2006 Initial de Desmirail Margaux AOC
Red Blend • Margaux AOC - 3eme Cru Classe
What we say
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Mission Codename: Ergo Margaux
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Secure a Crus Classés Bordeaux’s Médoc for our operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Château Desmirail
Wine Subject: 2006 Initial de Desmirail Margaux AOC – 3eme Crus Classés
The Margaux AOC, located in Bordeaux’s Haut Médoc is well known for wines of exceptional elegance and finesse as well as the famed Premier Cru Classés Château Margaux. Located on the left bank of the Garonne river with its wines being blends lead off with the region’s famous Cabernet Sauvignon grape. This is one of the southern-most AOCs in the region and makes red wines almost exclusively. Perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of this region is the soil which is very thin and predominantly gravel (with excellent drainage). The region also boasts the most Crus Classés, according the the 1855 classification. The 2006 vintage is rated 90 points with a hold recommendation by Wine Enthusiast.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Dark purple with deep ruby highlights where the light reflects through its clear but dark core. Along the edges, the wine fades gracefully from garnet to ruby and when swirled, randomly spaced legs with hints of the wine’s color ring the glass.
Smell – Medium in intensity with elegant and classic aromas of dusty, ripe and brambly black- and red-fruit backed over a base of soft nutty toasted oak. Hints of spice, green pepper and floral violet also emerge as this wine begins to open.
Feel – If tasted immediately, this wine has a youthful and bright attack, but be patient and give this wine at least 30-60 minutes (or decant) to reveal its soft and elegant medium-bodied character. Medium-fine grained but still firm tannins and medium acidity add to the ample feel of this wine.
Taste – Well integrated flavors of ripe bramble fruit with a touch of tart black and red cherry. Subtle toasted soft oak with hints of vanilla, classic herbal and vegital components, spice and licorice, with a touch of minerality.
Finish – This wine finishes long, fading softly with clean classic Cabernet Sauvignon flavors.
Conclusion – The 2006 Initial de Desmirail, the second vin from Chateau Desmirail is a delicious example of why the wines from Margaux are so loved world-wide. Classically old-world, with a nice freshness but also a supple and elegant feel. Classic, almost meaty, flavors and a balanced structure make this wine both accessible and easy to enjoy right now.
I had finally gotten rid of Agent Red. It was becoming tiresome having him look over my shoulder at every opportunity. Things were different in Europe and sleuthing wineries required a different ”Je ne sais pas” than it did in California’s wine country. I needed to get my groove back… but where? Where else? Bordeaux, of course…
I figured I’d find a nice Margaux for our operatives so I sent a message to Agent Terroir, my local asset, to make the arrangements. I figured it would make sense to try and get a 2006, and even though they we’re youthful and just being released, rumor had it that they were already drinking exceptionally well.
Agent Terroir wanted some more details. I usually lean towards the Cabernet Sauvignon of the rive gauche’s Pauillac, but this time I figured we should try a a Cru Classés from the famed Margaux.
Upon arrival at in Margaux, we headed to the Chateau Desmiral (the Chateau without a chateau and strangely the host the 2007 Sauternes en primeur tasting). Agent Terroir briefed me on the long and storied history of the chateau (read at the left) but was most excited out the vineyards and their famous Margaux gravel soil.
Today’s selection, the Initial de Desmirail (classified as their second wine) is produced primarily for restaurants in France as well as for the European export market.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Margaux in Bordeaux can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About the Wine:
Initial de Desmirail is the second wine from the Château. It is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Cabernet Franc and 39% Merlot. It is vinified in stainless steel tanks and aged for 12 months in two-to-three year old oak barrels.
Margaux wines are universally renowned for their finesse, elegance and balance. They are wines which can be laid down and kept for a long time.
2006 vintage was characterized by homogenous flowering. July was hot and sunny. August was quite fresh for the season. At the beginning of September, the ripening of grapes was favoured by the heavy heat.
After an overcast weather, harvesting started on the 18th of September with a bright day. The last Merlots were picked on the 25th. The picking of Cabernet started on the 29th after some sunny days propitious for their maturity. The last Cabernet plot was picked on October the 5th.
Harvesting took place with a variable weather and some showers. Margaux appellation was particularly favoured by the climate.
About The Winery:
Certain surnames have left their imprint on Desmirail’s history. First and foremost, Desmirail: Jean founded the estate at the end of the 17th century and his descendants owned it until the middle of the 19th century. Mr. Sipiere was Desmirail’s owner at the time of the 1855 classification. He was also the manager at Château Margaux. Mendelssohn was a famous composer and his nephew, Robert became the owner of the château in 1905. Michel is the name of one of the 20 plots at the estate and also the name of Martial Michel, a glove manufacturer, who owned it from 1923 to 1938.
Lurton is the name of a famous family of winemakers, who largely owe their fame to Lucien Lurton, owner from 1981 to 1992, at the age of 33, Denis Lurton, Lucien’s son, took over running of Desmirail.
The influence of the Terroir – The Médoc Crus Classés are situated on poor soil made if up a mixture if siliceous pebbles (gravel), sand and clay. Garonne gravel (the Gunz as described by Professor Pijassou) terrace mounds as carried along by the powerful flooding of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers at the beginning of the quaternary era (about 1.5 million years ago). It is deposited along the Gironde, the Garonne river estuary, forming outcrops and creating a natural rolling landscape.
The poor soil provides natural drainage and a regular water system for the vines. The vine roots therefore go deep to look for the nutrients and cool temperatures they need for development, there they are sheltered from drought and too much water. Gravel also absorbs the heat of the sun during the day and releases it during the night, this stabilizing the temperature of the vineyard.
The grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, which contain a lot of tannin, gives well structured wines which age well. It can give off the aromas of violet and blackcurrant. Merlot gives colour and aromatic depth to the wine. Its roundness and finesse can soften the Cabernet Sauvignon.
Appellation: Margaux AOC (Médoc) – 3eme Crus Classés
Soil: Very rocky and sandy
Varietals: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc