WINE SPECTATOR’S
40TH ANNIVERSARY

Corinne Mentzelopoulos

Deepix Studio
Corinne Mentzelopoulos

In 1980, Corinne Mentzelopoulos found herself in a perilous situation. Her father, André, had purchased Château Margaux three years earlier, but the historic estate had suffered years of neglect and was considered the worst-performing of Bordeaux's five first-growths. André's sudden death left 27-year-old Corinne with the daunting task of restoring Margaux's lost glory.

In the 36 years since, Mentzelopoulos has proven she is a worthy master of Margaux. She did it by putting the estate first. With an economics degree, she spent several years managing her family's business empire. In 2003, however, she sold off her stake in almost everything in return for complete ownership of Margaux. Meanwhile, she invested heavily in the property, restoring vineyards and building a modern winery. She also hired an exceptional winemaker, Paul Pontallier, who was 27 in 1983 when he applied for a job. With humility and intelligence, Pontallier oversaw Margaux's cellars until his untimely death this year.

Under her guidance, Château Margaux makes one of Bordeaux's finest wines, reflecting the elegance and steely power of its terroir, and her character. She has given Bordeaux continuity in an era of turbulence and shown that greatness is not simply inherited, it is the result of hard work. In 1995, she received Wine Spectator’s Distinguished Service Award.

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