Family Tennis in Suffolk


Some of my favourite and most exciting wine experiences have often come about when I’m least expecting them. So often the well prepared bottle at a special occasion can underwhelm and then the spur of the moment hits the jackpot producing a wine memory beyond all expectations. There was certainly nothing to prepare me for the treat in store when 4 families met for a relaxed evening of mixed family tennis and kitchen supper.

As we arrived and determined to convince ourselves that despite the cold we were still in the midst of summer copious quantities of Ch St Baillon Rose were consumed between sets as always hitting the spot. As we wandered back for supper our host said with a gentle smile ” I thought we would open one of those wines you mentioned I should get on with and enjoy!” but I certainly wasn’t expecting to see bottles of 1996 Pavillon Rouge de Ch Margaux, the 2nd wine of Ch Margaux lined up on the kitchen table….What a treat indeed.


1996 Ch Margaux has always been one of my favourite wines of the vintage. As a property it excels in years when the expression of Cabernet Sauvignon is at its strongest and no vintage represents this better than in 1996. It is a stunning wine with immense poise and huge potential for even further aging.

More excitingly, as I discovered last week, the Pavillon Rouge 1996 is absolutely at its peak now. I don’t think I have tasted it since primeur time back in 1997, but what a wonderful glass it is now.

With production of the Grand Vin in 1996 being incredibly small, it meant an even greater percentage of the properties prime vineyards fruit went into the Pavillon Rouge and it certainly shows in the bottle.


This is a wine full of dense blackcurrant fruit flavours, fresh and full, with a gorgeous Margaux silky texture. It is still so full of life, deliciously vibrant and has fabulous length. It was quite simply wonderful.

As a man with no will power, whilst it will certainly keep, I think it is entering its peak of drinking. If anybody has any in their cellar, pull the corks, crack on and enjoy, whilst it shows all these stunning qualities. It will most definitely bring a smile to your face.

Mr Stanton, thank you very much indeed for your huge generosity and I am happy to come round for tennis any time!!

Anybody who has 1996 Ch Margaux in their cellars, you are even luckier as this is going to be very special indeed….