2014 Chateau Malescot Saint-Exupery La Dame de Malescot
Is Chateau Malescot St. Exupery as good as First Growth Chateau Margaux?
Malescot exists in the shadow of Chateau Margaux, both literally and figuratively. Literally, the two estates border each other and sit on the same soil types. Yes, one of them happens to be a First Growth and the other happens to be a Third Growth. But keep in mind that Bordeaux is not Burgundy and when a vineyard changes hands, it gains the classification of the purchaser.
Here, with Margaux and Malescot this is very important because they’ve bought each other’s land. And so, over the years, the vineyards between the two have been very much intermingled, almost as if they were one.
Figuratively, Malescot is now very much in Margaux’s shadow. With the rise of the Mentzelopoulos family in the 1980s, Chateau Margaux experienced a great renaissance in quality. Malescot’s renaissance began a decade later, and since has always been viewed in the light of Chateau Margaux’s success. But the Zuger family, present owners of Malescot, have persevered, and over the last quarter-century they have crafted a wine that few in Margaux can match! Here, you have a great example:
An unfurling of pure red fruits and violets seduce on the nose. Sleek, fine-grained tannins continue the beautiful red fruit, currant, and cherry notes, accented with a subtle ferrous tone. This is Malescot’s second wine – La Dame de Malescot, and the chateau is at pains to suggest to you that it is the exact same fruit, quality of fruit, exact same winemaking team, and wine as their Grand Vin – however, it is a selection of barrels that are more open and expressive earlier. Does it “lack” the regal expression of the Gran Vin? Perhaps, but this also makes it drink beautifully right now, perhaps even more unhesitatingly than the famed Chateau Margaux. The finish sings with fruit and still holds it structure, suggesting to me that it’s in prime form right now but will certainly hold longer.
Call it a sleeper of the vintage, call it in the shadows, or perhaps consider Malescot a hidden gem. Whatever the case, I believe the 2014 vintage of Malescot matches the quality of the First Growths and at its price (especially compared to First Growths!), it can’t be beat.