Monday, September 18, 2006

Margaux en danger!

During the visit of my parents in law this summer, I decided to open in their honor a special bottle for dinner, a 1998 Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux. This brought my father in law to tell us one of the hot stories in France at the time: the Bordeaux bypass project that could destroy some valuable vineyards in the renowned Margaux appellation.

The project that made many Bordeaux producers take up arms this summer is a plan to build a motorway that will bypass the congested town of Bordeaux and connect Spain with Northern Europe. The problem is that some of the proposed routes run through the vineyards of Margaux, including one route that could completely wipe out the vineyard of Château Cantemerle. More than 70 chateaux, including Château Margaux, signed an open letter to the local prefecture. Moreover, the representatives of the appellation created a dedicated website and blog — — to fight the proposal.

The latest news is that the government is trying to reach a compromise with the vintners and has published a revised plan that should not impact any vineyard. But opponents of the project are still worried about lead related pollution and damage to the terroir.

As we were discussing this, we were savoring the wine. It was dark in color, concentrated on the palate and, at the beginning, still tight and closed, so I decanted it. But as the wine opened up in the glass, it started to reveal its full personality, a perfumed nose of black fruits, a delectable, full-bodied palate with well-balanced tannins, and a finish that was long and classy — undoubtedly Margaux.

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