This second growth Margaux property was greatly esteemed long before the 1855 classification: it had many fans as early as the eighteenth century, and Thomas Jefferson - who was minister to France before his US Presidency, and a great wine lover - ranked Durfort-Vivens directly after Latour, Lafite and Margaux. The talented Lucien Lurton bought the property in 1961 and worked hard to restore it to its fullest potential and, since 1992, his son Gonzague has continued his good work.
The 55 hectares of vines lie on hills of deep, particularly poor gravel which produces early-ripening cabernet sauvignon typical of many great Margaux wines. Grapes are hand picked, and once they reach the winery they are subject to constant tasting and evaluation to determine how to proceed with each stage of the vinification.
Durfort-Vivens is an unusual and original Margaux, which is seldom charming when young, and always needs time in bottle to show the finesse and length of flavour that Gonzague seeks. In lighter years it can remain quite austere, although it always has true Margaux fragrance, but in better years it has real length, flavour and class.
The wine tends to be a blend of 70% cabernet sauvignon, 24% merlot and 6% cabernet franc, aged for between 16 and 20 months in oak, up to 40% of which is new oak. It will keep for between 11 and 25 years.