Wood, a bit uni-dimensional considering its pedigree 95pts
2002 Torbreck “The Factor” Ron Black fruits, vanilla, bacon 92pts
1992 Hacienda Henline Conquistador Port John This wine was made in 1992 by John Henline from grapes from a vineyard at Martin’s old house that were planted by Steve, Linda and Martin. It is no longer a port, although I don’t know where the sugar and alcohol went. It’s now a medium weight fairly dry red. Amazingly, the Conquistador has retained its color, and the wine was quite drinkable, an impressive feat for such an old hybrid. 83pts