Monday, October 17, 2005

The Wines of Margaux

Margaux is an isolated village in the Haut Medoc wine making region of Bordeaux, France. The primary industry in this area is wine making, and the most famous vineyard is the Chateau Margaux. Famous for it's production of red wines, the vintages available in this region are phenomenal. You can even tour the Chateau Margaux, by appointment, when visiting the village. Margaux wines are part of the Bordeaux region in France. We typically think of Bordeaux wines as being red, but it includes dry and sweet whites, among a wide range of other excellent varieties. Bordeaux blends are common from the Margaux region of Bordeaux. We will consider red Bordeaux blends here.

Chateau Cantenac Brown

Produced by Cantenac Brown, this excellent Bordeaux blend consisting of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and 8% Cabernet Franc. This wine is excellent with red meat, poultry and game. The Cantenac Brown is easy-going. A medium bodied Bordeaux with a hint of black currant fruit, this variety is a delicious dry red. Excellent vintages include 2001, 2002 and 2003.

Chateau D'Issan

One of the oldest properties in the Medoc, this vineyard dates back to the late 1400's, and has gone through periods of neglect and prosperity. In the late 1970s and the 1980s the owners undertook a major renovation of the cellars. The Chateau d'Issan is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot, producing a dry red that is versatile and available in excellent vintages from 1998, 2001 and 2003.

Chateau Kirwan

This excellent Bordeaux Blend is a mixing of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. Aged in French Oak barrels, only the top 65% produced is sold under the Chateau Kirwan label. The 1998 vintage has an appealing, seductive flavor of black fruits and cashews. The 2000 vintage has excellent potential with a full palate, sweet fruit and strong tannic background. With an exotic and captivating nose, try the 2001 vintage.

Chateau Prieur-Lichine

Chateau Prieur-Lichine plants 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. The style of this wine is firm and meaty compared to other Margaux wines, but with a good tannic balance. Medium bodied, with an attractive fruit flavor and bouquet this red is an excellent compliment to red meats in general, but particularly roast, lamb and duck. Excellent vintages area available from 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Chateau Rausan Segla

Located on the left bank of the Gironde Estuary in Bordeaux, Chateau Rausan-Segla has 126 acres of lovely vineyard. The history of this vineyard dates back to the 1600s. Since 1983 it has been regarded as a premier wine producer. The Bordeaux blend produced is considered multilayered and multidimensional, with hints of violets, blackberry, cherry and cedar in the younger wines. With age, spicy overtones appear. Excellent vintages include 1996, 1997, and 1998.

Chateau Lascombes

The Chateau Lascombes was founded by the Lascombes family in the early 1600's but changed hands several times beginning in the early 1900's. The current owners acquired the property in 1971, and have steadily improved the quality of the wine since that time. Harvested by hand so as to discard unacceptable grapes, the quality is superb. Chateau Lascombes has a spicy vanilla quality and rich, full flavor. The bouquet is of ripe black currants. Excellent vintages include 1978, 1999, and 2001.

Margaux wines yield excellent Bordeaux blends that tend, as a group, to be medium bodied, dry reds. They are versatile, and complement a variety of meats, especially red meats. With a long history firmly planted in wine production, these are certainly worth a try.