Located far to the south of the other famous Haut-Médoc appellations of Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe and Saint-Julien, Margaux is separated from the others by an odd swath of swampland in this land of manicured gardens and grand estates. Nonetheless, it is just as famous as the others, and boasts 20 of the original 61 classifed growths from the 1855 Classification of Bordeaux wines, including the first growth Château Margaux. The appellation of Margaux consists of five smaller communes (Margaux, Arsac, Cantenac, Soussans and Labarde) and is the largest in the haut-Médoc, though most of the best Châteaus are located closer to the junction of the Gironde and the Garonne rivers.
The soil type is generally dry, coarse gravel, with sand and some clay mixed in. The wines of Margaux are generally thought to be the most aromatic and elegant of the Haut-Médoc, an area known for producing aromatic and elegant wines. While this can be true, as the best wines have substance and weight, but also a perfumed grace that is described as more feminine than other areas of the Haut-Médoc, there are also many examples of under-performing or maddeningly inconsistent estates. At times the wines can be described less as light and graceful and more as diluted and thin, and except for the top estates it is best to stick to the best vintages.
Like the other areas in the Haut-Médoc, this is the home of Cabernet Sauvignon, as this varietal forms the backbone of the wines of Margaux. But there is also a higher quantity of Merlot and Cabernet Franc mixed in, depending on which soil you are standing in. Like all classified Bordeaux, Margaux can be very expensive, but the best wines can be well worth it. Silky when young, like velvet when old, and always with a perfumed floral aspect not found in the other wine of the region, they can be beguiling examples of the grace of Bordeaux.
White wines from the region, though rare, are sold as either AC Bordeaux or Bordeaux Supérieur.
Visit our Bordeaux page for an in depth look at the history of Bordeaux.