NOTE: Beychevelle 2018 is due to arrive in 2021
Beychevelle is interesting that is has 14 blocks of vines that they divide into 60 parcels. The blocks are in the east, south, west and even some in the much cooler Haut-Medoc which are allowed to be put into the Beychevelle wine because they are historically part of the Estate. Their best vines are next to the Chateau though. Yes, Beychevelle is a big estate. But also, it can stand a diversity of weather conditions and offer wine at a quality wine at a reasonable price. Currently, their vines are 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. They are moving to organic viticulture across the Estate too.
“The 2018 Beychevelle is an exceptional, utterly vivid wine. Deep and beautifully layered in the glass, the 2018 has so much to offer. Super-ripe black cherry, crème de cassis, licorice, new oak and chocolate infuse this unctuous, spectacularly ripe Saint-Julien. Beychevelle is exotic, flamboyant and full-throttle, not to mention absolutely stunning. The high presence of Merlot in the blend gives Beychevelle much of its sensuality. What a wine! The 2018 is 50% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot and 3% Cabernet Franc. Tasted three times.” Score: 93/96 Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, May 2019
Described as ‘the Gentleman’s Claret’ for its elegance and restraint. These wines often impress for the balance but never blow you away with overt characters or brass flavours. St-Julien wines age very well and in a good cellar, the top wines will probably outlive anyone of us.
The main grape of Bordeaux’s left bank. Cabernet is late ripening and full of acid and tannin. The great wines are structured but finessed with beautiful cassis, violets and it also transmits the flavours of the soil it is grown in really well. Cabernet isn’t a drink now variety, it really needs 10 or more years to show its best. But when you get there, WOW! Often blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc or in Australia Shiraz to fill out its mid-palate referred to as the ‘Cabernet doughnut’.
It gets a tough time most of the places it is grown. But in Pomerol and Saint-Emilion Merlot not only dominates but makes some of the best wines in the world. Perfume, silky and plush. Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon season the wines with structure and acid but in some places, like Petrus, they are almost not needed.
Is actually one of the parents of Cabernet Sauvignon… along with Sauvignon Blanc (oh! The name makes sense now!). It is most famous for being the third most important grape in quality Bordeaux but also excels in the Loire Valley (where it lived before it went to Bordeaux), especially Chinon and Saumur. The wines are bright red in colour, highlight aromatic with raspberries, rose petals, violets along with tobacco, cassis and some herbal elements. The best examples can live as long as any great wine.
Quality Red Bordeaux in 2018 will be deeply coloured, aromatically complex, and opulent in the mouth. While it sounds like they will be ready to go from day one, most experts are predicting this is a vintage for long-term cellaring. Think 30 years or more! It wasn’t the best start to the vintage so quality is not uniform. Look for Northern Medoc, Margaux, Pomerol and Saint-Emilion.