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Chateau Margaux. What can you say? A Premier Grand Cru Classe (one of the five in all of Bordeaux) since 1855. An estate that appears to have existed in one form or another for almost 1,000 years. In fact, Thomas Jefferson said of Margaux in 1787 that Chateau Margaux was "one of the top 4 Bordeaux wines" (we've corrected the spelling - he apparently knew more about wine than about spelling). In its best years, this is the most perfumed, seductive and "feminine" of the first growths.
Chateau Margaux has about 80 hectares of land planted, 75% to Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% to Merlot, 3% to Petit Verdot and 2% to Cabernet Franc. This is not a small vineyard, and while production is accordingly reasonably high, it isn't enough to satisfy global demand so, as is the case for all of the first growths, prices can be impressive!
This vintage ended up producing a wine which will go down in history for its classicism and purity. The Cabernet Sauvignon has seldom achieved such a perfection of style and such good balance. What is even rarer perhaps, is to find in a young wine, only just after its blending, the ability to impress and move us at once through the purity of its fruit, the density of its structure and the harmony of its shape. It is a dream of a Margaux.
100 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1996 Chateau Margaux, a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, must be a strong contender for wine of the vintage. It offers everything you desire from this First Growth. It is blessed with breathtaking delineation and freshness on the nose, understated at first and then blossoming with mineral-infused black fruit, hints of blueberry, crushed stone and violet. The palate is perfectly balanced with filigree tannin, perfect acidity, a wine where everything seems to be in its right place. Blackberry, crushed stone at the front of the mouth, just a touch of spice towards the finish that shows supreme control. This is a Margaux that seems to light up the senses. It was outstanding in its youth...something that has not changed one bit over the intervening two decades. This may well turn out to be the Left Bank pinnacle of the 1990s. Tasted July 2016. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2050
95 Points - Wine Spectator
Fully formed now, with a rush of steeped currant and black tea notes that are melded with a backdrop of anise, sandalwood, bergamot and charcoal. The long, suave finish lets the perfume linger, with a weighty feel. This seems to mark the start of the refinement of tannins; despite the power, this is all grace and elegance.
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