Discovery and disclosure at Ch Margaux


'At the level we are, it’s much easier for quality to go down than up', said Paul Pontallier, the general director and winemaker at Château Margaux (pictured, centre). It was a pragmatic rather than an immodest statement, since their wines are consistently acknowledged as achieving the very best standards, and any wobble therefrom would surely attract pitiless scrutiny.

Nonetheless, for 10 years they have been conducting experiments in the quest for improvement. The château’s own R&D department was established in 2002, and has two permanent staff members examining a wide range of interesting topics. Pontallier himself is a strong believer...