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Margaux 2023: tasting notes

db’s Bordeaux correspondent Colin Hay gives his tasting notes on all the Margaux estates from this year’s en primeur campaign, finding it one of the most exciting appellations this year.   

This year, as is now my habit, I have again decided to provide an indicative rating for each wine alongside the published comment. All such comments and ratings are necessarily subjective (they cannot be anything else when one thinks about it). I would urge you to look at the two together and, if anything, to privilege the comment over the rating. My aim is more to describe the wine in the context of the vintage, the appellation and recent vintages of the same and similar wines, rather than to judge the wine per se.

The ratings, of course, reflect my subjective evaluations and relative preferences between wines. Your palate is likely differ from mine. I hope that my comments give you at least enough information to be able to recalibrate my ratings and, in so doing, to align them more closely to your own palate. To give an example: if the idea of the ‘new classicism’ leaves you cold, you may well wish to discount the (typically high) ratings I have given to wines described in such terms.

2023, like both of its predecessors is, of course, a far from homogeneous vintage – and, consequently, my ratings span a considerable range (from the very top of the scale downwards). I see little interest, either for the consumer or the producer, in publishing very low scores. Consequently, I have decided not to publish scores for classed growths (or equivalent wines) that I have rated below 90 (here the range 89-91) and for crus bourgeois (or equivalent wines) that I have rated below 89 (here the range 88-90). Where no rating is published, the wine would have scored below these thresholds. Where my written assessment of the wine might also have proved unflattering to the property, I have simply chosen to publish neither the commentary nor the rating.

Finally, élevage is likely to be very important in determining the quality in bottle of these wines. I am no soothsayer and cannot predict how that will turn out (another reason for the use of banded ratings). But all en primeur ratings should be treated with caution and taken with a certain pinch of salt.

Detailed tasting notes


Alter Ego de Palmer (Margaux; 53% Cabernet Sauvignon; 43% Merlot; 4% Petit Verdot; tasted at the property with Thomas Duroux; one third of the crop, coming from the more classic lighter gravel soils so characteristic of the appellation). Pure, quite herbal and wild, almost sauvage, with red and darker berries, sage, a little mint too. An iris floral notes comes through with aeration. And there’s cherry too – above all cherry skin. Very pure and intense with very impressively fine-grained tannins. Liquorice brings a delicate salinity. This maybe lacks a little complexity, certainly in comparison with the grand vin, but it’s certainly very fine texturally. 91-93.


Angludet (Margaux; 43% Cabernet Sauvignon; 40% Merlot; 17% Petit Verdot; 13.7% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin). Aromatically, I find this quite saline in its minerality and a little closed – which rather draws attention to it. A gentle if very subtle iris floral note, assorted crushed berries, predominantly dark, and a trace of walnut oil. This is a good Angludet, with impressive mid-palate density for the vintage and appellation. It perhaps lacks the complexity of the greatest wines of the appellation, but it is undoubtedly very well made and nicely energetic and dynamic. I prefer this to the 2022. 90-92.


D’Arsac (Margaux; 80% Cabernet Sauvignon; 20% Merlot; a final yield of a rather impressive 50 hl/ha; 13.4% alcohol; Boissenot Consulting). All of the Merlot here was picked after the mid-September rain. Pretty. Floral, with peonies, lily of the valley and a little violet, cedar too. Very lifted, fresh and pure, with quite a pronounced salinity to its minerality. Fine-grained glossy, yet grainy, grippy tannins reminding you ,all the way to the finish, just how long this is. Deceptive because of its finesse and delicacy, for there is depth and power here too. Impressive and likely to represent excellent value. 89-91.


Baron de Brane (Margaux; 48% Cabernet Sauvignon; 43% Merlot; a final yield of 45.7 hl/ha even after some green harvesting; 20% press wine; pH 3.54; 13.8% alcohol; all from the 5th terrace, close to du Tertre). Gently herbal with heather and bright crunchy red and some darker berry fruit notes. A lovely mid-palate density capable of shaming many a grand vin in this vintage in a blind tasting. Very pure, with those fantastically svelte, signature ‘Brane’, tannins. Nice concentration and I like very much the turn from berry to stone fruit as the wine unfurls and softens on and over the palate, finishing on grape and cherry skins. 91-93.


