Margaux: the most difficult appellation on the left bank. Often the most inconsistent. With some jewels nonetheless. 2005 Ch. Margaux is one of the best young wines I’ve ever tasted. 1961 Ch. Palmer the very best wine I have ever tasted. 1990 Rauzan-Ségla is about the best bottle of wine you can get for the money. 2001 & 2002 Chx Giscours & du Tertre are excellent wines for not much cash. My point here: there is some brilliance, some quality to the wines of Margaux but there is no pattern, no guide, no map. It’s all about the consistency or the occasional lack of it.
And, inconsistencies notwithstanding, Margaux is an appellation that, a few properties aside, needs a good vintage to show its best. At its best, Margaux can be Burgundian in its power of seduction. But tricky vintages of Margaux can be just that: tricky.
Château Margaux aside, I scored just three wines 16 points or more, the panel just six. The panel winner was d’Issan, which was mine too. I rated Rauzan-Ségla higher than most. Giscours was good, and I missed it for Pavillon Rouge. The panel rated Palmer higher than I did. This appellation was almost as hard to judge as the St Emilions, though I’m fairly certain that these wines may well show better in a few years’ time; for the moment I would say that d’Issan (£350 or less per dozen in bond) is the only really tempting buy at current prices.
2012 Ch. D’Issan (16.5)
Chunky, sweet, glossy fruit on the nose, which seems to come out of the glass like steam. There is a lot here. Plenty of soft crushed fruit in the mouth. This is all here. A little bit worked but all here nonetheless and very attractive.
2012 Ch. Rauzan-Ségla (16)
Closed but there is the hint of something underneath here. And some chunky, savoury fruit underneath. A vinous character. Length and some mouthfeel. This is rather good. Proper wine.
2012 Ch. Giscours (16)
Lots here with some glossy barrel-work to is and some creamy fruit. This follows in the mouth. There is a touch of harsh tannin to this but the fruit stands up and this is pretty decent. A cushioned texture. Velvet. Good length. Pavillon?
After these three the field got so tight that I’m reluctant to pick any more. Lascombes performed well, as did Malescot St Exupery, Brane-Cantenac, Pavillon Rouge and Prieuré-Lichine. And, to be fair, I sometimes just don’t get young Palmer.