Tasted blind at the 2012 Southwold tasting, the 2012 Château Margaux has a taut, linear, pencil lead-infused bouquet with pure blackberry and boysenberry scents, an undercurrent of tobacco that surfaces after five minutes in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, crisp acidity, a life-affirming sense of balance with well-integrated new oak towards the finish. I concur with Robert Parker that his has become more structured and masculine in bottle, yet there is pedigree here from start to finish, a sense of effortlessness that is seductive. This is a top-class wine from the late Paul Pontallier and his team. Tasted January 2016.
Bay leaf and menthol hints lift a core of crushed plum and warm cherry confiture notes while the background fills steadily with black tea, singed alder and iron elements. Turns a little darker on the finish, with a coating of bittersweet cocoa powder and roasted vanilla bean accents, while the minerality stays buried for now. Remarkably dense and packed, yet refined. Needs some time to unwind. Best from 2018 through 2030.
Château Margaux is a jewel in the Medoc region of Bordeaux and is quintessential example of elegance, luxury, and balance that the rest of the world seeks. A high percentage of Merlot is blended with a Cabernet Sauvignon base compared to other First Growths and the soils are thin and gravely, producing a more feminine wine of strong aromas of dark berries, fine tannins, and a lengthy finish. The dramatic Château was declared an original First Growth during the 1855 Classification and has been a premier example of the potential of Bordeaux ever since.
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