Blasson d’Issan (Margaux; 49% Cabernet Sauvignon; 48% Merlot; 3% Malbec; pH 3.50; 13.94% alcohol; tasted at the property). Limpid and glossy, quite viscous for the vintage, with a lovely wild strawberry note alongside the cassis. Gently floral, with redolent and archetypally Margaux rose petals. Excellent texturally. The tannic quality is really impressive and showcases the massive improvements made here both technically and in the vineyard in recent vintages. The tannins of the grand vin itself were not of this quality a decade ago. Chewy, a little crumbly even on the finish, but fresh and poised with nice clarity. Long on the finish with a parting note reminiscent of chewing on grape skins having spat the pips. 91-93.


Brane-Cantenac (Margaux; 77% Cabernet Sauvignon; 20% Merlot; 1% Carménère; 1% Cabernet Franc; 1% Petit Verdot; an impressive final yield of 45.7 hl/ha with some green harvesting, the mildew pressure successfully negociated; 14% press wine; pH 3.59; 13.5% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin and then with Henri Lurton; all taken from Terrace 4 on the plateau de Brane; 100% new oak and malolactic in barrel). Radiant, exuberant and aromatically very expressive, yet at the same time intimate and enticing as if it’s focusing in on your wavelength and addressing you directly. Incense, parfumier’s violets, black cherries by the punnet-full, wild strawberries (from the Merlot I presume), mulberries, graphite, cedar, walnut shell. Wonderful texturally with the tannins and the acidity so finely integrated. They steer, shape, structure and sculpt this through the detailed and delineated mid-palate. Incredibly refined and so plunge-pool crystalline. Exquisite. Calm tranquillity on the one hand and yet so vibrant and energetic on the other. Another brilliant expression of its terroir and technically so accomplished. Chapeau à Christophe Capdeville and Henri Lurton. A wine with so much poise and élan! 96-98.


Cantenac Brown (Margaux; 71.5% Cabernet Sauvignon; 27% Merlot; 1.5% Cabernet Franc; a final yield of 38.5 hl/ha; 13.5% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin). Very pretty and very floral, with assorted freshly picked wild field flowers, wild herbs and a gentle dark berry fruit generously enrobed in cedar. There’s a little black cherry too. On the palate, it’s the lovely crystallinity of the mouth-feel that wows – and gosh, does it wow! Fluid, sinuous where Brane is more direct and linear, with a little less extraction too but the same gracious tannins. Very fine indeed. Very juicy. The competition amongst the top Margaux grands vins is, like the wines they have produced, intense. Bring it on! 94-96.


Chevalier de Lascombes (Margaux; 70% Merlot; 27% Cabernet Sauvignon; 3% Petit Verdot; a final yield of 35 hl/ha; 13.5% alcohol; they have made more of this than the grand vin; 115 of the 120 hectares are currently in production). Already a statement of ambition, this is sourced from what they rather euphemistically call the ‘satellite’ parcels (just over half of the total surface area of this immense estate). Lovely croquant raspberry, blueberry and cassis notes, a little redcurrant too. Aerial. Less floral than the grand vin, but made in very much the same new style: very pure-fruited, limpid and very crystalline, pure and precise. Transparent in the mouth and very linear, but with decent substance too. A subtle balance, a gentle harmony. 90-92+.


Dauzac (Margaux; 66% Cabernet Sauvignon; 34% Merlot; a final yield of 35 hl/ha; 14% alcohol, suggesting perhaps that some of the Merlot here was quite late-picked; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin). A parfumier’s essence of violet and rose petal, very attractive and very intense, is liberally interspersed with and generously infusing the cherry stony fruit, a little bramble and cassis as well. Finely textured and very impressive, though lacking the mid-palate density and layering of the very best wines of the appellation, the fruit stretched just a little thinly. But this I find very technically accomplished, the challenges of the vintage well-managed. 91-93.


