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2010 Ch. L'Evangile, Pomerol
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Château L'Evangile is one of the prestigious estates in Pomerol and produces some of the most sought-after wines in the appellation. It is located in the far east of the Pomerol appellation and its vineyards border those of Château La Conseillante, Château Gazin and Château Cheval Blanc. Its 14.1 hectares of vineyards (Merlot 78%; Cabernet Franc 22%) lie on deep gravel beds pitted with sand and clay.
The wine is vinified traditionally, undergoing a lengthy cuvaison followed by maturation in oak barriques (40% new) for 16-20 months. L`Evangile has always been a top-class estate but quality has been pushed noticeably higher since Domaines Baron de Rothschild of Château Lafite acquired a majority shareholding in 1990.
The most widely planted grape in Bordeaux and a grape that has been on a relentless expansion drive throughout the world in the last decade. Merlot is adaptable to most soils and is relatively simple to cultivate. It is a vigorous naturally high yielding grape that requires savage pruning - over-cropped Merlot-based wines are dilute and bland. It is also vital to pick at optimum ripeness as Merlot can quickly lose its varietal characteristics if harvested overripe.
In St.Emilion and Pomerol it withstands the moist clay rich soils far better than Cabernet grapes, and at it best produces opulently rich, plummy clarets with succulent fruitcake-like nuances. Le Pin, Pétrus and Clinet are examples of hedonistically rich Merlot wines at their very best. It also plays a key supporting role in filling out the middle palate of the Cabernet-dominated wines of the Médoc and Graves.
Pomerol is the smallest of Bordeaux's major appellations, with about 150 producers and approximately 740 hectares of vineyards. It is home to many bijou domaines, many of which produce little more than 1,000 cases per annum.
Both the topography and architecture of the region is unremarkable, but the style of the wines is most individual. The finest vineyards are planted on a seam of rich clay which extends across the gently-elevated plateau of Pomerol, which runs from the north-eastern boundary of St Emilion. On the sides of the plateau, the soil becomes sandier and the wines lighter.
There is one satellite region to the immediate north, Lalande-de-Pomerol whose wines are stylistically very similar, if sometimes lacking the finesse of its neighbour. There has never been a classification of Pomerol wines.