Why Château Margaux Is One Of The Best Wines In The World

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When you hear the two words Château Margaux, visions of excellence immediately come to mind. History, prestige, greatness, and of course, wine also pop into the head. The traditional French Bordeaux producer has been making grand cru red wine for hundreds of years. Château Margaux is a collector’s wine—it ages well and is meant to be aged. The wine estate is owned by a Greek matriarch, Connie Mentzelopoulos, with Philippe Bascaules managing director of the winemaking facilities.

Host Todd Zabelle, right, sits next to his wife, Lisa, and Aurélien Valance
Host Todd Zabelle, right, sits next to his wife, Lisa, and Aurélien Valance

Recently, Château Margaux’s deputy general manager, was in San Francisco at a special dinner hosted by local wine connoisseur Todd Zabelle and his buddy, Justin Grover of Fine Wines International. An elite group of wine lovers were invited to join Zabelle and Sam Mogannam, the owner of Bi-Rite, at 18 Reasons for a lavish wine paired dinner. During the meal, Valance shared what distinguishes Château Margaux. Here is what he had to say—what makes it one of the globe’s most expensive and best wines.

The elegant setting for the Château Margaux at 18 Reasons
The elegant setting for the Château Margaux at 18 Reasons

It’s a winery that has been around for 500 years.

“The truth is really in the glass, but you know, Château Margaux, we started to make wine five centuries ago. Just about one century ago, we bought the best pieces of land available. For the last 300 years, we have had the same vineyards, the same setup.”

The Château doesn’t focus on profit, but quality.

“They don’t need to make more money, and what they want is for Margaux to be the best. To make everything we make the best, that is the object.

Château Margaux's white wine being poured at the dinner
Château Margaux’s white wine being poured at the dinner

They also make exceptional Sauvignon Blanc.

“The white wine is pure Sauvignon Blanc. It’s a very small production. We only make 10,000 bottles. There’s not many producers who make 100% Sauvignon Blanc wine. And for that, it’s absolutely singular. We’re not making just Sauvignon Blanc. We’re making Château Margaux white. This wine, yes it is 100% Sauvignon Blanc, but it is really unique in its character, and it’s unlike any other Sauvignon Blanc, probably, that you’ve ever tasted.”

It’s not meant to be sipped solo.

“We make wine to be enjoyed with food. We don’t make the wine just for just consuming. We don’t do that at Château Margaux.”

A collection of the wines poured at the tasting
A collection of the wines poured at the tasting

It’s incredibly complex.

“This is a marvelous nose. It’s more sophisticated, in a sense. But the one distinction between the Margaux, is that the Margaux, the flavors, the after-flavors are more complex.”

All of the vintages are blends of the best reds produced by the vineyard.

“Every year, now we produce 80 different wines [to be used for blending]. And, in January and February we try all 80 types of wine. When you mix the best, it’s even better than any single wine. When we blend, we blend the best, it’s better than anything.”

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