2021 Margaux Wines, Vintage Report, Tasting Notes, Best Wines to Buy

Winemakers

Margaux is always a difficult appellation to get a handle on, due to its large size, and dizzying arrays of terroirs. 2021 Margaux is no exception to that rule. The 2021 vintage was shaped by a myriad of challenges including devastating frosts that struck on April 7 and April 8. Several growers reported varying levels of damage and crop losses.

Merlot was hit the hardest, due to its precocious development. Growers also needed to contend with extended periods of heavy periods of rain, attacks of downy mildew, uneven flowering, and deficit levels of sunshine. 2021 Margaux is a perfect example for what can be called a winemaker’s vintage.

Even with all of that to contend with, there are a surprising number of very good, charming wines, much more than I originally anticipated. The good fortune came about thanks to the warmth, and sunshine enjoyed by the vines which came though in the nick of time, in late August. Except for isolated bouts of rain on September, 8-9, 17-19, (the heaviest rainy period), and a few very light showers on September 24-25, things turned around for the 2021 Margaux vintage.

Picking began in the middle to the end of September for the Merlot, finishing around the middle of October for the Cabernets and the Petit Verdot, not just in Margaux, but all over the Medoc.

As a matter of style and character, 2021 Margaux can be called a modern version of classic Bordeaux. At their best, 2021 Margaux wines deliver flowery aromatics, freshness, bright, red fruits, purity, and elegance. The wines are lower in alcohol than we have seen over the past decade. The blends are also dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon.

There are 2021 Margaux wines lacking in richness on the mid-palate. Because of the lack of sugars, coupled with lower alcohol levels, chaptalization was used to increase the sugar levels by .5 to 1% for a portion of their harvest. Many winemakers used reverse osmosis, and saignée, which is the simple technique of bleeding vats to increase the concentration in the wine.

On a positive note, most 2021 Margaux wines will be delicious either on release, or with just a bit of aging.

All of the following 2021 Margaux wines were tasted at my home office in non-blind conditions.

2021 Angludet – Margaux – Medium-bodied, light, bright and fresh, I like strong floral notes, though the wine is on the light side. Soft, forward and medium-bodied, the palate displays crips and crunchy, sweet and tart, savory red cherries with ease. Already approachable, this will probably be at its best in its youth. Drink from 2025-2037. 89 Pts

2021 DArsac – Margaux – Savory herbs, cranberry and dried flower aromas are the best part of the wine. The palate is medium-to light bodied with a bright, high-pitched, chalky, red berry character that is best suited for early drinking pleasure. Drink from 2024-2030. 87 Pts

2021 Brane Cantenac – Margaux – With a bit of oak that still needs integrate in the nose, the perfume quickly moves to roses, tobacco leaf, cherries, black currants, incense and a background note of orange rind. On the palate, soft, fresh, elegant and refined, with layers of sweet, ripe, red fruits that taste as good as they feel. This is an incredible success for the vintage. The wine blends 74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Carmenere. Drink from 2026-2050. 95 Pts

2021 Brane Cantenac Baron de Brane – Margaux – Black raspberries, red currants, spice, cherries and dried roses pop in the aromatics. Medium-bodied, fresh, silky-textured and forward, with a core of ripe red plums and cherries, this is good-to-go on release, while waiting for the Grand Vin to develop. Drink from 2024-2032. 90 Pts

2021 Brane Cantenac Margaux de Brane – Margaux – Roses, cherries and wet earth aromatics appear in the perfume. Soft, elegant and fresh, with a nice core of ripe, red currants and cherries, this is perfect for ordering in a bistro or cafe for its freshness and drinkability. This is the new 3rd wine from Brane Cantenac. Drink from 2024-2029. 87 Pts

2021 Brane Cantenac Blanc – Bordeaux – Only the second vintage for this white from Brane Cantenac, the wine comes on strong with its notes of pineapple, flowers, green apples, pears, spice and orange rind. Fresh, and creamy as well as vibrant and fruity, the wine leaves you with a nice blend of lemons, pineapples, green apples and white peach. Drink from 2024-2030. 93 Pts

2021 Brane Cantenac Baron de Brane Blanc – Bordeaux – Quite orange in nature with oranges, mango and tangerine at its core, the wine is sweet, vibrant and fruity, with lift and energy. This is a good example of a baby Brane Cantenac Blanc. Drink from 2024-2028. 90 Pts

