1996 - Ch Margaux 1er Cru Margaux
Colour
Red
Producer
Château Margaux
Region
Margaux
Grape
Cab. Sauvignon/ Merlot/ Cab. Franc/ Petit Verdot
Drinking
2007 - 2060
Case size
12x75cl

1996 CH MARGAUX 1ER CRU MARGAUX - 12x75cl

Colour
Red
Producer
Château Margaux
Region
Margaux
Grape
Cab. Sauvignon/ Merlot/ Cab. Franc/ Petit Verdot
Drinking
2007 - 2060
Case size
12x75cl

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Tasting Notes

  • RP3

    Robert Parker, July 2006,
    Score: 100

    The 1996 Chateau Margaux, a blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc, must be a strong contender for wine of the vintage. It offers everything you desire from this First Growth. It is blessed with breathtaking delineation and freshness on the nose, understated at first and then blossoming with mineral-infused black fruit, hints of blueberry, crushed stone and violet. The palate is perfectly balanced with filigree tannin, perfect acidity, a wine where everything seems to be in its right place. Blackberry, crushed stone at the front of the mouth, just a touch of spice towards the finish that shows supreme control. This is a Margaux that seems to light up the senses. It was outstanding in its youth...something that has not changed one bit over the intervening two decades. This may well turn out to be the Left Bank pinnacle of the 1990s.

  • RP2

    Robert Parker, April 1997,
    Score: 96-100

    Chateau Margaux, along with Leoville-Las Cases in St.-Julien, was among the handful of properties that did not finish their Cabernet Sauvignon harvest until October 12. Whether that was a factor or not, both of these estates undoubtedly produced compellingly great wines in 1996. At Chateau Margaux, the Cabernet Sauvignon was picked between October 1 and October 12. The final blend produced a wine with nearly 13% natural alcohol, and relatively low acidity. I have tasted some extraordinary Margauxs over the last 18 years, but I have never tasted a Chateau Margaux as rich and Cabernet-dominated as the 1996. Certainly the 1986 came close to this level of quality at the same stage of development, but the 1996, which is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot, and 10% Merlot, contains 10% less Merlot than the 1986. Unequivocally, the 1996 Margaux is a candidate for perfection. The Mentzelopoulos family has made a number of spectacular wines since they took over this estate in 1977, but the 1996 is so extraordinary that it may prove to be more prodigious than the legendary wines they fashioned in 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, and 1990. Paul Pontallier and Corinne Mentzelopoulos confirmed that they had never before picked Cabernet Sauvignon with such high sugars. The 1996 Margaux boasts an opaque black/blue/purple color that resembles ink. The nose offers extraordinarily sweet, jammy, blackcurrant fruit that has totally absorbed the effects of four months in 100% new oak barrels. I noticed this phenomenon with most of the top 1996s, and I consider it to be indicative of just how rich in extract the finest wines of this vintage are. I cannot recall a young vintage absorbing and masking the new oak as well as the finest 1996s have done. The wine hits the palate with extraordinary purity, richness, and equilibrium. Every component in this seamless, velvety as well as voluptuously-textured wine is stunning. As I was slushing the wine around on my palate, chills suddenly ran down my back as I realized I was in the presence of one of the greatest young wines I had ever tasted. Given the high Cabernet Sauvignon content, I expected the tannins to be more obvious, but this wine is so rich that the high tannin level is buried beneath the wine's extraordinary levels of glycerin, extract, and fruit. It is difficult to imagine when this wine might reach full maturity. I suspect it will exhibit more tannin in 1-2 years than it does at present, but the wine possesses such amazing sweetness and richness, that I suspect it will be approachable when young. It will not hit its peak for 15 or more years. It will be a fascinating wine to follow over the next 3-4 decades. Kudos to Corinne Mentzeloupolos and her mother, as well as their talented administrator, Paul Pontallier. Anticipated maturity: 2004-2035.

  • RP1

    Robert Parker, February 1998,
    Score: 98-100

    The 1996 is a modern day legend. I reported in detail on the prodigious quality of the 1996 Margaux in issue #110. This wine, a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot, achieved a natural alcohol of nearly 13%. The wine's acidity is low, largely because the estate harvested the Cabernet Sauvignon extremely late, not completing the harvest until mid-October. The wine, which was the single greatest wine I tasted from the 1996 vintage in spring, 1997, continues to give every indication of being one of the all-time great clarets from this renowned wine region. The dense opaque purple color possesses a thick, unctuous texture. The nose offers celestial aromas of cassis, vanillin, and intriguing blackberry and floral scents in the background. Despite aging in 100% new oak, the fruit dominates the wine, with the oak offering a minor background nuance. In the mouth, the wine is massive, but not heavy, with extraordinary richness, perfect precision and equilibrium, an opulent texture, and remarkably well-integrated tannin, acidity, and alcohol. Revealing dazzling sweetness at present, the 1996 may be the finest Chateau Margaux I have tasted in the two decades I have been visiting this property. Can it surpass the quality of the 1990, 1986, 1983, and 1982, not to mention the fabulous 1995? Time will tell, but this is one of the most compelling wines I have tasted. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2040.

  • RP

    Robert Parker, April 1999,
    Score: 99

    The 1996 Chateau Margaux, which was bottled in September, 1998, is undoubtedly one of the great classics produced under the Mentzelopoulos regime. In many respects, it is the quintessential Chateau Margaux, as well as the paradigm for this estate, combining measured power, extraordinary elegance, and admirable complexity. I tasted the wine on three separate occasions in January, and in short, it's a beauty! The color is opaque purple. The wine offers extraordinarily pure notes of blackberries, cassis, pain grille, and flowers, gorgeous sweetness, a seamless personality, and full body, with nothing out of place. The final blend (85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc) contains a high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. It tastes complete and long, although backward. My instincts suggest this wine will shut down, but at present it is open-knit, tasting like a recently bottled wine. The fruit is exceptionally sweet and pure, and there are layers of flavor in the mouth. I do believe this wine will develop an extraordinary perfume, and possess a high level of richness. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2040.

  • JR

    Jancis Robinson, Sept 2011,
    Score: 18

    Dark crimson. Very fine, together and fragrant. Sweet and very Margaux – super charming. Already quite evolved for a first growth! Lovely polish. Though you would need to distract from the fine tannins there in abundance on the finish. Very fresh. No shortage of acidity. A little fragile and spiky. Drinking dates 2006-2020

  • CC

    Clive Coates, June 2001,
    Score: 18.5/20

    Good colour. Rich, full, oaky nose. Plenty ofdepth here. This is fine, a long way ahead ofthe rest of the Margaux. Ripe, rich, classyand multi-dimensional. Very long.Drink 2006-2012

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Producer

Château Margaux

Known as the most elegant and aromatic First Growth due to its Cabernet-friendly, sandy soil, Château Margaux is owned by the Mentzelopoulos family. The estate's vineyard holdings amount to almost 200 acres, though a much smaller percentage is selected for the grand vin to ensure exceptional concentration.

Region

Margaux

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.