Desmirail (Margaux; 55% Cabernet Sauvignon; 37% Merlot; 4% Petit Verdot; 4% Cabernet Franc; a final yield of 46 hl/ha; 13% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin). This has been improving at a most rapid pace in recent vintages, and I was almost expecting more, even if this wine would have clearly exceeded my expectations of a few vintages ago. Initially, less floral than the 2022 and a little closed. But actually, with aeration it starts to unfurl like a fern frond – and the wine starts to speak. Violet and lavender, iris too. Black cherry and cassis. Plump and plush on the palate, with lovely graphite notes and a hint of cedar. Not the most concentrated but with considerable depth and some layering. Not at the level of the 2022, nor as dramatic, but it’s very good nonetheless. One feels that exactly the right balance has been struck. 92-94.


Deyrem-Valentin (Margaux; tasted in Bordeaux from a sample sent by the property). A little oakier than Siran, tasted just before, but with some similarities. A pleasing Margaux typicity, with its redolent florality – here more lily of the valley and peony – intermingling with a predominantly red and darker stone fruit. White pepper. Fine-grained tannins chisel out a rather tighter frame and the finish returns us to the floral notes over chewy grape skins. Nicely done, if just a little dry towards the finish. 88-90.


Durfort-Vivens (Margaux; 92% Cabernet Sauvignon; 8% Merlot; a final yield of 35 hl/ha, some desiccation of the fruit requiring very careful selection; pH 3.66; 13.7% alcohol; tasted with Gonzague Lurton at the property). Glorious. This has a wider profile and broader shoulders than the other Margaux wines from Claire and Gonzague Lurton. It’s finer and glossier too. At the same time it feels more intimate, aided by the cool, voluptuous texture that draws you in. Dark stone fruits – black cherries and damson – and the pop of perfectly ripe dark berry fruits. Fruits of the forest. Graphite. Cedar. Mocha. Violet encrusted chocolate. Peony. Saffron. Iris. There’s a note of violet too, but only with further aeration. Broad, ample, silky and with enough texture and depth to cushion the breadth. Lovely concentration in the mid-palate. Actually one of the more substantial wines of the appellation, but so soft one scarcely notices it, so refined are its tannins and so gentle is the mouthfeel. Cool, almost crypt-like in the intimate sense of concentration it evokes and almost demands. Yet at the same time, this is joyous, vibrant and energetic – natural, above all. A wine that rises above the challenges of the vintage, shattering many a glass ceiling in the process. Sapid and juicy on the finish. 95-97+.


Ferrière (Margaux; 68% Cabernet Sauvignon; 28% Merlot; 3.5% Petit Verdot; 0.5% Cabernet Franc; a final yield of 40 hl/ha; pH 3.70; alcohol 13.2%; tasted with Claire Lurton at the property). Lovely. Violets; peony bulbs, with a little of the earth still clinging to them. A little hint of wild rosemary and lemon thyme. Authentically Margaux. Raspberry, loganberry, blueberries. Very wild and pure. A little black cherry and graphite. Assorted cracked peppercorns. Gentle, supple, elegant and with lot of energy, dynamism and forward momentum over the palate. Nicely crystalline and the tannins very fine-grained and silky. Lovely tension, yet lithe and energetic. This is very pure and rather beguiling. 92-94.


Giscours (Margaux; 71% Cabernet Sauvignon; 23% Merlot; 6% Cabernet Franc; 50% new oak; 13.5% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin and again at the property; fresh nights due to the proximity to the forest and the estate’s two lakes, important in this vintage; organic management but not yet seeking certification; average age of the vines is now 30 years, with 15 per cent over 50 years; the young plants in older parcels were identified by hand and picked earlier). Initially both saline and floral – with a delightful and quite intense if still subtle confit rose petal aromatic profile. Glossily textured and very refined, with the most lush and graciously fluid and silky of tannins. An ample frame and a lovely shape in the mouth too – very cylindrical and with a graciously calm mirror pool core. The fruit, if not stretched, is a little less dense and compact than in recent vintages, but I love the lithe, limpid and dynamic sensation that this produces already in the mouth. Vivid and more energetic than before I find. A wine with a distinct personality. Approachable early but with significant aging potential. There’s lots of menthol lift on the finish and incredible length. 94-96.


