1983 Margaux

98
DEC
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Product ID
1983-margaux
 

Wine Critic Reviews for 1983 Margaux

Gorgeous as ever, even if the 1982 is standing up a little more strongly today. This is still full of tannins, rich and textured fruit and lilting freshness, fragrant, concentrated and generous. And the yield, if you can believe it, was 67hl/h. The release price of this 1983 was 170 francs, as was the 1982. 4% Cabernet Franc rounds out the blend. Paul Pontallier's first vintage - although he also oversaw the ageing and bottling of the 1982. His thesis, by the way, was on oak ageing, and this is 100% new oak. Drinking Window 2018 - 2040.

Decanter | 98 DEC
This has always been said to be the best wine of the 1983 vintage in Bordeaux because the appellation of Margaux performed slightly better in 1983 than in the legendary 1982 vintage. It certainly is more structured than the 1982 Margaux. It is incredibly fresh and clean still. It's full-bodied and tannic, structured and powerful yet shows such balance and length. Decant three hours before serving.

James Suckling | 98 JS
This pulls together all the glorious notes of a fully mature Margaux, with singed cedar, rooibos tea, rose water and sandalwood aromas, followed by a stunning mélange of both fresh and dried red and black fruits, including currant, cherry, raspberry and plum. The long finish lets everything drape together beautifully. Absolutely stunning, this seems in no hurry to go anywhere. Remarkably fresh and defined at this time.--Non-blind Château Margaux vertical (December 2013). Drink now through 2035.

Wine Spectator | 98 WS
As I have noted consistently, this can be a breathtaking wine, but having tasted it close to a dozen times since the last edition of this book, over half the bottles were marred by tainted corks. In fact, one would almost wonder if there was TCA problem in part of the wine storage area. The percentage of corked half-bottles is even higher than in the regular format. However, when clean this 1983, which has seemingly reached full maturity far faster than I would have guessed a mere four years ago, has a dense, murky plum/purple color and a gorgeous nose of smoked herbs, damp earth, mushrooms, and sweet creme de cassis intermixed with vanilla and violets The wine is medium to full-bodied, deep, rich, and powerful, with sweet tannins and loads of fruit concentration. Anticipated maturity: Now-2020. Last tasted, 11/02.

Robert Parker | 96 RP
Deep ruby-red. Exotic aromas of cassis, meat and smoke, plus a whiff of funky wood. Then remarkably sweet, lush and suave, with a flavor of raw berries. Pure Margaux silkiness allied to firm structure. Finishes very long, with rich, sweet tannins. Remarkable wine, particularly considering that the bottle was not perfect. Pristine bottles of this wine are just now embarking on their period of peak drinkability, which should last another 20 years or more.

Vinous Media | 95 VM
(Château Margaux (Margaux)) I very well remember just how beautiful the 1983 Margaux was a couple of decades ago, when it really had few challengers for the mantle of the wine of the vintage (maybe Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Lafleur could also lay claim to that title back in the day), but the wine has lost a bit of mid-palate amplitude and perfume since those days and seems to have now peaked. The wine is still very lovely, wafting from the glass in a mix of cherries, summer truffles, cigar smoke, a lovely base of soil tones (with that touch of limestone unique to this property), nutskin and a suave framing of new oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, complex and elegant, with good, but no longer great depth at the core, lovely grip, fading tannins and a long, focused and well-balanced finish. This remains a very tasty bottle, but it was a bit deeper and more vibrant a decade ago. (Drink between 2019-2040).

John Gilman | 92 JG

Wine Details on 1983 Margaux

More Information
Producer Chateau Margaux: With a story that could aptly begin with, “Once upon a time,” Chateau Margaux’s history is rich and extensive, filled with allure and prestige. Arriving at a time when countries outside of France were drinking “claret,” a pale wine that didn’t age well, Margaux became the epitome for the art of wine-making and the hierarchy between the different Bordeaux growths was already being drawn up. Chateau Margaux was born into greatness at an opportune time.

Dating back to the 12th century, the property was originally known as “Le Moth de Margaux” (The Margaux Mound), but not by chance as any raised mound of land in a rather flat region is easily distinguished. Furthermore, it is notorious for its sloping land that ensures good drainage, which aides in the growth and vitally of the greatest vines. The property came under the ownership of the Lestonnac family in 1572, who formed it into the estate that we very much know today. Its 265 hectares has not been divided since, and remains as it did then. One third of the property is harvested, while the rest is left for greenery parks and forestry.

Long before gaining the status of First Growth in the 1855 Classification of Bordeaux wines, it was drawing the interest of enthusiasts the world over. In 1705, the London Gazette advertised the first auction of great Bordeaux growths and 230 barrels of “Margose” sold. The 1771 vintage was the first “claret” to appear in a Christie’s catalogue. At a time when commerce was strained due to the lack of modern transportation, it was an incredible feat to have Margaux wines resting on the tables of Americans in the late 1700’s. Thomas Jefferson, the Unites States ambassador to France in the 1780’s was a dedicated consumer as well as collector of Margaux wines. He placed an order in 1784, to which he attached a note stating, “There couldn’t be a better Bordeaux bottle.”

The beautiful manor house, or rather castle, which graces its presence on the Margaux label itself, was constructed by the owner of the property in the early 1800’s. It is recognized and celebrated today, even making its appearances in top Hollywood movies. The label is unmistakable, demanding recognition and respect for all who see it. However, the label is not truly what draws the attention of enthusiasts and collectors but rather the precious and unique liquid that exists within the bottle.

The style of wine produced by Chateau Margaux at its best, blends elegance, purity of fruit, harmony and finesse. It has a charm that is irrefutable. Planted to 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc, the final blend is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and is largely celebrated as one of finest wines in the world. As Thomas Jefferson, and America’s third president concluded in 1787, “Chateau Margaux is one of the four vineyards of First Growth quality,” and that very much rings true today.

With the climate and terroir typical for that of the Left Bank of the Gironde, the property does however enjoy the privileged sloping terrain that allows Margaux to have such success. The land is farmed 100% organically, and has a rigorous grape selection process. This process has brought Margaux to the ideal of quality over quantity, bringing their annual production down to a mere 12,000 cases.

The avenues of commerce have improved greatly since its inception; however, much like its former days, the wines are difficult to obtain. Since the 1500’s this illustrious estate, and the only one named for its appellation, has been luring seekers of unimaginable wine the world over. The First Growth wines of Margaux are paramount, the property legendary, and its history an unbelievable and age old tale of achievement on a world class scale.
Region Bordeaux: Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Subregion Margaux
Country France: Words fail us when trying to adequately portray France's place in the world of wine. It's downright impossible to imagine what wine would feel and taste like had it not been for France's many, many viticultural pioneers. Fine wine is the blood of France's vigorously beating heart, and it finds itself in many aspects of French culture. With a viticultural history that dates all the way back to the 6th century BC, France now enjoys its position as the most famous and reputable wine region on the planet. If you have a burning passion for masterfully crafted, mouth-watering, mind-expanding wines, then regular visits to France are probably already in your schedule, and for a good reason.
Type of Wine Bordeaux Red: Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend: The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

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