The wines of Margaux from the Médoc region of Bordeaux are amongst the most famous in the world. Winemakers the world over try to emulate them, for here on this low-lying windblown estuary, the classic red grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have for centuries produced the wines of choice for the connoisseur.
It was the famous classification of 1855 – itself based on 100 years of history – that first established a qualitative hierarchy amongst the châteaux of the Médoc and since then there has only been one change – in 1973 Château Mouton-Rothschild was promoted to first growth. Ever since, the top châteaux of the Médoc have been the barometers of price for all Bordeaux wines. Unfortunately their prices are not within the reach of the majority – well, not for regular drinking anyway! However, the second quality level – Cru Bourgeois – certainly is and in 2003 a new classification was drawn up. This resulted in the removal of 215 châteaux previously designated Crus Bourgeois – and the addition of only 18 new ones. Château Mongravey was one of these 18.
We had been searching for a vineyard in the Médoc for many years, but that elusive combination of quality, value for money and a warm welcome at the vineyard had remained out of reach. Then by chance, following another disappointing visit to a well-known château, we were introduced to the Bernaleaus at Château Mongravey. Several visits and many tastings later we persuaded Régis to make an exclusive cuvée of his award-winning Margaux for Partners.
Régis inherited a small vineyard from his father in 1980 and since then he has been single-mindedly expanding the property, investing in new equipment and improving the quality of his wines. He now owns nine hectares of Margaux vineyard on some of the best well-drained land and his efforts were duly rewarded when Mongravey was included in the new Bordeaux classification.
We have been working with Château Mongravey now for almost a decade. Our first blend, the Margaux Cuvée 3D 2003 won a Gold Medal at the International Wine Challenge in London. An impressive feat considering that it was one of the hottest years on record, which provides many a viticultural challenge.