La Gurgue (Margaux; 62% Cabernet Sauvignon; 25% Merlot; 13% Petit Verdot; a final yield of just 25 hl/ha, this is a property that suffered with frost and also with desiccation of the grapes at the end of the growing season; pH 3.6; 13.2% alcohol; tasted with Claire Lurton). Quite spicy, unusually so. Full and stuffed with fruit, big for the appellation in the context of the vintage. A little closed but that reinforces the spiciness – nutmeg, freshly grated mace, even Chinese five spice, finely crushed black peppercorns. With aeration the blackberry fruit start to reveal itself, black cherries too and then a little wild hedgerow florality. Soft and supple in the mouth, more than you expect, the fruits more red berried than the aromatics. Grainy, grippy tannins that sculpt and shape this over the palate. Impressive density for the vintage and yet no dryness on the finish. Not at the level of the 2022 but well-judged in the context of a challenging vintage. 89-91.


D’Issan (Margaux; 70% Cabernet Sauvignon; 25% Merlot; 2% Petit Verdot; 3% Cabernet Franc; pH 3.66; a final yield of 30 hl/ha; alcohol 13.82; 50% new oak; tasted the property). Plump, lush and gloriously floral and fruity at the same time. Quite seductive and beguiling with cedar, rose petals and peonies, a little iris too and gorgeous black cherry fruit. Violet in the empty glass. There’s a delicious wild strawberry element as well. Tender and lithe. I love the little Cabernet leafy notes that start to reveal themselves as the wine relaxes and unfolds over the palate. Succulent in comparison with the slightly broader profile of, say, Lascombes. Quite sinuous and also extremely crystalline. More depth and concentration than you might perhaps imagine in a vintage like this, which raises for me the quality. Beautifully formed. Quite ethereal. Something of a coup de coeur. 94-96.


Kirwan (Margaux; 65% Cabernet Sauvignon; 23% Merlot; 6% Petit Verdot; 1% Carménère; a final yield of 50 hl/ha; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin). A wine I often feel is a little underappreciated and which is now very classically ‘back’ in the heart of the appellation, seeking finesse and elegance and terroir typicity. It achieves it here. Graphite, walnut shell, a gentle lily and lilac florality and an intense bramble, loganberry and mulberry fruit. Very pure, very precise and very layered, this is broader in its frame than say Giscours and has a little less depth as a consequence, allowing it to glide and glisten as the fruit flows over the palate. Pretty, very Margellais and extremely sapid and refreshingly juicy on the finish. 92-94.


Labégorce (Margaux; 47% Cabernet Sauvignon; 45% Merlot; 5% Petit Verdot; 3% Cabernet Franc; a final yield of 32 hl/ha; 13.5% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin). Lithe, limpid, floral and intensely expressive aromatically with a lovely blend of red and darker berry fruits. Violets and violet-encrusted dark chocolate. Open-textured and quite clear and fluid in the mid-palate, but the fruit is a little thinly stretched in comparison with some of the greats of the appellation. But that for me is exactly the right choice and it prevents this from drying out on the finish. Some might crave more flesh, but I rather like this lighter, more subtle and elegant style. 91-93.


