2015 will be remembered as the last vintage of Paul Pontallier, the master behind Ch Margaux’s greatness over the last 30 years His untimely death this March just before his 60th birthday is huge loss for all of us who love wine.
He has left us with an extraordinary Grand Vin Ch Margaux and possibly his finest 2nd wine in Pavillon Rouge. Both wines remain as a testament to Paul’s brilliance and reputation as one of the finest winemakers of his generation. It is only fitting that we mark these wines with his own thoughts, spoken just before he died.
“I have been lucky enough to see the 2015 vintage at birth, then grow and blossom in the blending, and to have the privilege of being able to rely on a team whose skill, enthusiasm, respect for tradition and whose passion for excellence have helped me a great deal at this difficult time. 2015 will remain a fantastic and emotional vintage for all of us; we have celebrated our rich history, inaugurated the buildings of our future and produced a wine whose quality will be remembered for a very long time.” Paul Pontallier 1956-2016
It was hard not get a little emotional when tasting this glorious wine, being Paul Pontallier’s last vintage before he died so sadly at just 58. With 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, this balances the natural intensity of the variety with extraordinary discretion and refinement, such a hallmark of both the Château and Paul’s style of winemaking. One of the wine world’s true greats has left us with a lasting testament to his extraordinary skills. Drink 2024-2040. Goedhuis, Score: 97-98
The 2015 Château Margaux is a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot, all together representing 35% of the total production at the estate. Raised entirely in new oak, it has a lucid garnet color. The bouquet is aimed directly at the senses – there is no dilly-dallying about, as it almost knocks you off your stool with its intense mineralité embroidered into this iridescent, graphite-tinged nose. The focus and penetration here ranks among the finest that I have tasted at this estate since first coming here in 1997. The palate is astonishingly well balanced, perfectly poised with super-fine tannins wrapped around pure blackberry, bilberry, graphite and cedar fruit. Like the Pavillon Rouge this year, there is a Pauillac-like sense of authority and aristocracy, leavened by Margaux-inspired femininity that completes that standout 2015 on the Left Bank. Beg for a bottle and worry about the cost later. Post script: I composed this tasting note five days before the passing of Paul Pontallier. It is a final gift from a gifted winemaker. Neal Martin, Score: 98-100
Great breadth and savour on the nose. Lovely freshness and sophistication. Lots of fine tannins. Very aérien. Really flies! Perfect Margaux. A great welcome for the new chai and memorial for Paul Pontallier. Still tight but nothing out of balance. Very Margaux. Very classic claret. Quite brave because there is nothing showy about this wine, but it could truly be described as beautiful. 13.5% Drink 2026-2046 Jancis Robinson, Score: 19
The greatest Margaux ever made. More than perfection. Full body, firm and ultra-silky tannins. Black currant, mineral and floral character. It starts slowly and seems almost endless on the palate. Seamless. I want to sing! This is the wine that Margaux never made in some of the classics vintages like 1961, 1959 and 1945. May be its the 1900 all over again? Breathtaking.James Suckling, Score: 100
My joint top wine (with Ch Mouton Rothschild) of the vintage. Pure charm: the palate is discreet at the start and then goes on forever, always with the château’s silky texture and fine, firmly structured tannins. This will become a very great wine. Decanter, Score: 98
With exceptional intensity and masses of power balanced with extraordinary subtlety and intellect, this is an exquisite wine. Similar to the 2010 in terms of classical dimensions and 2009 in terms of richness, it is the perfect embodiment of Paul Pontallier who passed away one week before the En Primeur tasting week. His son, Thibault, gave the most moving tasting, referring to his father throughout and he was so proud that his father had presided over this magnificent wine. I am shocked by the depth and also the finesse here. The length is mind-blowing and the power is otherworldly. This wine is only a half-step back from the perfect 20/20 Score of the 2010 vintage and yet I wonder if that during the remaining time spent in oak the flavours will grow further pushing this wine up to another perfect Score. I trust that Paul’s aura is still taking care of this vintage right through until bottling and so the chances are that it will. Matthew Jukes, Score: 19.5+