Château Margaux has been producing wine since the early 1600s, is one of Bordeaux’s five fabled first growths and has long been recognized as one of the world’s great wine estates. Following the French Revolution, the estate fell into neglect until it was bought in 1801 by the Marquis de la Colanilla, who rebuilt the striking chateau to its current glory. The chateau then passed through various families, coming close to bankruptcy on more than one occasion, until Greek businessman André Mentzelopoulos bought the property in 1977. He oversaw significant improvements including vineyard replanting and renovations to the wine making facilities. His widow Laura and daughter Corinne assumed control in 1980. The property is currently overseen by Corinne, who was helped by the managing director, the late régisseur Paul Pontallier, until his untimely death in 2016.
There are 92 hectares under vine, 80 of which are red – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc – and the remaining 12 are Sauvignon Blanc for the estate’s one white wine, Pavillon Blanc. No insecticides are used.
The red wine is fermented in oak and spends 18 to 24 months aging in barrels. The white is also fermented in oak, and aged for the shorter time of six to eight months. The estate’s second wine, Pavillon Rouge, first bottled in 1908, is made from younger vines and parcels that are not selected for the grand vin. It is a more approachable wine intended for earlier drinking, but which retains Margaux’s trademark finesse.