Lascombes (Margaux; 60% Cabernet Sauvignon; 37% Merlot; 3% Petit Verdot & Cabernet Franc; similar final yield to last year of 35 hl/ha, with little impact from mildew but some reduction from desiccation from the Merlot of deep gravel and often young vines (c. 20 hl/ha); 13.5% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin and then at the property with Axel Heinz; selected only from the historical core of the estate that was classified in 1855; very little moistening of the caps and a shorter maceration to preserve the brightness of the fruit). Sourced now only from the historic heart of the property, the parcels closest to the Château. This is the first full vintage under the tutelage of Axel Heinz (who arrived from Masseto at the end of the 2021 vintage). It already shows. What grace! I’m really excited to taste this and am actually overwhelmed at first by the aromatics. A statement wine. Parfumiers’ essence of violet over and around a gloriously plump and plush, crunchy, dark purple berry and stone fruit – damson, cherry, wild blueberry and mulberry. A sublimation of the quality of the fruit. Shimmering in the mid-palate with very impressive layering. So seductively soft on the entry, and so well packed with fresh fruits. Dense and compact and very much on track now to compete with its second growth peers. A work in progress but don’t underestimate what has already been achieved here. Crucially, for me, this is still so expressively Lascombes. We know where we are, despite – or perhaps even more so – because of the style change. The tannic grip helps maintain the precision on the finish. 94-96+.


Malescot Saint-Exupéry (Margaux; 58% Cabernet Sauvignon; 37% Merlot; 5% Petit Verdot; a final yield of just 20 hl/ha; 14% alcohol; not presented at the UGCB press tasting and so tasted from a sample kindly supplied by the property to me in Bordeaux). Intensely floral, as if one had pounded a bunch of violets and pink roses in a pestle and mortar before throwing in the raspberries and loganberries, maybe a mulberry or two too for good measure and repeating the exercise. A little rosemary and lavender too. There’s also a fleur d’oranger element. On the palate this is less substantial than it often is, finer, more fluid and refined as a consequence. Quite gracious for Malescot hinting maybe at a slight change in style. 92-94+.


Margaux (Margaux; 89% Cabernet Sauvignon; 5% Merlot; 4% Cabernet Franc; 2% Petit Verdot; pH 3.6; a final yield of 41 hl/ha despite the mildew pressure, higher than in 2022; 13% alcohol; 100% new oak, but you’ve never know; they picked less than 5 hectares per day, in comparison to the usual 9 hectares with a team of 250, due to the additional sorting required; there was some desiccation and burning of grapes on the vines; in conversion to organic; 41 per cent of the production was selected for the grand vin). Aerial and utterly sublime aromatically. So beautiful. So gracious. So elegant. So ethereal. Glass ceiling transcendent (shattering is to brutal a metaphor), this has the most gorgeous texture. There’s a tear in the corner of my eye as I taste this, so beguilingly beautiful is it – it’s a Donizetti aria of a wine. The texture. So gentle. So soft. So comforting. So caressing. The best wine of the appellation by some distance in this vintage. Black cherry and cedar, with a little graphite. A study in what Bordeaux has achieved in both the vineyard and the cellar in the last decade. So harmonious, so elegant and so completely at one with itself. The pure berry and stone fruit is supported to the horizon on a pillow of the finest tannins. Potentially the wine of the vintage. 97-99.


Marquis d’Alesme (Margaux; 60% Cabernet Sauvignon; 30% Merlot; 5% Cabernet Franc; 5% Petit Verdot; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin). Floral, as all these top Margaux wines are, more than ever. Here we have lilacs and a touch of peony (I’ve been rehearsing my floral descriptors!). Beguilingly soft and very sinuous through the mid-palate – not linear at all. The stream meanders as it takes us to the distant horizon. Not the fruit density of some, but beautifully made and delicately authentic and highly expressive of its terroir and appellation. 92-94.


Marquis de Terme (Margaux; 68% Cabernet Sauvignon; 28% Merlot; 4% Petit Verdot; a final yield of 44 hl/ha; 13.5% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin). Parfumier’s violet essence and Parma violets, black cherry with a lovely natural sweetness to the fruit. A little cedar too. Glossy on the attack, and denser and more compact because of the tighter and more restricted frame. But, as with a number of wines of the appellation in this vintage, it maybe lacks just a little of the concentration required to be regarded as truly great. I think that’s a good choice and I find this joyous and beautiful at the same time. 92-94.


