There are very few big wines in the world considered the real stars. Chateau Margaux from Margaux region in Bordeaux, France is indisputably one of them. So what does it taste like? This is my 3rd experience with Chateau Margaux and because we had the opportunity to compare this benchmark wine with another wine from this area but from an excellent vintage of 1985 we did not hesitate and went for it! The other comparing wine used to be a second wine of Chateau Lascombes from Margaux region. Chateau Lascombes represents 2nd Cru in Margaux. Simply put we will be comparing First Growth i.e. Chateau Margaux with Second Growth (and second wine from this chateau) Chateau Segonnes. It is helpful to realize that first wine (in this case Chateau Lascombes – not tasted ) and second wine (Chateau Segonnes) are produced in the same vineyard with the difference of time of harvest and processing. Therefore a second wine can be acquired at a fraction of a first’s wine price but does not necessarily mean it will be “worse” in the end. That is the reason why some second wines (like Pavilion Rouge – second wine for Chateau Margaux) can be ridiculously expensive.
Let’s talk about Chateau Margaux a bit here. We will be opening a bottle vintage 1987. This year wasn’t the greatest, not as great as 1985, nor 1986 nor 1989. The 1987 was a great year – hot and dry until the harvest time of October when it rained two weeks in a row. That unfortunately had a direct impact on the grapes as they stopped the ripening process too early in many parts of Bordeaux region. So, how has these conditions marked Chateau Margaux 1987? Let’s see.
Let’s talk about Chateau Segonnes. We are talking about 1985. Yes, the famous 1985. Wines from this year are considered widely elegant, round and polished. Is then the Chateau Segonnes such wine? Well, let’s see.
Looking at both of these wines we are talking so different price levels – Chateau Margaux 1987 starts at EUR 300 and goes up to EUR 500 depending on country of purchase (take home buy, not restaurant of course..) while Chateau Segonnes 1985 can hardly be found, if you are lucky you can find it for prices starting at EUR 80 and more. Perhaps the question will be: “Is Chateau Margaux 1987 4 x better than Chateau Segonnes 1985?”
Chateau Segonnes 1985: This wine opens up after 60 minutes and immediately offers a floral and fruity aromas. It is like a fruity explosion full of roses. The bouquet is filled by blackcurrants and cedar wood backed by vanilla nuances well integrated. The wine is delicious, well balanced and long-lasting. A surprisingly delicious for its age. Excellent for its kind and class.
Chateau Margaux 1987: Chateau Margaux 1987 needs time to open up. It took it almost 3 hours to show more than Segonnes. But, boy when it did you felt the difference. This is trully a class. Once it opens up you have NO doubt this is a First Growth wine. It is the complexity and structure that makes this wine to be a great one. It is fruity and firm. It did have less of the floral component on the nose as well as on the palate compared to the Segonnes but on the other hand it was constantly delivering on and on more of its intense aromas and flavours. Wave after wave. One could say this is a wine from a diluted vintage but one would be very mistaken in the way that it does not taste like that. It is indisputably a great and delicious wine no matter what is written in elsewhere. Maybe it possesses less flavours than the other Chateau Margaux vintages but putting off the factor of comparison towards its Chateau peers it is a delicious wine. Regarding of its potential I believe this wine has reached its peak but can hold for couple more years before being in decline.
And the results? Which one is better?
Well, if you take a full fist of dollars and buy Chateau Margaux you probably won’t be dispappointed. Mainly because of two reasons – you are passionate enough for wine and crazy enough to pay for it. In such a combination you know what you are buying and I believe you will get what you seek for. That being said, you can’t go wrong. All things have their price and Chateau Margaux has unfortunately priced its wines as high as its history and reputation goes so it would be unreasonable to expect anything else.But perhaps the question is how did Segonnes handle Chateau Margaux competition in this battle. I must say it did pretty well. It was standing with proud look. Chateau Segonnes 1985 is a delicious wine for a fraction of the Chateau Margaux price. And because of that it is one of the best buys you can find out. A great wine with similar tastes of a big Chateau Margaux. Would I rather buy 3 or 4 Segonnes instead of getting one Chateau Margaux? Honestly I do not know but if you poured me both of them I would not know which one to start with!
Chateau Margaux 1987 rating: 94/100
Chateau Segonnes 1985 rating: 93/100
Interested in buying Chateau Segonnes 1985? Available at www.winespoint.cz