For the first time in its history and for the vintage of 2015 only, Chateau Margaux drapes its Grand Vin in a new outfit to distinguish a vintage that is truly out of the ordinary. The new bottle serves as tribute to an exceptional year, to two centuries of design and to the estate’s former General Manager Paul Pontallier, who passed away on March 28, 2016. The 2015 vintage remains the last one to be supervised by this gentleman from Margaux.
Paul Pontallier: 33 Years of Devoted Service at Chateau Margaux
A truly iconic General Manager of the Chateau since 1990, Paul Pontallier has left a great impression on the style of this First Classified Growth of Margaux.
Originally from Bordeaux, he began his studies as an agronomist at the Institut National Agronomique de Paris Grignon, later specialising in viticulture and oenology in Montpellier. Pontallier completed his education with a PhD in Oenology in 1978 in Talence. He developed his thesis on the ageing of red wines in barrels under the guidance of Emile Peynaud, a French oenologist and researcher known for having revolutionised vinification techniques. Pontallier then moved to Chile, where he completed his civil service as a professor of oenology at the Catholic University of Santiago. While in Chile, he became friends with another young oenologist, Felipe de Solminihac, with whom he established the Viña Aquitania estate, in collaboration with Bruno Prats (former owner of Cos d’Estournel) and Ghislain de Montgolfier (former President of Bollinger ). With help from his mentor Emile Peynaud, Pontallier became an oenologist at Chateau Margaux in 1983, never to leave again. He took over the management of the First Classified Growth in 1990, following the retirement of Philippe Barre. Innovative by nature and always in search of perfection, he even went as far as creating a Research & Development department within the estate. Paul Pontallier was also at the helm of the creation of the Chateau’s new winery, designed by the architect Norman Foster, as well as the exceptional tasting room, an extension to the incredible cave, located under the vineyards. Filled with the spirit of the estate, he has managed to keep the architectural changes faithful to the history of the estate, while also modernising the latter. The years of collaboration and even complicity that he had with Corinne Mentzelopoulos saw a quest for excellence and were marked by a common desire between the two to better express the terroir of Margaux, to always respect it, refine it, without giving up on new technologies.
A Vintage Marking the Bicentenary of the Exceptional Architecture of the “Versailles of Medoc”
Entrusted to Lord Norman Foster, one of the most famous architects in the world and creator of the Millau Viaduct, the new building complex at Chateau Margaux was inaugurated in June of 2015. These new cellars are truly magnificent, with an extensive underground wine cellar and Research & Development center fashioned by the genius of Norman Foster. Foster adapted this building to the existing architectural heritage that we know and recognise as that of Margaux: the neo-Palladian, rare in France and listed as a Historic Monument in 1946.
An Exceptional Year, Which Defined an Exceptional Vintage
The final vintage produced under the direction of Paul Pontallier, 2015 is truly one of the most exceptional from Margaux. The growing season was characterised by incredible climatic conditions akin to great vintages of the Chateau, including 2005, 2009 and 2010.
Margaux presents the 2015 vintage in a bottle with a superb silk print, specially designed and mounted on glass, replacing the usual label. The bottle is available in all of the usual formats offered by the estate. Truly unique and available exclusively for this vintage, the 2015 Chateau Margaux Grand Vin bottle is subtle, elegant and modern, an image that the Chateau has never failed to express. In the center of the label, the new cellars in grey are superimposed on the Chateau, in gold. And at the bottom of the bottle, a single, sobre silkscreen line pays tribute to the late Paul Pontallier.
This rare bottle is a reflection on the great momentum given to the management of Chateau Margaux by a new generation of collaborators: Philippe Bascaules (General Manager), Alexandra Petit-Mentzelopoulos and Aurélien Valence (Deputy General Managers), and Sébastien Vergne (Operations Manager).