2021 Cantenac Brown – Margaux – Flowers, espresso, cigar box, black and red currants and cherry scents pop in the nose. On the palate, the wine is fresh creamy and loaded with with sweet, ripe, spicy, savory red fruits, silky tannins and a supple finish. This is very successful for the vintage. The wine is a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon and 27% Merlot. Drink from 2025-2044. 94 Pts

2021 Clos Dufourg – Margaux – Black cherries, flowers and herbs are easy to find in the nose and on the palate of this forward, expressive, slightly chewy cherry filled wine. The finish is all about its cocoa with a sprig of mint that comes along with the sweet cherries in the endnote. Drink from 2024-2034. 90 Pts

2021 Dauzac – Margaux – The wine has filled out after its aging in barrel, so, now you find a minty, floral, red cherry-filled, medium-bodied, soft, supple wine with a slight touch of espresso, spearmint and currants in the mid-palate and in the almost, polished finish. You can enjoy this early for all of its soft, ripe, red fruits. Drink from 2025-2040. 91 Pts

2021 Desmirail – Margaux – Flowers, espresso, and cherries fill the perfume. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, soft, fresh and refined, with an elegant touch to its, fresh and savory red currants with a touch of green olives that show up at the end of the finish. This is showing better from the bottle than it did during its barrel tastings. Drink from 2024-2038. 90 Pts

2021 Deyrem Valentin – Margaux – Cherries, black raspberries and roses with a hint of coffee bean pop in the nose. The wine is medium-bodied, fresh, supple and focused on its array of cherries and red plums with a hint of green herbs that pops in at the end of the finish. Drink from 2025-2038. 90 Pts

2021 Gallen de Château Meyre – Margaux – Underbrush, leafy herbs, chocolate and red currants in the nose and on the palate of this soft, round, easy-to-like, forward wine. The finish delivers a nice blast of chocolate in the polished endnote. Drink from 2024-2032. 89 Pts

2021 Giscours – Margaux – Flowers, black cherries, menthol, spice and forest leaves produce the attention seeking aromatics. The palate is equal to the nose with its freshness, silky-textures, and layers of sweet, dark red fruits. You find touches of herbs, olives, cocoa, and mint that pop in at the back of the finish adding complexity, and character. The wine blends 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot. Drink from 2026-2050. 94 Pts

2021 Giscours La Sirene de Giscours – Margaux – Medium-bodied, fresh, fruity and floral with freshness, soft, elegant textures and ample, sweet, red fruits that carry from the mid-palate through to the finish. This is perfect for restaurants or early, drinking pleasure while waiting for the Grand Vin to mature. Drink from 2024-2035. 88 Pts

2021 Haut Breton Larigaudière – Margaux – Incense, peppery herbs, espresso and berries open the wine. Forward, medium-bodied, round, chewy and still under the influence of its oaky upbringing, the wine can be enjoyed early in its life. Drink from 2024-2033. 89 Pts

2021 DIssan – Margaux – Medium-bodied, elegant, refined and already focused on displaying its floral character, accompanied by its core of black raspberries, cherries, tobacco, cedar and spice. Forward, soft and vibrant, the wine serves up its sweet, energetic red berries with accents of spice, mint and just a touch of espresso on the backend. Produced from a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec. This is only the second vintage to include 5 Bordeaux varietals in the blend. Drink from 2024-2047. 93 Pts

2021 DIssan Blason d’Issan – Margaux – Medium-bodied, forward, already approachable, allowing you to enjoy all of its bright, crisp, red fruits, cedar and tobacco with its soft, brisk edge on release. This is perfect for near term drinking while waiting for the Grand Vin to develop. Drink from 2024-2032. 89 Pts

2021 Kirwan – Margaux – Soft, supple, round, forward, medium-bodied, and floral, you also find with little effort, sweet, red cherries, espresso, and a delicate hint of spice in the nose and on the rounded, lighter-styled, fresh palate. You can enjoy this almost on release. Drink from 2025-2040. 90 Pts

2021 La Fortune – Margaux – Flowers, spice, sweet, red fruits and silky tannins with a chalky, fruit-filled, vibrant finish with a sprig of mint that pops in at the end of the finish. And it sells for a fair price. What’s not to like? Drink from 2024-2035. 90 Pts

2021 La Tour de Bessan – Margaux – Dark cherries, olives, herbs and a touch of coffee bean open the wine. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, crisp and light, with a cranberry and orange accented finish. Drink from 2024-2030. 88 Pts

