The Margaux appellation is the largest of the six communal AOCs, as well as being the southernmost and closest to Bordeaux. The Margaux appellation is home to 21 of the 61 Grand Crus Classés in the 1855 classification, making it the largest of all the Médoc's communal appellations. It is also the only appellation to bear the name of a 1er Grand Cru Classé, the legendary Château Margaux, whose quality is explained by its exceptional terroir, and which produces one of the region's most elegant wines.
Margaux is an appellation located in the Médoc vineyards of France, between the Atlantic Ocean and the left bank of the Gironde estuary.
It is the largest of the six Haut-Médoc appellations, covering 1,500 hectares in the communes of Arsac, Labarde, Margaux-Cantenac and Soussans.
The first vines were cultivated in Gallo-Roman times, and the Margaux appellation d'origine contrôlée was officially created on August 10, 1954.
The Margaux terroir benefits from a temperate oceanic climate, mild in winter, sheltered from summer heatwaves and with good rainfall distribution throughout the year. The proximity of the Gironde estuary helps to moderate temperatures and protect the vineyards from spring frosts.
Margaux vines are planted on gravelly hilltops, shaped by erosion, bordered to the east by the marshes of the estuary and to the west by the forests of the sandy Landes plateau.
These soils are made up of gravel and pebbles mixed with more or less clayey sand, helping to drain rainwater and sink the vine's roots to draw water and the necessary nutrients. As a result, the grapes are of the highest quality.
The terroir of the Margaux appellation, with its very gravelly soils and mild maritime climate, allows the grapes to ripen slowly, resulting in the incomparable finesse of its wines.
Margaux wines are renowned for their elegance, finesse and complexity, with fruity aromas of raspberry, cherry and redcurrant, as well as floral, spicy and roasted notes. Their aromatic bouquet is complex, with a smooth, velvety texture.
Historically, carmenère and malbec (or cot) grapes were planted and made the wines of the Margaux appellation. They were gradually abandoned to make way for the four grape varieties now dominant in the appellation: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
The Margaux appellation is renowned for producing some of the world's finest red wines, and not to be missed by collectors and connoisseurs, the Grands Crus Classés include :
Château Margaux - 1er Grand Crus Classé
Château Brane Cantenac - 2nd Grand Cru Classé
Château Lascombes - 2nd Grand Cru Classé
Château Palmer - 3rd Grand Cru Classé
Château Boyd-Cantenac - 3ème Grand Crus Classé
Château Cantenac Brown - 3ème Grand Crus Classé
Château Prieuré-Lichine - 4th Grand Cru Classé
Château du Tertre - 5th Grand Cru Classé
The Margaux appellation is renowned for producing wines of great consistency. The list of the best vintages is long, as the wines improve from year to year, with rare exceptions.
The years that have produced the best vintages in the Margaux appellation are: 1928, 1929, 1945, 1953, 1959, 1961, 1975, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1996, 2000, 2005, 2009, 2010.
1929 and 1990 are considered exceptional. They can even be described as "millennium vintages".
Margaux wines are elegant, complex reds that go well with a wide range of dishes. They go equally well with grilled, braised or roasted red meats, game meats, roast chicken and dishes with truffles.
Here are some food and wine pairings for Margaux wines:
* Roast meats: fillet of beef, suckling lamb from Pauillac or roast duck with foie gras. Their finesse and structure balance with the tenderness of the meat.
* Mushroom-based dishes, such as risotto with wild mushrooms, blanquette of veal with morels or sweetbreads with porcini mushrooms. Mushrooms bring out the earthy aromas of red wine.
* Margaux wines are one of the few wines that go equally well with fish, provided it's cooked with a sauce, such as lamprey à la bordelaise.
* Finally, Margaux wines are perfect with mature cheeses with a strong character, such as Comté, Saint-Nectaire fermier, Brillat-savarin (with or without truffles) and aged cheddar. The complexity of the red wine's aromas will match the richness and flavors of the cheese.