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As ever only an edge off the pace of the Grand Vin. Unlike most Bordeaux estates who produce a second wine, Ch Margaux also indulges in a third and a fourth. This means the second, Pavillon Rouge, is proportionally improved by this stricter selection. And selection was extreme this year, Thibault Pontallier explained. They will produce half the volume of Pavillon Rouge in 2017 compared to 2016. This is an enchanting wine; crunchy and vibrant, with aromatic poise and supple tannins. The open, red fruit palate is already approachable and should make an immensely enjoyable early-drinking style.
The 2017 Pavillon Rouge de Margaux, which is matured in 50% new oak, has a lovely, melted tar-tinged bouquet with plenty of black fruit. I like the definition and focus here. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly gritty, rigid tannin on the entry that lend this Pavillon Rouge quite a firm backbone. It does not convey the elegance of the 2016 but there is plenty of spice and vigour on the finish. 2021 - 2032
Blended of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, the deep garnet-purple colored 2017 Pavillon Rouge du Chateau Margaux has a lovely open and expressive spicy nose of cinnamon and cloves with a core of red currant jelly, kirsch and crushed blackberries plus touches of tobacco and new leather. The palate is medium-bodied with great mid-palate intensity and plenty of red and black fruit layers, finishing on an uplifting perfumed note.
Inky black colour. Delicate and super-pure dark fruit, Dark and savoury on the palate, rich and deep in savoury black fruit. Very smooth but with attractive density, smooth and dark and very long. Elegant and flowing across the palate. (JH) 13.1% Drink 2025-2035
There is very pretty purity of fruit to this with lots of currant, strawberry and plum character. Lots of chocolate and hazelnut too. Full body, velvety tannins and a chewy finish. Excellent for the vintage. About half the normal production. This is the same level of quality as 2016.
The 2017 Pavillon Rouge is a very pretty wine. Fresh, floral and beautifully lifted, the 2017 is all class. There is a purity to the flavors here that is simply remarkable. Estate Manager Sebastian Vergne told me the winemaking team opted to raise temperatures at the end of fermentation to gain a bit more color, depth and polymerization of tannins. Pavillon Rouge represents 22% of the estate's production.
This has great concentration, with carefully balanced black fruits that are fleshy and inviting but unfussy. The berry size was a little bigger than last year after the September rains (70mm in 20 days) so there is a feeling of juice and mouthwatering seduction once you give it some time to work through the initial austerity. There's no dilution through the mid-palate, and it's one of the few second wines that really gets your attention in 2017. They lost 10% of the crop to frost, giving a yield of 35hl/ha, with no secondary fruits used in Pavillon or Margaux (not even the first generation buds from any affected plots). 22% of total production is the lowest ever for Pavillon, and combined with the low yield means there will be 40% fewer bottles. The vineyards were entirely organically farmed in 2017, although there are still no plans to go for certification. Harvested 18-26 September. 3.7pH. IPT 73 - as high as last year. 4% Cabernet Franc also in the blend. Will be 60% new oak. Drinking Window 2024 - 2038
22% of production was used for this wine – approximately half of last year’s quantity. There were 8 hectares damaged by frost, so approximately 10% of production was lost. The season was ‘easy’ apart from that but from the second week of September, the rain came and then it went, thankfully, and higher temperatures returned with the sunshine. They harvested everything fairly smartly. This is a bright, very intense Cabernet-themed wine with amazing density considering its framework, which is not muscular at all. The purple-ink colour and incredible length are fascinating. On paper it is not dissimilar to the 2016, but in flavour terms it couldn’t be more different. It needs time to soften, as this is a tense, coiled-up Pavillon.
Known as the most elegant and aromatic First Growth due to its Cabernet-friendly, sandy soil, Château Margaux is owned by Corinne Mentzelopoulos and managed by the dynamic Paul Pontallier. Château Margaux's vineyard holdings amount to almost 200 acres, though a much smaller percentage is selected for the grand vin to ensure exceptional concentration.
Plump, silky and seductive are the words often used to describe wines from Margaux. Because of their style, they tend to be user friendly and more approachable when young. This is in part due to its terroir which is comprised of the thinnest soil as well as the highest proportion of chunky gravel in all of the Médoc. It drains well but also is it more susceptible to vintage variation. Margaux wines tend to have the highest proportions of Merlot within the core of the Médoc further adding to their ample roundness and openness. Margaux is home to the largest number of classified growths including its namesake first growth, Château Margaux, as well as third growths, Palmer and d'Issan.