Chateau Durfort-Vivens 2003
The 2003 Durfort Vivens gives a full spectrum of cru level of the nose. White lilac, violets, roses, ripe dark plums, red cherries and red currants, sweet spices, cigar box, tobacco and minerality. Also mushrooms, pepper and liquorice. Its clean and creamy palate reflects the nose and gives dimensional balance, harmony, elegance and finesse.
The composition for this 2003 vintage is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc, so by design, this bottle is not for 'problematic' drinking. Critical features include the following.
fermentation in batches - partial wood and partial concrete; malo in vat; ageing in 40% new French oak);
very high vine density- 7000 vines per hectare are the highest in Commune of Margaux, even compare to Chateau Margaux next door;
stylistically ripe and concentrated wine.
Durfort Vivens is always the best valued Margaux Cru. Let's not forget that it is a Second Growth from authentic Margaux appellation (Commune of Margaux!) next to Chateau Margaux. Thomas Jefferson singled out Durfort Vivens as the head of the Second Cru. The 1855 Classification confirmed this position. The 1855 Classification also opined that Chateau Durfort Vivens ranks 'not too behind and close' to Chateau Margaux. It has been fetching a shallow market (of course, this is a good thing to most consumers, isn't it?), but it is improving fast and consistent vintage after vintage. So we look forward to seeing more friends coming to like this wine which deserves that.
Earlier owners from the 1960s to 1980s were not able to gear this wine up with the contemporary style is one of the reasons this wine is not famous as it should be. The combined estates of Margaux and Durfort Vivens in the past had created a certain ambiguity harmful to the latter, which was dubbed "second wine of Chateau Margaux" and not Second Cru of Margaux was probably another reason. Lucien Lurton, also of Brane Cantenac, had parcels of the best land which belong to Durfort Vivens added to its detriment.
Superficially innocuous, the nuance was poignant and keenly felt.