Bordeaux 2016 from The Wine Cellar Insider – Part 3 – Margaux

Bordeaux 2016 from The Wine Cellar Insider – Part 3 – Margaux

We are very privileged to be able to have Jeff Leve – Founder, Contributor and Editor of “The Wine Cellar Insider” as our Guest contributor with an edited version on his tasting of the recent 2016 Bordeaux wines en primeur. This is the third of a series and for the full version, go to

Jeff Leve has travelled to the Bordeaux wine region to barrel taste almost 30 times. He’ll be there twice this year. Each visit includes tastings at all the major Bordeaux Chateaux and lasts between 2-3 weeks. The visits also include several tastings at Bordeaux negociants. Read more at:

Since 2014, the Margaux appellation has been locked into a see-saw battle with St. Estephe , its neighbour to the far north, for the top spot, in the high-end Bordeaux sweepstakes. Margaux, which clearly won the prize in 2015 was not quite as lucky this year. While 2016 Margaux is not at that same level of quality, there are several stunning 2016 Margaux wines. Generally speaking, and we all know how far generalities get you, in many cases, 2016 Margaux differs more as a matter of style with 2015, than overall quality. While 2015 produced wines of opulence and sensuality, 2016 Margaux is focused on precision, purity and freshness. Alcohol levels are lower, and acidities are higher with 2016 Margaux as well. What is important to note with 2016 Margaux is that you find great wines at all levels from the top 1855 Classified Growths to Cru Bourgeois growers as well.

Margaux is a large appellation in the Medoc , with 1,355 hectares under vine. The size of the Left Bank region goes hand in hand with a naturally diverse array of terroirs. The diversity of soils perforce leads to a lack of homogeneity in the wines. The vineyards with the terroir able to drain the water from the torrential rains, making the region the wettest in decades. We’re talking 600-700 mm of water! The terroir was required to handle double duty as the almost, 6 months of rain was followed by one of the longest, dry periods with no rain seen in the region in decades! Add to that, the vintage was running quite late, and it’s easy to see what the growers and vineyards were up against. Margaux, which has a slightly, warmer, micro-climate usually competes their harvest a few days earlier than its neighbors to the north. But that was not always the case with 2016 Margaux as some growers did not finish picking until October 18, making this one of the longest harvests in the history of the Margaux appellation. For details on the growing season and harvest report: 2016 Bordeaux Harvest and Growing Season Report

His top score went to Ch. Palmer, but Margaux and Rausan-Segla ran it pretty close. Here are his notes on Palmer

2016 Palmer – A richly-coloured, attention-seeker whose nose pops with truffle, tobacco, black cherries, cigar box, plum and cocoa. Silky, velour textures and polished tannins embrace juicy, sweet, fresh, pure plums and a finish that builds as it lingers. This sublime wine was produced from a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot, reaching 14% alcohol with a pH of 3.85. Currently being aged in 65% new, French oak barrels, the wine represents 50% of the harvest, which took place between October 3 and October 18. This is the third vintage that was farmed using 100% biodynamic farming techniques, allowing Palmer to become fully certified. 97 – 98 Pts

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