A “second wine” has been made at Château Margaux since the 18th century, though Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux was not named as such until 1908.
Production of Margaux’s second wine halted in the 1930s. It was not made again until the arrival in 1977 of the chateau’s new owner André Mentzelopoulos. To improve the quality of the “first wine” or “grand vin”, more Pavillon Rouge was made.
Nowadays, about ⅓ of Château Margaux’s grapes go into the grand vin; ⅓ into Pavillon Rouge; and ⅙ each into the third wine (Margaux du Château Margaux) and an anonymous fourth wine, sold since 2009 in bulk to Bordeaux wine merchants.
(Are you keeping up? Good.)
Four excellent examples of Pavillon Rouge came in and out of our Mayfair office recently.
From the top, the 1988 has smoothed out over the years and is now probably in its prime.
1992? Well, it rained a lot in the spring and then during the September-October harvest… A light vintage of Pavillon Rouge that can still be enjoyable.
The 1995 Pavillon Rouge is one of the best made in the late 20th century. A well looked after example like this one is still going strong.
Margaux du Château Margaux was introduced for the 1997 vintage, using grapes and/or tanks and barrels that were considered unworthy of the first wine or second wine.
In my recent experience, Bordeaux red wine of this vintage has lasted much better than was widely expected. The 1997 Pavillon Rouge benefited from the more rigorous selection and has endured well.