Chateau Margaux has celebrated the opening of new cellars designed by architect Lord Foster by hosting a lavish dinner for almost 500 guests on the first night of the Vinexpo 2015 wine fair in Bordeaux.
Visitors from the media and the wine trade, including Eric de Rothschild of Chateau Lafite Rothschild and Vinexpo chief executive Guillaume Deglise, were given a tour of the new cellars, which include a wine library vault holding tens of thousands of mature vintages.
The exact amount spent on the occasion remains a mystery, but Chateau Margaux recruited the triple Michelin starred chef Guy Savoy to cook for 480 guests. Diners ate in a purpose-built conservatory the height of the chateau building itself; each table adorned with flowers and greenery.
In a series of pre-dinner speeches, Lord Foster told of how his major challenge during the project was to preserve the architectural heritage of Margaux, which he described as a ‘noble’ building.
Corinne Mentzelopoulos, who took over management of Chateau Margaux after her father died in 1980, welcomed guests with Philippe Casteja, president of the Conseil des Grands Crus Classés en 1855, and also asked diners to remember Baroness Philippine de Rothschild of fellow First Growth Chateau Mouton Rothschild, who passed away last year. ‘Medoc will never be the same,’ she said.
Casteja reminded the audience that it is 160 years since the creation of the 1855 Classification.
Operatic music accompanied the arrival of every food course, as tens of waiting staff marched into the room to serve artichoke and truffle soup followed by roast guinea fowl, a selection of cheeses and finally a dessert of ‘exotic fruits’ – the latter matched with a Chateau d’Yquem 1988 vintage.
Other wines served during the meal included crus classes from the Bordeaux 2006, 1996 and 1986 vintages, as well as a Chateau Margaux 1985, one of the most highly rated vintages of that decade. Sauternes and Barsac wines were served as an aperitif.
After dinner, guests were shown a short film beamed across the room on a giant projector and shot around the history of the estate and its terroir.