Château des Graviers, Margaux
Château des Graviers, Margaux

Château des Graviers, Margaux

Bordeaux, France 2019 (750mL)
Regular price$70.00

Château des Graviers, Margaux

It’s a good week for Bordeaux lovers at SommSelect! First we had a best-value, Right Bank winner from Lalande-de-Pomerol, and today’s discovery is an even rarer bird: Château des Graviers is a small, family-owned, biodynamically farmed estate with a very talented, fifth-generation winemaker at the helm. But this château is not in some far-flung satellite appellation or an overachieving Bordeaux Supérieur: nope, this is real-deal Margaux, one of the most hallowed wine villages in the world. Oh, and it delivers on the promise of this special terroir with aplomb! Rich, silky red and black fruits are interwoven with many layers of spice, earth, and gravelly minerality. Graviers has all the class and complexity of its highly pedigreed neighbors, and happens to cost two to three times less, so how has it flown so far under the radar for so long? We have no idea, but now that it has been discovered we highly suggest you stock up before it joins its rightful place among the very top tier of Bordeaux.

Christophe Landry has been at the helm of his family's estate in Arsac, in the southern part of the Margaux appellation, since 1995. In the nearly three decades since he has expanded the holdings from a miniscule six hectares to a modest 18. Nearby neighbor Château Margaux, by comparison, has 87 hectares in the appellation, and 262 in total. But 18 hectares is just the right amount to keep Château des Graviers commercially viable, and still allow Christophe to engage in all of the laborious, meticulous endeavors that make his wine truly exceptional.

First and foremost, this work begins in the vineyard. Christophe began converting everything to biodynamic practices almost immediately after he took charge. Tireless vineyard work, eschewing all chemical treatments and fertilizers, and without the aid of slick machinery, is definitely not the standard in most of Bordeaux. Industrial farming is still sadly prevalent here, but the best châteaux have begun to realize the importance of natural farming, and Graviers has been leading this movement for years. In the cellar, Christophe is just as fastidious, using a range of different fermentation vessels and techniques, each one specific to its own grape: Cabernet Sauvignon is dominant here, but they use all six allowed varieties. Aging takes place in a similar mélange of the classic French barrique (about 25% are new), clay amphora, and hexagonal concrete tanks. Everything is done according to the needs of the vintage, with the final result being a masterful blend that gives the most complete snapshot of the year, the terroir, and the fruit. 

2019 was, as I’ve noted now quite a few times, a truly exceptional vintage throughout Bordeaux, and Margaux in particular. It brings the power of a warm vintage like 2015 or 2020 that followed it, but with a balancing effect of structure and finesse. The best comparison is to the deliciously graceful and age-worthy 1989s. Serve Château des Graviers at classic cellar temperature, around 60-65 degrees, in your best Bordeaux stem after a decant of about an hour. The full spectrum of this hallowed terroir awaits: Cassis, wild red and black raspberries, sweet red plums, violets, cocoa powder, leather, cedar, meaty iodine, and saline minerals all swirl inside a deep, ruby hue with hints of indigo. It’s a silky, sumptuous treat already at just four years of age, but there’s no doubt that it will get better and better over the next several decades. Serve it alongside any of your favorite roasts or grilled meats, though if you manage to find a bottle 20 years from now a simple piece of sharp, cave-aged cheese will do just fine. Here’s hoping we get to experience this beauty at all stages of its life!

Château des Graviers, Margaux

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