Monbrison (Margaux; 77% Cabernet Sauvignon; 18% Merlot; 5% Petit Verdot; a final yield of 40 hl/ha; 13.5% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin). So often a star of the UGCB tasting, despite the company it is required to keep. Once again, this is close to the level of the classed growths. It’s certainly got a little less fruit density and the aromatics, for now, are a little more restrained. But it’s very well made, very soft and silky and has all the characteristics one associates with the appellation – florality, above all. 90-92.


Moutte Blanc (Margaux; 100% Merlot; 14% alcohol; Boissenot Consulting). Pure, lithe, limpid and refined, this is the heart and soul of Margaux for me. Perhaps not the most floral (though there’s a delicate ifd subtle note of wisteria), but the fruit profile is beautiful – crunchy popping blueberries and mulberries, loganberries and a hint of damson, all perfectly ripe. Grace and charm. A lovely balance. Nothing out of place. All beautifully managed. The quality of the tannins is extraordinary and shows such a delicate touch and finesse. A little jewel of a property that deserves to be better known. 92-94.


Palmer (Margaux; 50% Cabernet Sauvignon; 46% Merlot; 4% Petit Verdot; a final yield of 32 hl/ha, just below the appellation average; tasted with Thomas Duroux; the yield losses here were more through concentration, with only one parcel really succumbing to the mildew; 13.9% alcohol). Gorgeous black berry and cassis, richly enrobed in graphite. Cedar with aeration, bringing out the cherries and cherry stones. Shimmering and glistening. Very classic. Intense on the attack yet paradoxically so, as it’s so soft. Very dark berry fruited and over quite a narrow frame accentuating the compactness and the density. Silken sheets of ultra-sapid fruit juice interlayered with graphite it seems, and occasionally disrupted from below by an upwelling of Cabernet leafiness. More fresh and tense than Margaux, more energetic too perhaps, but a little less elegant and refined. But it’s almost as wondrous. A lovely Palmer note of walnut and cracked peppercorns. Very long on the finish. Grape skins and fleur de sel. 96-98.


Paveil de Luze (cru bourgeois exceptionnel; Margaux). This is now consistently excellent. Creamy dark berry fruits – fruits of the forest in fact in all their early autumnal glory. Cassis too, and a lovely note of sous bois. Wild herbs (the Margaux touch). On the palate this opens to reveal quite a broad frame, but then the tannins grip to bring it back quickly to a well-defined central spine. Long and well-sustained and with none of the astringency to be found in so many wines at this price point in the vintage. 89-91.


Pavillon Rouge de Margaux (Margaux; 79% Cabernet Sauvignon; 14% Merlot; 5% Petit Verdot; 2% Cabernet Franc; highest % CS ever; 13.3% alcohol; tasted at Chateau Margaux). Rose petals. Hyacinth. Black and red cherry, red and black currant. A little walnut and olive oil (first press) and black pepper. Graphite. Tender, layered and incredibly silky. A well-defined, quite tight frame accentuating the depth and sense of layering. Very suave and elegant. Ethereal, with lovely Cabernet notes. Just a trace of wood still to be integrated in the empty glass. Very long and gently tapering, sustained by the grain of the tannin. 92-94.


Prieuré-Lichine (Margaux; 64% Cabernet Sauvignon; 31% Merlot; 5% Petit Verdot; a final yield of 40 hl/ha; 13% alcohol; tasted twice, the second time at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin). Though Merlot represents over 50% of the planting here, this is a Cabernet-dominated wine. Lovely, intensely aromatic, with the crushed berry fruits notes seemingly projected vertically from this wine in the glass. The fruit is encased in cracked fresh green and black peppercorns and a touch of graphite. With more aeration we pick up more floral notes, with a little lily of the valley. I find this impressively pure and vivid in its intensity and limpid texturally, at least at first. But it’s not quite as delineated as the 2022 or, indeed, the 2020. There’s nice density and compactness to this, though it’s not a big wine in any sense and even without being pushed too far there is loss of precision and delineation in the mid-palate. Delicate, elegant, the acidity well integrated structurally and with fresh-fruited cleansing sapidity that arrives at the end. We finish on chewy grape skins. 91-93+.


