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FICOFI: Château Margaux in Bali

June 5, 2017

Drinking the wines of Château Margaux in Bali sounds absolutely divine and it really came through on 27 May 2017 at the super-exclusive Soori Resort, masterminded by FICOFI, of course, with the château’s young owner M. Thibault Pontailler in attendance.  The setting was almost perfect, open-air beachfront serenaded by the thunderous waves of the Indian Ocean crashing ashore, dinner by candlelight and a live band to get everyone in the party mood. The only downside was the balmy weather at 30 degrees Celsius, and we’d not anticipated that we would be competing with water flies (naturally attracted at night to any light source) trying their best to sip the wines too but FICOFI had done well to make sure the wines were kept properly chilled.


Following the untimely passing of his father Paul last year (who was General Manager and Winemaker at Château Margaux), Thibault has been thrust as Brand Ambassador for Château Margaux since March 2017. However, Thibault is no stranger to the business as his education and upbringing has always been focused on his eventual role at Château Margaux. For this evening, Thibault has also revealed another side of him that is probably unknown to most: this young man is perfectly at home fronting a live band as he is in the wine cellar.


Champagne Jacquesson 735. Gentle green fruits and green apples with abundant lime and pomelo, forward in balance but slightly muted, broad though without much depth nor complexity, veering towards dryness. 


2012 Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux, poured from magnum. Rather full and creamy with overtones of vanilla icing, very fresh and clean, yielding good power with understated minerality, tapering towards a cool minty finish. Yet to develop.

2006 Pavillon Blanc du Château Margaux, poured from magnum. Much more developed with excellent depth on the nose and palate, displaying complex characters of paraffin, white flowers in full bloom and recessed notes of green fruits that fleshed out with broad expanse and body, again finishing with its signature cool minty flourish. Excellent.


2005 Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux. Poured from magnum. Wild berries and dark cherries dominate on the nose with dusty smoky tones, slightly tarry on the palate with a bit of Pauillac-like dryness, displaying fine acidity and good concentration with some early evolution though shorn of fat. Still youthful and likely to flesh out with further cellaring. Keep.

1996 Pavillon Rouge du Château Margaux. Poured from magnum. Very lovely on the nose, filled with an alluring complex of sweet dark cherries and redcurrants with a gentle fragrance. Still quite full and fresh, highly seamless with understated structure, exuding further notes of blueberries, ash and dark plums over time, finishing with good length. Excellent.


2003 Château Margaux. This wine exudes a lovely floral fragrance filled with redcurrants, ripe wild berries and dark cherries amidst some earthiness. Silky and highly supple on the palate with understated tannin structure, quite seamless, still youthful with very good concentration and vigour, getting better in definition with time as it turned slightly dryish with further notes of ash. Very well crafted without any hint of heat stress. Excellent.

1996 Château Margaux. Caught at its absolute peak, this wine exudes a full complex fragrance of smoke and tobacco characters amidst ripe red fruits and dark berries, very similar in character with the 1996 Pavillon Rouge but more substantial with better definition and depth, gorgeous in acidity and balance with lively intensity though still a little backward, imbued with a bit of Pauillac-like dryness. Superb, and will hold for many years to come.


2005 Château d’Yquem. Ubiquitous by now at these FICOFI functions but I’m not complaining although, on this occasion, the overly warm ambient temperature is to blame for its muted display, the usual abundance of luscious nectarine, apricot, brioche and honeysuckle curiously restrained, failing to sparkle with complexity and depth.


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