2021 La Tour de Mons – Margaux – Showing much better from the bottle than it did in the barrel, the bouquet is loaded with dried flowers, red fruits and savory herbal herbs. The palate is fresh, vibrant, elegant, and creamy, with a nice sweetness to the cherries, spices and a touch of chalk on the backend. This will be easy to enjoy on release and will offer pleasure at least 12 years after that. Drink from 2024-2037. 91 Pts

2021 Labegorce – Margaux – Violets, espresso, cherries, black raspberries and the perfect, light touch of mint open the aromatics. The palate is fresh, elegant, racy and red, with cherry packed finish that ends up with a refreshing hint of spearmint at the end. Drink from 2025-2038. 92 Pts

2021 Lascombes – Margaux – Chocolate, espresso, licorice, black cherries and mint chip ice cream aromas comes through in the bouquet. On the palate, the wine is creamy, supple, rich, ripe and fruity, with dark chocolate and espresso notes that finish with the finish. Drink from 2025-2040. 92 Pts

2021 Le Coteau – Margaux – Showing better after its time in the barrel, the wine offers its espresso, tobacco leaf, currant and peppery herb profile with ease. The wine is medium-bodied, bright, minty, and vibrant, with a fresh, savory, red berry finish. Drink from 2024-2035. 90 Pts

2021 Malescot St. Exupery – Margaux – Flowers, espresso, licorice and black cherries line the perfume. The palate is supple, creamy, and vibrant with touch of savory herbs and oak that accompanies the plums and dark cocoa-dusted cherries in the mid-palate and in the finish. Drink from 2027-2050. 93 Pts

2021 Marquis dAlesme – Margaux – Violets, licorice, black cherries, chocolate, and plum aromas fill the perfume. The palate is balanced between supple textures, layers of fruit and freshness. The finish offers an herbal, and minty edge to its wealth of red fruits. Drink from 2025-2042. 93 Pts

2021 Marquis de Terme – Margaux – Lilacs, chocolate, espresso, plums and black cherry aromas create the perfume. The palate is equal to the aromatics with its layers of creamy, textured, sweet, red fruits, touch of chocolate, cinnamon and espresso finish. Drink from 2025-2044. 93 Pts

2021 Mongravey – Margaux – Bright, high-pitched red fruits and flowers with an expresso accent hit the nose. Medium-bodied, with crisp and crunchy red fruits, olives and peppery herbs on the palate, this is ready for consumption on release. Drink from 2024-2030. 87 Pts

2021 Moutte Blanc – Margaux – Medium-bodied, bright, fresh, crisp red fruits with a touch of savory herbs on the nose lead to the almost light, bright, accessible palate. Not complicated, but simple and direct, this is a pleasant charmer that will be easy to enjoy on release and over the next 7-8 years or so. Drink from 2024-2032. 89 Pts

2021 Palmer – Margaux – Clearly, one of the wines of the vintage, this is superb, and quite an accomplishment for the vintage. The wine is rich, concentrated, firm, and elegant with layers of black and red fruits, spice, dried flowers, tobacco leaf, and cocoa. The palate is loaded with sweet, ripe, energetic berries, dark chocolate, plums, espresso and a hint of mint. The refined, lifted end notes keep on going. With some age, this could score even higher. The wine blends 56% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot. Yields were a paltry 22 hectoliters per hectare, so not much wine was produced. Drink from 2027-2060. 96 Pts

2021 Palmer Alter Ego dePalmer – Margaux – Crushed stones, flowers, red with black cherries and a marine influence sets the tone in the perfume. On the palate, the medium-bodied wine is soft, silky, and vibrant, making the perfect backdrop for all of the wines sweet, ripe plums, mint and spice notes in the refined finish. The wine is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot and 8% Petit Verdot, making this the highest percentage of Cabernet ever used in any vintage of Alter Ego. Drink from 2025-2040. 93 Pts

2021 Paveil de Luze – Margaux – Another wine that is showing better in the bottle than it did in the barrel is filled with cherries, roses, mint and wet earth. The palate is fresh, sweet, energetic, medium-bodied, and elegant with a hint of spice with a refreshing note of mint that comes in at the backend of the finish. You can enjoy this early-drinking charmer on release. Drink from 2024-2037. 90 Pts

2021 Paveil de Luze Blanc – Bordeaux – Honeysuckle, white flowers, citrus and pineapple crowd into the perfume. On the palate, the wine is fresh, fruity and sweet, with a blend of tropical fruits and citrus in the finish. Drink from 2024-2029. 91 Pts