Rauzan-Gassies (Margaux; 90% Cabernet Sauvignon; 10% Merlot; 14% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin). Floral? Yes. Plump and plush? Yes. This is easily identified as classed growth Margaux and in 2023 it actually has more Cabernet Sauvignon than any other wine of the appellation. Yet it remains a little unrefined in terms of its tannic management, the finish notable in the context of the comparative tasting afforded by the UGC for the granularity of the tannins and the slight hint of dryness. Yet the mid-palate is nicely compact and luminous and there is an elegance and suaveness to this now that it has so often lacked in the past. 91-93.


Rauzan-Ségla (Margaux; 85% Cabernet Sauvignon; 13.5% Merlot; 1.5% Petit Verdot; a final yield of 30 hl/ha due to mildew losses; 55% new oak; pH 3.61; 14 per cent press wine; 13.5% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin and then at the property itself; in organic conversion since 2021; 50% of the production was selected for the grand vin; only 62 of the 70 hectares are currently in production). An historically high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (matching the 1988), due to the Merlot being hit more heavily by mildew losse But still with a final yield for the grand vin of 30 hl/ha, as in 2022. There may well not be much of this, but it’s fabulous. Cassis and black berry, graphite-encrusted, a little redcurrant too with its additional freshness, lift and acidity. An easy pick with that combination of subtle and delicate redolently Rauzan-Ségla violet florality, graphite and cedar and a plump and yet full and gracious black currant, bramble and raspberry fruit. Brilliant in the mouth, at the same time fluid, bright, energetic and lithe, yet also chiselled, layered, highly pixilated and deep, dark and concentrated. Truly excellent, with a lovely twist of black pepper on the finish and a touch of salinity. A very beautiful expression of the vintage. 95-97.


Siran (Margaux; 49% Merlot; 41% Cabernet Sauvignon; 10% Petit Verdot; a final yield of 48 hl/ha; 14% alcohol; tasted three times, first from a sent sample, then at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin and finally at the property with Edouard Miailhe). Another lovely wine from Siran, continuing its recent run of form. Bright, crisp, crunchy fruit – black cherries, Griotte cherries, blackberries, a little cassis and maybe some wild blueberries – all generously enrobed in cedar. Iris too, a little rosebud – which builds in the glass reminding us of where we are. A little gamey note, wild boar bresaola perhaps! On the palate this is plush and plump, packed with crunchy fruit and nicely delineated. Very harmonious and natural. With yields of almost 50 hl/ha and a wine of this quality, all at Siran smells of roses – even the wine. 92-94.


Sirène de Giscours (Margaux; 64% Cabernet Sauvignon; 24% Merlot; 12% Petit Verdot; 13% alcohol; tasted at the property). Creamy. Rich and plump. A nice broad frame, this is ample and nicely filled. Sapid, fresh and juicy. A fair amount of liquorice and salinity. Nice florality, but less than the grand vin. This is spicy more than floral in fact with lots of white and black pepper, freshly crushed and pounded. Chewy on the finish with lots of substance. Nice freshness. Refreshing. 90-92+.


Du Tertre (Margaux; 70% Cabernet Sauvignon; 15% Merlot; 11% Cabernet Franc; 4% Petit Verdot; 13.5% alcohol; tasted at the UGC press tasting at the Cité du Vin). Crushed and pounded freshly plucked rose petals (as if in a pestle and mortar), incense, candlewax, black berry, bramble and damson. Very pure, precisely focussed and sinuous despite the impressive mid-palate concentration for the appellation in this vintage. More cashmere than silk and ultra-lush texturally as that implies. Once the exception to any Margaux rule and with a distinct composition this actually feels more and more Margellais in character and it’s excellent in this vintage. 92-94.


Tour de Mons (Margaux). A bright distinct plump red cherry fruit, a little frangipane and white almond and a touch of wild thyme. Pure and precise, focused and chiselled with grainy, evident but in the end fine-grained tannins. Juicy and fresh, very linear and even a little strict in style, but I rather like that. 88-90.


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