About Margaux wine
Margaux bathes in the reflected glory of its namesake First Growth. It is also the largest of the four classic Médoc appellations. While the other three are connected in one unbroken chain of vineyards, Margaux stands alone to the south, with its vines spread across five communes — Labarde, Arsac and Cantenac to the south, Margaux in the centre and Soussans to the north. Margaux and Cantenac are the most important communes and, of course, Margaux contains the First Growth of Château Margaux itself. Cantenac has a slightly larger area under vine and no less than eight classified growths, including the star-performing Château Palmer. Margaux and Pauillac are the only appellations in the Médoc with First Growth vineyards, but only Margaux can boast vineyards in all five categories of the Classification. It also has more cru classé châteaux than any other Médoc appellation, including an impressive total of ten Third Growths.
An outstanding wine
As Bernard Ginestet says in his book Margaux, “While other areas produce wines with pronounced characteristics which are readily identifiable — like a man with a beard or a big nose — Margaux is the epitome of refinement and subtlety”. If the massive wines of Latour and Mouton are an object lesson in how it is possible to bombard the senses with power and flavour, and yet retain remarkable finesse, then the exquisite wines of Margaux are proof that complexity does not necessarily issue from an intense concentration of flavour. This is not to suggest that Margaux wines do not possess some concentration; for Château Margaux has remarkable concentration, yet remains the quintessential wine of this appellation.
Margaux Cru Classé statistics
Crus classés in AOC Margaux.
21 châteaux (35% of all crus classes) with 854 ha (2,110 acres) of vineyards (35% of all crus classes).
1st Growths: 1 château (25% of all 1st Growths) with 75 ha (185 acres) of vineyards (25% of all 1st Growths).
2nd Growths: 5 châteaux (36% of all 2nd Growths) with 271 ha (670 acres) of vineyards (34% of all 2nd Growths).
3rd Growths: 10 châteaux (72% of all 3rd Growths) with 305 ha (754 acres) of vineyards (72% of all 3rd Growths).
4th Growths: 3 châteaux (30% of all 4th Growths) with 105 ha (259 acres) of vineyards (22% of all 4th Growths).
5th Growths: 2 châteaux (11% of all 5th Growths) with 98 ha (242 acres) of vineyards (13% of all 5th Growths).
Factors affecting taste and quality
Location: In the centre of the HautMédoc, some 28 kilometres (17 miles) northwest of Bordeaux, encompassing the communes of Cantenac, Soussans, Arsac and Labarde in addition to Margaux itself.
Climate: As for the Médoc.
Aspect: One large, low-lying plateau centring on Margaux plus several modest outcrops that slope west towards the forest.
Soil: Shallow pebbly, siliceous gravel over a gravel subsoil interbedded with limestone.
Viticulture and vinffication: Only red wines have the right to the appellation. All grapes must be de-stalked. On average, between five and ten per cent yin de presse maybe used in the wine, according to the needs of the vintage. Skin-contact duration averages 15-25 days, with the period of maturation in cask currently varying between 18 and 24 months.
Primary grape varieties: Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Merlot.
Secondary grape varieties: Carmenere, Malbec, Petit verdot.
Appellation covers: parts of the communes of Arsac, Cantenac, Labarde, Margaux and Soussans as follows.
Size of commune: Total 7,512ha (18,562 acres).
Total AOC area under vine: 1,165 ha (2,878 acres) (16% of communes).
Surface area of crus classes: 854 ha (2,110 acres) (11% of communes, 73% of AOC).