A tasting of 2021 grands crus from Margaux

The Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux hosts an annual event called Le Weekend des Grands Crus.  This consists of vineyard visits, gala dinners at famous châteaux, and a mammoth tasting at Hangar 14 on the Bordeaux waterfront. Everything is open to the general public.

The tasting, held this year on June 8th, always highlights a particular vintage plus one other that is left at the discretion of each château.

This year’s chosen vintage was 2021. I attended the tasting on a Saturday morning and decided to focus on the Margaux appellation.

My ratings are on the basis of five stars.

As with my en primeur tasting notes, I have not noted the color since this is often not noteworthy for young Bordeaux in that there is not a great deal of difference between wines.
In this particular instance, however, I should add that the 2021 Margaux I tasted were noticeably on the pale side. My overview of the vintage is that it is on the delicate side and one for medium-term drinknig.

Château Angludet *** 1/2
N: A little green with kirsch overtones and, be that as it may, very typical of its appellation.
P: Light, but pure and engaging, confirming the château’s position on a par with many classified growths.

Château Brane Cantenac ****
N: Some puzzling medicinal/alcoholic notes, but this is still a young wine.
P: Well-balanced; flavorsome, and much more together on the palate, this Brane stands out in 2021, considerably better than its peers.

Château Cantenac Brown *** to ***1/2
N: Traditional old school Médoc such as I love.
P: Fresh, well-structured, and with good body. Long mineral aftertaste. This estate is clearly on the up-and-up.

Château Dauzac *** 1/2
N: Brambly berry fruit.
P: Good structure and a chewy mouth feel with some length. Cherry liqueur aromatics. Fine texture and length.

Château Desmirail  *** 1/2
N: Good fruit with subtle vanilla overtones
P: Obviously well-made with a luscious cherry flavor. Natural, not over-oaked, and clearly showing the elegance of Margaux. Very good showing for Desmirail in a less-than-ideal year.

Château Giscours *** to *** 1/2
N: Sweet Margaux fruit, classy.
P: Very Cabernet Sauvignon, with some greenness and astringency on the aftertaste. Still, a fine representative of its appellation.

Château Kirwan ***
N: Not very expressive, but some natural fruitiness comes through.
P: Fluid, weak on the middle palate with some coffee nuances, then develops surprisingly rough tannins on the finish and is not balanced for this reason. Might shine at table, but on is wanting on its own.

Château Lascombes **
N: Something a bit off here, despite a walnut, brambly nose.
P: Massive and not very Margauxlike. Going through a dumb phase and too much unquestionably  oak comes through. Reminiscent of a Napa Cabernet, but not one of the top tier ones.

Château Marquis d’Alesme ***
N: Presence of alcohol discernible. Deep and “sweet”
P: Although the oak may come through too strongly at this stage, this is a very good effort from Marquis d’Alesme with a lovely texture to the tannin.

Château Marquis de Terme ***
N: Pure, but unremarkable. Candied fruit and brambly overtones.
P: Plush, soft, and light. Some alcohol comes through in the wine’s body and finish, giving a kirsch quality. Will age well, however.

Château Monbrison ***
N: Perfumed with white pepper and floral nuances.
P: Starts out really well, but then shows some alcohol and greenness. Nevertheless soft and smooth with wildberry flavors.

Château Prieuré Lichine ***
N: Unfortunately, a rather non-descript closed nose.
P: Starts out silky, but development on the palate thereafter is rather disappointing. Oak is toned-down and there are pleasant red fruit flavors.

Château Rauzan Gassies ** ½ to ***
N: Coffee-vanilla overtones, but not much character.
G: Really very light, but with a puckery fresh aftertaste. Marked acidity.

Château Rauzan Ségla ***1/2
N: Cellar aromas (barrels, evanescent fumes)
P: Characteristics of a fine Margaux in minor key. Good tannic texture, but very light. Long aftertaste with good acidity.

Château Siran ***
N: Powdery/talc nose.
P: Round, supple, and with good acidity. Medium-weight, will drink well young.

Château du Tertre ***
N: A simple but attractive nose with lead pencil and toned-down red fruit
P: Light mouth feel with cherry-vanilla flavours and  minty nuances. Fresh and easy-to-drink. Will be enjoyable young.

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