Chateau Durfort Vivens Margaux 2eme Cru Classe 2016  £99.58

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Chateau Dufort Vivians Margaux 2eme Cru Classe 2016

Château Durfort-Vivens owes its name to the Durfort de Duras, a powerful family in the southwest of France that came to Margaux in the 14th century. In 1824, the name of Vivens was added when Viscount Robert Labat de Vivens inherited the property.

This 55-hectare second growth, now owned and run by Gonzague Lurton, is one of the finest in Margaux. The vineyards are planted with 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc at a density of 6,600 to 7,700 vines per hectare on deep gravel soils. The grapes for Château Durfort-Vivens are vinified in a mixture of oak and concrete vats and aged for about 18 months in barriques. Gonzague converted 20% of his vineyards to biodynamic viticulture in 2009. Pleased with the results, he increased the area to 40% the following year and completed the conversion in 2013. The vineyards are fully certified from the 2016 vintage.

First produced in 2004, ‘Vivens’ is Château’s second wine and is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, sourced predominantly from younger vines. The wine is aged for 16 months in 20% new oak barrels and 80% one-year-old barrels. 

Located in the communes of Margaux, Cantenac and Soussans, the Durfort-Vivens' vines are planted on hilltops made up of deep, poor gravel. This magnificent terroir enables an early optimal ripening of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, allowing a full expression of the finesse and silkiness of the tannins, resulting in the freshness and elegance characteristic of a great Margaux. All vineyard work is done by hand at the beginning of the vegetative cycle. Pruning is adapted to the vine's vigour, removing excess buds, shoots and leaves. Gonzague Lurton, the current head of the estate, has introduced organic and biodynamic farming to the vineyard.

Fermentation occurred in a mixture of oak and cement tanks, with enough capacity to vinify each parcel separately. Château Durfort-Vivens was aged in fine-grained oak barrels for 18 months with 60% of the wine in new barrels. Regular racking and fining accompanied this stabilisation period before bottling

90-92 Points

The 2016 Durfort Vivens, which I tasted at a négoçiant tasting, is a blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Merlot, the vineyard now biodynamically farmed and Demeter approved. I have criticized this Margaux on previous occasions due to lack of ripeness, but certainly the nose does not display any of that. This 2016 comes armed with attractive blackberry, bilberry and sous-bois aromas that gradually unfurl in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with an insistent grip on the entry. The tannins feel quite bold for Durfort-Vivens, with plenty of sappy black fruit. I appreciate the acidic drive of this Margaux and the finish is energetic, full of tension and leaves a lovely, almost brine-like aftertaste. This is one of the best wines from Gonzalgue Lurton that I have tasted in recent years.

Neal Martin

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