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Professional Ratings: 99 The Wine Advocate, 98 James Suckling, 96 International Wine Cellar, 95 Wine Spectator
Region: Margaux, Bordeaux, France
Varietal: Bordeaux Red Blends
Other Info: Great Wine Gift, Collectible Wines
Item no. 86525
An extraordinary wine and undeniably one of the great wines of the Medoc, and qualitatively a wine that towers over what other estates produced in the appellation of Margaux, the 2003 Chateau Margaux is made in a style that almost mirrors Lafite Rothschild in 2003. Last year I thought it could represent a hypothetical blend of the 1990 and 1996, but the wine has taken on even more opulence and seductiveness in an almost atypical but still fragrant, elegant, classic Chateau Margaux personality. Dense ruby/purple to the rim with an extraordinary floral nose intermixed with blackberries, cassis, mineral, licorice, and some vanilla, the wine is dense, opulent, voluptuously textured, with wonderful sweetness (reminiscent of 1982 and 1990 in that sense), low acidity, but tremendous concentration and an almost seamless integration of all components – alcohol, tannin, new wood, and acidity. This is truly sumptuous stuff that should drink reasonably well young after 4 or 5 years in the bottle and age for 30+ years. Bravo!
Am I being too stingy with the 2003 Chateau Margaux? A wine of extraordinary complexity and intensity, it reveals a deep purple color, a style not unlike the 1990 Margaux (possibly even more concentrated), a velvety texture, and notes of spring flowers interwoven with camphor, melted licorice, creme de cassis, and pain grille. Not a blockbuster, it offers extraordinary intensity as well as a surreal delicacy/lightness. There is riveting freshness to this offering, which tips the scales at a lofty (for this estate) 13.5% alcohol, as well as an alluring sweetness and accessibility. It probably will tighten up over the next few years. Nevertheless, it is a profound Chateau Margaux that brings to mind a hypothetical blend of the 1982 and 1990. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2035.
This is a wonderful surprise. Showing an amazing nose of dried raspberries, strawberries, and flowers. On the palate this wine is full bodied, with pretty framed fruit and silky tannins. This wine is deep and wonderful, with scores of complexity... fascinating stuff. This is drinking like an old classic right now, but could still use five years in the bottle. Don’t pull the cork until at least 2015 to see it’s true glory.
Full, saturated red-ruby. Knockout nose combines redcurrant, tropical chocolate, leather, woodsmoke and nutty oak with exotic chocolate mint and coffee liqueur; still manages to retain floral lift even in this beastly vintage. Then wonderfully fat, sweet and full, even if it comes across as almost heavy following the ineffable 2005 and 2004 examples. But "relatively inelegant" for Margaux still suggests a degree of refinement that few chateaux can match in the greatest vintages. A hugely rich and dense wine that finishes with elevated but ripe tannins and great length, with a subtle suggestion of dry spices. Pontallier says the terroir will take over in 20 years, "like with the '82." Splendid.
This shows the heat of the vintage, revealing a hint of torrefaction amid the coffee, tobacco, currant and blackberry aromas, and a decidedly singed plum skin edge along the core of blackberry and black currant flavors. The tannins are fine-grained, the acidity evident and the finish long and beguiling. Great terroirs always let the vintage speak while being able to handle extremes: This is exhibit A.