For years, our go-to value in Margaux has been Moulin de Tricot. Unfortunately, they were recently purchased by a conglomerate, and the upcoming 2019 will be the final release. With just one more vintage to enjoy these wines, we were lucky to find an exceptional replacement. Max stumbled upon Chateau Larruau at a Bordeaux tasting over a decade ago, and in that time, the wines have maintained their fair pricing.
Chateau Larruau is equally planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, most of which surround vineyards owned by the famous Chateau Margaux. New oak is limited to about 35%, a big reason this concentrated Bordeaux still conveys its sense of place, void of vanillin or monolithic oak tannin. The grapes are hand-harvested, fermented in temperature-controlled tanks, and aged for 18 months in a mix of new and neutral wood. Margaux is well known for having the highest concentration of gravel soils and, therefore, producing the most elegant wines of the Médoc.
Chateau Larruau’s 2016 bottling has those quintessential tobacco and graphite notes paired with the vintage’s vivid fruit profile. This is real deal Bordeaux and hands down the best pricing you’ll find in Margaux!
Situated between Pomerol and Saint Emilion on the second-highest point along the Gironde estuary, Chateau Le Puy is a Bordeaux estate rooted in sensibilities more commonly found in Burgundy. The wines' finesse, dead-serious focus, and drinkability are worlds apart from the stylistic norm.
These vines have been farmed free of chemicals since 1610, and today full biodynamic practices are employed, with work done by horse. The estate's plantings include 85% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, and small percentages of Malbec and Carménère on an amalgamation of red clay, silex, and limestone soils.
In addition to working the vines organically and biodynamically, their fermentation and élevage methods are considered uncommon. Infusion and semi-carbonic methods limit the extraction of hard tannins and retain more primary fruit traits, providing soft texture with bright, open-knit fruit out of the gate. And aging in large foudre preserves all of that verve carried into bottle.
Vignai da Duline (Doo-Lee-Nay) produces some of the top Northern Italian wines most people have never heard of. Their site, Ronco Pitotti, is one of the oldest hillside vineyards in Friuli—some of these vines were planted in the 1920s! There's a common thread through each bottling that's impossible to miss, with a balance and seamless structure that I more so associate with my favorite French white wines.
In the late 1990s, Lorenzo Mocchiutti and Federica Magrini inherited a few hectares of old vines from Lorenzo's grandfather. The couple quickly committed to the philosophy of "No trimming shoots" and "No herbicides." They believe the organically grown vines will find their balance through uninterrupted shoot growth, and who's to argue when it truly is the balance of their wines that stands out first and foremost.
Pinot Grigio comes from less than two hectares planted in 1940 and 1958 on marl-sandstone and limestone flysch. This bottling is a towering example of what Pinot Grigio is capable of!
Morus Alba comes from two parcels of Sauvignon Blanc and Malvasia equaling just 1.4 hectares. The Savignon Blanc and Malvasia vines grow on flych and red soils, respectively. Planted in 1940 and 1979.
Valori Merlot comes from a 0.32-hectare planted in 1920. Gravner and Radikon receive well-deserved acclaim for their Merlot-based wines, but I'd argue that Duline makes another great case. Only bottled in magnum.