This is the first time in history that the prestigious Classified First Growth Margaux distinguishes a vintage with a unique new look. The inspirations behind this elegant label are manifold. The new design is, above all, a tribute to Paul Pontallier, who passed away much too early in March of 2016, leaving behind the 2015 vintage as the last one created under his direction. This special edition also celebrates 200 years of architecture at the estate and the inauguration of the new cellars designed by Lord Norman Foster. Finally, it is simply one of the greatest vintages in the history of the property.
The climatic conditions of 2015 were, in fact, characteristic of the very best vintages of the estate, including those of 2005, 2009 and 2010. The red grape harvests at Château Margaux took place between September 18th to October 6th. The small size of the berries and their thicker skins suggested a very high tannic concentration. This wine has become an important part of the estate's history, in which 2015 was a very significant year. Chateau Margaux celebrated, in 2015, both the bicentennial of the construction of its historical buildings in 1815, and the inauguration of the new premises designed by architect Norman Foster. In terms of blends, only 35% of the total harvest was selected for the first wine, a record in a vintage of this level. As usual, the Cabernet Sauvignon constitutes the frame with 87% of the assembly. In addition to its concentration and finesse, this year the varietal displayed an unusual vigour and strength. Merlot forms 8% of the blend in the first wine. Cabernet Franc (3%) and Petit Verdot (2%) also find their place in this exclusive blend, demonstrating the way all grape varieties can be allowed to express their own genius in such carefully chosen blends. How to describe Chateau Margaux 2015 compared to its predecessors? There are of course similarities, but also some differences where we do not expect them ... We can, when tasting the 2015, evoke the strength of 2005, the flesh of 2009, the subtlety of 2010, and the charm that defines the wines of Chateau Margaux.
The 2015 Chateau Margaux is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Medium garnet-purple colored, the nose features oh-so-seductive notes of warm blackberries, cassis and black forest cake with touches of forest floor, sandalwood, anise and cigar boxes plus a waft of lavender. Medium to full-bodied, it delivers taut, muscular, densely packed black fruits and exotic spice flavor layers supported by a very firm backbone of grainy tannins with oodles of freshness and a long, savory finish. It is tightly knit and a little reticent at this very youthful stage; afford it at least 15 years in the cellar, and it will open out into a classic Chateau Margaux of incredible proportions. Readers may be interested to know that this wine is beautifully packaged in a special commemorative bottle honoring winemaker Paul Pontellier, who passed away in 2016. The gold-etched black bottle bears the message, Hommage à Paul Pontellier at the bottom. This 2015 is an achingly beautiful swan song from an incredibly gifted winemaker, taken from us too soon. In my view, this alone makes this vintage more than worth the investment for the many lovers of history in a bottle.