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The Margaux appellation

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The Margaux appellation

carte AOC Margaux

Margaux is unquestionably the most famous appellation not just in the Médoc, but all Bordeaux.  The whole world recognises the excellence of its wines.

Located on the Gironde estuary and sheltered from ocean winds by a huge pine forest, the vines benefit from an outstanding climate: plenty of sunshine, mild winters and summers that are dry, but not too dry. These are ideal conditions for producing very great wines.

The Margaux appellation was created on 10 August 1954.

Only red wines made from grapes grown in the communes of Margaux, Soussans, Labarde, Arsac and Cantenac are entitled to the appellation.  This is the largest of the Médoc's 6 communal appellations, with 1,488 hectares under vine (or 8.5% of all the Médoc vineyards). An average 9 million bottles a year are produced in Margaux by 84 independent winegrowers. The appellation has no fewer than 21 great growths (i.e. one third of all those included in the 1855 classification), as well as 25 crus bourgeois and 38 crus artisans and other crus.

The Terroir.
château Dauzac image 1

This appellation features beautiful gravelly rises, vestiges of ancient alluvial terraces eroded over thousands of years by paleoclimates in the Quaternary Period. The thickness of the layer of gravel is variable and the subsoil includes limestone, clay and silt. This soil, with its river rocks, flint, and agatoid and lydian stones is naturally suited to making quality wines. The meagre soil is paradoxically a source of wealth for winegrowers, who have an age-old saying, "If the vine has to suffer a little, the quality will be better for it".

The official specifications for this appellation are very strict.

The wines of Margaux must meet several criteria:

  • come from one of the 5 legally authorised communes (excluding, of course, land that, because of the soil or geographical location, are unsuitable for viticulture),
  • be made from selected grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (predominantly), Merlot,  and Cabernet Franc (to a lesser extent),  as well as Petit Verdot and Malbec (very small percentages),
  • minimum natural sugar: 178 grams per litre of must,- minimum alcoholic degree: 10.5°,
  • limited yields (usually about 45 hectolitres per hectare, but this figure is revised every year).

Characteristics of  the Margaux appellation wines

These usually have a deep, superbly brilliant garnet-red colour with purplish highlights. Thanks to the quality of the final blend, the wines are very elegant with fine balance and body on the palate, underpinned by delicate, tasty, fine-grained tannin. They have a very long aftertaste with remarkable roasted aromas. It is said that the wines of Margaux are the most "feminine" in the Médoc... and also the world's most elegant.  They display a quality that some people refer to as "quiet force".The wines of Margaux can age for a very long period (over 50 years in outstanding vintages such as 1945), maintaining their balance and smoothness through the years. 

A few tasting tips : It is preferable to decant the wines at least one hour before the meal and serve them at 16°C to enjoy all their depth and sensuality. The wines of Margaux are a perfect match for gourmet dishes such as partridge with cabbage or châteaubriand steak. 

vignoble AOC Margaux