By Chateau Margaux
1997 Margaux from Château Margaux, Margaux, Bordeaux, France
The 1997 vintage from the venerable Château Margaux emerges as a fascinating study in the art of finesse over power. The year itself did not bask in glory like its immediate predecessors—the much-vaunted ‘95 and ‘96. Yet, what it lacked in meteorological perfection, it made up for with a display of the winemaking virtuosity that only true aficionados can fathom and savour.
Genteel Elegance: A Sterling Asset for Investors
While 1997 was marked by an uneven climate for Bordeaux, meriting meticulous selection and deft oak integration from vintners, the wines from Château Margaux embraced this challenge with aplomb. The resultant 1997 Margaux shows a prescient balance of early approachability touched with sufficient structure to hold a position in the cellars of discerning collectors.
A Genteel Vintage with Ageing Grace
The wine bestows subtle aromas of dried flowers and tobacco, an ethereal prelude before yielding to an elegantly tapered palate suffused with soft plum and blackberry notes—a compelling contrast to the typically more assertive vintages of this esteemed estate.
Despite its genteel nature, the 1997 Margaux carries enough backbone bestowed by silky tannins to render it an intelligent addition to any strategic investment portfolio looking towards gradual appreciation. The vintage's persistence on the palate affirms its pedigree, showcasing a discreet interplay between fruit and terroir-driven nuances. A slow burn on the market mirrors this slow dance of complexities in the glass.
In summation, the 1997 Margaux is a vintage that subtly commands respect and merits contemplation. With over two decades in bottle, it offers an intricate profile that gracefully bridges maturity and vibrancy—a narrative that adds depth to any connoisseur's collection or investor's cellar. Its storyline reflects prudent craftsmanship under less-than-ideal conditions, asserting its right to be regarded among one of the more intriguing chapters in Château Margaux’s historical tapestry.
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Scores and tasting notes
The best of the First Growth ‘97s. A limpid, garnet/ruby core with ruby rim. The nose is exquisite with great delineation and purity with much more vigour that the other Firsts. Mint, blackberries, violets and blueberries all leap from the glass, oblivious to the fact that they stem from a poor vintage. The palate has a slightly voluptuous feel to it, rounded black fruits, raspberry, cassis, tobacco, graphite and a touch of Asian spice towads the finish. Sheer class. A superb success for Paul Pontallier in a difficult vintage. Drink now-2025. Tasted September 2006.
Neal Martin - Wine Journal Jul 2008
Undoubtedly a success for the vintage, this immensely charming, dark ruby/purple-colored wine exhibits floral, black currant, and smoky, toasty oak aromas. There is admirable richness, excellent ripeness, not a great deal of density, or superb concentration, but plenty of finesse, suppleness, and character. It can be drunk young, or cellared for 12-15 years.
Robert Parker Jr - The Wine Advocate, 20 April 2000