2021 Prieure-Lichine – Margaux – Toasty oak, flowers, and cherries pop in the bouquet. The medium-bodied palate is soft creamy and cherry-filled with dark chocolate, mint and red berries in the finish. Drink from 2025-2042. 92 Pts

2021 Prieure-Lichine Confidences – Margaux – Bright, fresh, clean, soft, medium-bodied and forward, this early-drinking charmer offers is core of red currants cherries with ease. This will be best in its youth for its upfront, forward, fruits. Drink from 2024-2029. 87 Pts

2021 Prieure-Lichine Le Blanc du Chateau – Bordeaux – Vanilla, white peach, almonds, orange rind and flowers open the perfume. The palate enjoys a blend of fresh, yellow citrus and white peaches wrapped up in a creamy-textured bow. It is not a wine I see often, making this quite fun to taste. Drink from 2024-2030. 92 Pts

2021 Rauzan-Gassies – Margaux – Flowers, tobacco leaf, mint and bright, vibrant red cherries express the character of this medium-bodied, energetic offering. The finish continues along the same path with a minty-edge to the bright, red cherries in the mid-palate and on the backend of the finish. Drink from 2025-2040. 92 Pts

2021 Rauzan Segla – Margaux – The complex aromatics here pop with dried flowers, espresso, cigar wrapper, spice, brown sugar and an array of red with black fruits. The wine is elegant, refined, fresh, silky and fresh. The fruits are sweet, pure, refined and defined. In fact, this is so good, it would be a success in any vintage. But, in 2021, it is a screaming success and is clearly one of the wines of the vintage! Drink from 2026-2052. 96 Pts

2021 Segla – Margaux – Black raspberries, flowers and mint make their selves known in the perfume. On the palate, the wine is supple, soft and vibrant, with a pinch of spice accompanying the fruits. It is also already accessible, making this a gem to enjoy in a restaurant or when you are in the mood for a nice wine that doesn’t require aging or decanting. Drink from 2024-2031. 90 Pts

2021 Siran – Margaux – Black cherries, plums, flowers and a dollop of cocoa pop in the perfume. On the palate, the wine is supple creamy and fresh with a nice sweetness to the fruits, lift and a dusty, edged finish. Drink from 2025-2040. 92 Pts

2021 Tayac – Margaux – Flowers, espresso, wet earth and currants create the perfume. The medium-bodied wine is soft, fresh, elegant and polished, making it easy to enjoy all the sweet, energetic plums on the palate and in the finish. Drink from 2024-2034. 90 Pts

2021 Tayac Or Norme – Margaux – A bit tight, so, some extra effort was required to dive into the flowers, cocoa, espresso and cherries that create the perfume. On the palate, the wine is fresh, medium-bodied, lush and mildly polished, with loads of sweet, black and red cherries with a touch of spice that hit the endnote. The wine is made from an interesting blend 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Petit Verdot and 20% Merlot. Drink from 2024-2036. 91 Pts

2021 Du Tertre – Margaux – Fresh, vibrant, savory, black raspberries, currants, espresso and mint aromas pop in the nose. The palate is medium-bodied, energetic, and bright, with a core of cedar, herbs and spicy currants, with an underpinning of cocoa that blends together and lingers. The wine blends 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot. Drink from 2025-2045. 91 Pts

2021 Du Tertre Les Haut – Margaux – Flowers, and spicy red fruits with a hint of coffee bean blend together perfectly in the perfume and on the palate of this fresh, forward, already-drinkable, charmer. The wine finishes with mint, cedar and bright, red berry accents. You can enjoy this on release. Drink from 2024-2029. 87 Pts

2021 Du Tertre Blanc – Vin de France – The striking nose pops with orange rind, ginger, white peach, vanilla, flowers, lemons and spice. The wine is sweet, fruity, and fresh, with zesty, green apple, melon, citrus and spice finish. The unique blend is made from 38% Gros Manseng, 25% Viognier, 25% Sauvignon Blanc and 12% Chardonnay. The wine was vinified in stainless steel and barrel and aged in 100% new, French oak barrels. Drink from 20234-2030. 90 Pts

For an overview of the 2021 Bordeaux vintage with links to all of our appellation reports 2021 Bordeaux In Bottle Report for the Best 750 Wines of the vintage We are continuing our reports on all of the best wines tasted in bottle from the 2021 Bordeaux vintage. We are almost finished with our report on 2021 Bordeaux. In fact, we have only two more appellations to cover. Next, our penultimate report looks at all the best 2021 St. Julien wines before wrapping everything up with our final article featuring all of the best 2021 Pauillac wines.

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