Owner: Corinne Mentzelopoulos
Appellation: Margaux AOC
Classification: Premier Cru (First Growth)
Vineyard area: 87 hectares, of which 80 are planted (Red), 12 hectares (White)
Average annual production: 130,000 bottles (Grand vin Chateau Margaux), 115,000 bottles (Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux), 40,000 bottles (Margaux du Chateau Margaux), 12,000 bottles (Pavillon Blanc du Chateau Margaux)
Colour: Red and White
Standard Blend: 87% Cabernet Sauvignon / 8% Merlot / 3% Cabernet Franc / 2% Petit Verdot (2015)
Second wine: Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux
At the end of the 17th Century, Chateau Margaux occupied 265 hectares, with a third dedicated to vines. The estate began to attract international appeal when Thomas Jefferson placed an order for Margaux in 1784 on which he wrote “there couldn’t be a better Bordeaux bottle”. However, the boom of Bordeaux was short-lived due to the start of the French Revolution (1789 – 1799).
Chateau Margaux changed hands several times in the years after the French Revolution and throughout the early 19th Century. Wine trader Fernand Ginestet acquired the property in 1950. Fernand and his son reorganised the vineyard, turning Chateau Margaux into one of the best wine producers in Bordeaux. However, the recession of the 1970s and a series of poor vintages forced them to sell the property.
Chateau Margaux was eventually sold to Andre Mentzelopoulos in 1977, who reconstructed both the property and the vineyards. Unfortunately, Andre died in 1980, unable to enjoy fruits of his labour.
His daughter Corinne worked with a team chosen by her father and organised an exchange of shares negotiated with the Agnelli family. In 2003 the Agnelli Group sold their shares to Corinne Mentzelopoulos, making her the sole shareholder of the estate.
Recently Philippe Bascaules was appointed managing director of Chateau Margaux. He is to succeed the late Paul Pontallier who worked at the estate since 1983. Bascaules was originally hired by Pontallier in 1990 and worked alongside him for 21 years. After spending the last few years at Francis Ford Coppola’s Inglenook winery in Rutherford Napa, Bascaules will return to the estate in 2017.
Chateau Margaux was awarded the “wine of the vintage” in the Liv-ex Bordeaux 2015 members’ survey. The 2015 vintage also received widespread critical acclaim, with James Suckling describing it as “the greatest Margaux ever made” and awarding it 100 points.
Neal Martin awarded the wine 98-100 points and described it as a fitting tribute to the late managing director, Paul Pontallier. In an article for Wine Advocate, Martin compares Pontallier to the late David Bowie: “while neither creator lived to share these parting gifts, they live on through the immense pleasure they will bestow for many years to come”.
The 2015 now commands a Market Price of £5,300 per 12×75, up 27.7% on its original UK merchant offer price.
The Margaux index – which tracks the price movements of the last ten physical vintages – is up 21.2% over the past year. This makes Margaux the second best performing First Growth over one year, pipped only by Lafite Rothschild. It has outperformed the Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 index which has gained 19.5% over the same period.
Of the recent vintages, 2013 and 2014 have been the top performers over the past 12 months, up 44.3% and 34.3% respectively. The 2007 followed close behind with a 33.3% increase. Despite the percentage increases, these continue to be among the cheapest vintages on the market. The 2005 has the smallest increase in price, but was already trading at the highest vintage price a year ago.
There is a very clear difference in price between top Margaux vintages and those from ‘off’ years, with ’05, ’09, ’10, ’15 priced in the range of £5,300-£6,600, and all others below £3,600. Of the lower priced vintages, buyers might find value in 2012 (WA 96). It is available for less than the lower scored 2006, 2007, and 2011 vintages with a Market Price of £3,300 per 12×75.