Mission Codename Margaux a go go
It’s Tuesday night and you fancy a nice, respectable, high-scoring Margaux.
Like for example a double 93 pointer to casually open with zero guilt.
Only you don’t want to spend $100+. Or $50. Or $40.
We got your guilt-free, wallet-friendly, “oh yea that’s the ticked” selection right here.
Enter Château Grand Tayac. Here’s a hidden gem that tastes like it should cost easily 2-3x the price. A small production wine that consistently earns high scores every year. With an outstanding pedigree.
What’s their secret? How does a virtually unknown Margaux producer like Grand Tayac make such a fantastic wine?
For starters, they’re perched on the same terroir as Chateau Margaux and Palmer. With 50+-year-old vines. That helps. Margaux, who names the appellation, has their 2018 averaging at $800, the equally legendary Palmer can fetch north of $500. At the release price of $105, Grand Tayac is an outstanding bargain. We beat the SAME terroir down to under $40. So when Robert Parker called it “relatively expensive, no doubt because it’s from the Margaux appellation” he sure did not see this coming.
Or maybe it has something to do with winemaker Eric Boissenot. He works with a few legendary properties you may have heard of. How about 4 of the 5 First Growths? That’s experience making Margaux, Lafite, Latour AND Mouton folks… and before taking almost all super-2nds that matter into account, Châteaux Léoville Las Cases or Ducru-Beaucaillou, to name a few. Decanter sums it up nicely by putting Boissenot on the pedestal he deserves, as “arguably one of the most influential figures in Bordeaux, particularly the Médoc.”
Obviously, he knows something about crafting elite-level Bordeaux wines.
Hailing from the terrific 2018 vintage for which Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate raves “Margaux seemed to stand out for consistency of quality, even at the more modestly priced end of the market” this shows off big, bold blackberry, black currant, cigar box, and oak up front, with the telltale Margaux violets hanging in the background. Extraordinarily delicious upfront and early on, but it has a long life ahead of it and a few more years in the cellar will reward.
This Wine Spies Exclusive is shaping up to be our Bordeaux bargain of the year (?). Not much was imported though, and we doubt it’ll last the morning… so back Le Camion up!
93 Points – James Suckling
“Very attractive ripe fruit with floral, cedar and sandalwood aromas that follow through to a medium to full body with intense, chewy tannins that give the wine excellent structure. They remain polished. It’s a wine that needs time to come together. Try after 2025.”
93 Points – Wine Enthusiast
“Rich tannins give a wine that has spice and a ripe black currant flavor. Its wood aging is showing in the smoothness of the tannins and the density of the texture.”
91 Points – Decanter
“A large number of 50-plus year old vines make this a vineyard well set up to withstand dry summers such as 2018, and this is an enjoyable wine with a light touch and plenty of Margaux finesse… delivers layered black fruits, touches of baked earth and liquorice, and is easy to recommend.”
What the Winery Says
- Consulting winemaker
- Eric Boissenot
- 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot
- Margaux, Médoc
- Vineyard size
- 5 hectares
- Fine gravel with medium pebbles
- Vine Age
- 50+ years average
- 12 months
- 45% new French oak