Château Margaux 2018
- James Suckling – (99 – 100)
Wow. This takes off on the palate the moment you taste it. Aromas and flavors of redcurrants, flowers, cherries and hints of hazelnuts. Full-bodied, tight and compact, but the linear tannins, running down the center of the wine, draw the wine through the finish. Superb.
Wine Advocate – Lisa Perrotti-Brown (97 – 100)
The 2018 Château Margaux is made of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. The grand vin represents 36% of the crop this year. The wine has a pH of 3.8 and 14% alcohol. Deep purple-black in color, it comes prancing out of the glass with energetic Morello cherries, black raspberries and blackberry pie scents plus nuances of fragrant soil, candied violets, lavender, sandalwood, unsmoked cigars and black olives with a gentle wave of cassis and licorice emerging with coaxing. Full-bodied, the palate is charged with the most amazing energy, delivering layer after layer of red and black fruits with tons of earthy nuances, framed by the most exquisitely ripe, fine-grained tannins, finishing with amazing freshness and an extraordinarily long-lingering perfume. Magnificent.
“I think September made the vintage,” Managing Director Philippe Bascaules told me. “But we had to take time. Time is important for full ripeness of tannins. We started the Merlot harvest September 17 and finished on September 24. Then we waited until October 4th to begin harvesting the Cabernet. We have a lot of tannin this year. The extraction was huge in the early days. The very small berries made the extraction so easy. So, we changed the winemaking a little bit. Made it softer. We followed the maceration every day.”
The grand vin this year is off the charts incredible. Exotic, flamboyant, totally decadent—but what I particularly love is a freshness and brightness that comes not just from acidity (in fact, the acid is relatively low this year) but from bright red fruit and floral sparks in the wine that provide a seamlessness. Potentially perfect—bravo!
- Decanter – Jane Anson (98)
Without doubt an incredible Margaux, although whether it will equal the 2015 remains to be seen. It’s less serious than the 2016 but every bit as good, floating above the palate, performing that acrobatic trick that only happens in the really great years. It’s silky yet intense and powerful, with sweet, fleshy and succulent raspberry cut through with fresh rosemary and sage that add texture and grip. The menthol side of the Cabernet is already coming through, which suggests the fruit was just perfectly ripe – these are aromatics that you don’t get in true heatwave years like 2003. The flavours stretch out, gently gripping and keeping you involved in what is unfurling.
Harvested between 17 September and 13 October, with an average yield of 31hl/ha due to both mildew and the concentration of the berries that occured at the end of ripening. The impact was uneven, depending on the vineyard blocks, so yields actually varied between 15 and 50hl/ha. The best plots were the least affected, which means that unusually there is more production in the grand vin and in Pavillon, with less in the third and fourth wines. Final numbers are 36% of production here, 30% in Pavillon Rouge.
83IPT. 100% new oak. 12% press wine. 2% Petit Verdot completes the blend.