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Column: Margaux Wines

Wine recommendations from one of the four famous wine regions on the Left Bank of Bordeaux.
Margaux is one of the most famous wine regions on the Left Bank of Bordeaux.

Margaux is one of the four famous wine regions on the Left Bank of Bordeaux (Pauillac, St. Julien and St. Estephe being the others).  These wines are called Left Bank wines because these regions lie to the left of the Gironde Estuary, which divides into the Dordogne and Garonne rivers.

Of the four famous Left Bank regions, Margaux is the second largest and encompasses an area of around 3,700 acres.  It is unique in that the top wine of the region has the same name as the region itself (Chateau Margaux). It is also the region that has the most classified growth wines under the 1855 Classification System (21 in total, although only 20 exist today). 

As is true with most Bordeaux wines, Margaux wines are made from a blend of several different grape varietals.  Margaux wines are predominantly made with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes along with the additional other permitted grape varietals such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec

Margaux wines will generally be quite fragrant with dark fruit, rose and violet aromas. You will also get dark fruits like blackcurrant on the palate. In the past, some Margaux wines would be thin and dilute in cooler vintages but we have recently seen more dedicated chateau owners in Margaux who have spent money to upgrade their vines and winemaking facilities as well as implement modern wine-making techniques. In addition, global warming has decreased the chances of colder vintages so the Margaux wine region has enjoyed a marked increase in the quality of wine, especially over the last five years. This is probably one of the best times in history to drink Margaux wines.

Not unlike other famous Bordeaux regions, Margaux wines are not inexpensive.  But Margaux wines strike the delicate balance between being age-worthy wines while still providing softness on the palate.

In B.C., we have a good selection of Margaux wines. The two most recognizable (and expensive) wines of the region are Chateau Margaux and Chateau Palmer.  However, there are also a number of wines that are still undervalued:

Chateau Ferriere 2020 ($110) – this is a relatively affordable 3rd growth wine which is not that well known and has had some instability of ownership in the past.  But in recent years, the current owners have added to their holdings and the winery is now back on the upswing.  The 2020 vintage is a blend of 81-per-cent Cabernet Sauvignon, 13-per-cent Merlot, five-per-cent Petit Verdot and one-per-cent Cabernet Franc. It should start to drink well in a few years and should last for up to 2 decades.

Chateau Lascombes 2020 ($180) – another comparatively undervalued and underappreciated with that is one of the most affordable second-growth wines that you can purchase.  This is another Margaux winery that has had a number of ownership changes but in 2022, the winery was purchased by Gaylon Lawrence, who also owns Heitz Cellars in Napa Valley. With the influx of money and experience, this winery is on the rise again.

For more information about the Margaux wine region, see my video here.

The Vancouver International Wine Festival will be exciting wine lovers again this year between Feb. 24 to March 3, 2024.  Although many wine dinners are already sold out, there are still tickets available for the International Festival Tastings that are between February 29 – March 2, 2024.  This year’s theme is Discover Italy and my next article will be a comprehensive guide as to what you should taste at the International Festival Tastings.  Until next time, happy drinking!

Tony Kwan is a Richmond News columnist. Lawyer by day, and a food and wine lover by night, Kwan is an epicurean who writes about wine, food and enjoying all that life has to offer.