2021 Château Villa Bel-Air, Graves, Bordeaux

2021 Château Villa Bel-Air, Graves, Bordeaux

Product: 20211016226
Prices start from £120.00 per case Buying options
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2021 Château Villa Bel-Air, Graves, Bordeaux

Description

Merlot 50%, Cabernet Sauvignon 40%, Cabernet Franc 10%

This 43-hectare family-owned estate sits on a gravel brow surrounded by forest, with most vines on one continuous block. There has been a move away from chemicals in the vineyard in recent years; 2021 was the first vintage produced under HVE-3 certification. Stéphane Derenoncourt and team consult here. The wine is juicy and medium bodied with plenty of red and wild berry fruits. The tannins are smooth and refined, and there is a gentle burst of freshness leading to a plump blueberry finish. This is very open and approachable. Drink 2024-2032.

Our score: 15.5/20

Berry Bros. & Rudd, April 2022

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Available by the case In Bond. Pricing excludes duty and VAT, which must be paid separately before delivery. Find out more.
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Case format
Availability
Price per case
12 x 75cl bottle
Berry Bros. & Rudd BB&R 18 cases £120.00
En Primeur Limited availability
En Primeur Limited availability
24 x 37.5cl half bottle
Berry Bros. & Rudd BB&R 30 cases £138.00
En Primeur Limited availability
En Primeur Limited availability
6 x 150cl magnum
Berry Bros. & Rudd BB&R 12 cases £132.00
En Primeur Limited availability
En Primeur Limited availability

Critics reviews

James Suckling90-91/100
Jane Anson88/100
James Suckling90-91/100

A medium-bodied red with crushed-stone and currant aromas and flavors. Good tannin balance.

James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (May 2022) Read more

Jane Anson88/100

Measured if a little subdued on the opening, but there is clean citrus, sappy and bright overall, a touch soft through the mid palate but unfussy and easy to drink.

Drink 2022 - 2026

Jane Anson, janeanson.com (May 2022) Read more

About this WINE

Chateau Villa Bel-Air

Chateau Villa Bel-Air

Château Villa Bel-Air is located in the Southern part of Graves, in the parish of Saint-Morillon, near La Brède. Villa Bel-Air's buildings have been listed as part of France's historical monuments and are a perfect illustration of the French Revolution period.

In 1988, the Cazes family, already owners of Châteaux Lynch-Bages and Les Ormes de Pez, bought Villa Bel-Air. Jean-Michel Cazes undertook an important programme of restoration and enlisted Daniel Llose (General Technical Manager for the Cazes family) and Guy Delestrac to improve the vineyards. The old parcels of land, which had been pulled out, were replanted and the property was equipped with a new drainage system.

The production at Villa Bel-Air is done with great care and the wines are traditionally fermented in stainless steel. After blending, the wines are oak aged for 12 to 15 months and each barrel is racked every three months. The wines produced are supple, elegant, well balanced and display luscious tannins.

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Graves

Graves

Graves is the region which first established Bordeaux's wine reputation. Its wines were exported to England as early as the 12th century and Samuel Pepys drank Ho Bryan (sic) in London on 10th April, 1663.

The names Graves is derived from ‘gravel’ and the best soils are gravel-rich, mixed with sand and occasionally clay. Graves is larger in areas than the Médoc but produces only half the amount of wine. The best wines of Graves were initially classified in 1953 with this classification being confirmed in 1959.

Until 1987, this entire region, which runs immediately south of the city of Bordeaux until it reaches Sauternes, was known as the Graves and its entirety is still sometimes informally referred to as such, but from the 1986 vintage a new communal district was created within Graves, based on the districts of Pessac and Léognan, the first of which lies within the suburbs of the city.

Pessac-Léognan has the best soils of the region, very similar to those of the Médoc, although the depth of gravel is more variable, and contains all the Classed Growths of the region. Some of its great names, including Ch. Haut-Brion, even sit serenely and resolutely in Bordeaux's southern urban sprawl.

The climate is milder than to the north of the city, and the harvest can occur up to two weeks earlier. This gives the best wines a heady, rich and almost savoury character, laced with notes of tobacco, spice and leather. Further south, the soil is sandier with more clay, and the wines are lighter, fruity and suitable for earlier drinking.

Recommended Châteaux

Ch. Haut-Brion, Ch. la Mission Haut-Brion, Ch. Pape Clément, Ch. Haut-Bailly, Domaine de Chevalier, Ch. Larrivet Haut-Brion, Ch. Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Ch. La Garde, Villa Bel-Air.

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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.

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