Red, Drink now

2003 Ch. Bellevue, St Emilion

2003 Ch. Bellevue, St Emilion

Red | Drink now | Chateau Bellevue | Code: 77 | 2003 | France > Bordeaux > St-Emilion | Cab.Sauvignon Blend | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 13.5 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

PARKER - Tasted three separate times, it is a worthy rival to the profound 2000. Its inky/ruby/purple color is followed by pure aromas of black cherry liqueur intermixed with smoke, licorice, crushed stones, and flowers. It possesses a fabulous texture, full body, low acidity, and high but ripe, well-integrated tannin. A seamlessly constructed St.-Emilion of great depth, richness, and nobility, it should drink well young given its high pH and alcohol as well as its low acidity. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2020.
93-95/100 pts. (Robert Parker - Wine Advocate - April 2004)

The Producer

Chateau Bellevue

Chateau Bellevue

Château Bellevue was the property of the de Conink and Pradel de Lavaux families, also owners of the historic negociant house of Horeau-Beylot. In September 2007, Chateau Angélus acquired a 50% share in the company. This purchase was motivated as much by the geographical situation of the chateau, next-door to Angélus, as well as chateaux Beaséjour Duffau-Lagarrosse and Beau-Séjour Bécot, as by the exceptional quality of its terroir. Already in 1938, Maurice de Boüard de Laforest wished to buy the property and seventy years later his children and grand-children have realised his dream.

It is the de Lavaux family who hold the other half of the property. Together, the two families will carry on the work started in 2000 by Nicolas Thienpont and Stéphane Derenoncourt. The promotion of the property will be reinforced by the dynamism of Chateau Angelus.

The Grape

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

The Region

St-Emilion

St-Emilion

St Emilion is one of Bordeaux's largest producing appellations, producing more wine than Listrac, Moulis, St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux put together. St Emilion has been producing wine for longer than the Médoc but its lack of accessibility to Bordeaux's port and market-restricted exports to mainland Europe meant the region initially did not enjoy the commercial success that funded the great châteaux of the Left Bank. 

St Emilion itself is the prettiest of Bordeaux's wine towns, perched on top of the steep limestone slopes upon which many of the region's finest vineyards are situated. However, more than half of the appellation's vineyards lie on the plain between the town and the Dordogne River on sandy, alluvial soils with a sprinkling of gravel. 

Further diversity is added by a small, complex gravel bed to the north-east of the region on the border with Pomerol.  Atypically for St Emilion, this allows Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser extent, Cabernet Sauvignon to prosper and defines the personality of the great wines such as Ch. Cheval Blanc.  

In the early 1990s there was an explosion of experimentation and evolution, leading to the rise of the garagistes, producers of deeply-concentrated wines made in very small quantities and offered at high prices.  The appellation is also surrounded by four satellite appellations, Montagne, Lussac, Puisseguin and St. Georges, which enjoy a family similarity but not the complexity of the best wines.

St Emilion was first officially classified in 1954, and is the most meritocratic classification system in Bordeaux, as it is regularly amended. The most recent revision of the classification was in 2012

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