Red, For laying down

2018 Château Villa Bel-Air, Graves, Bordeaux

2018 Château Villa Bel-Air, Graves, Bordeaux

Red | For laying down | Code:  57330 | 2018 | France > Bordeaux > Graves | Cab.Sauvignon Blend | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 13.0 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

BBR

15.5/20

The Wine Advocate

89-91/100

Wine Spectator

89-92/100

Suckling

90-91/100

The Wine Advocate - This property was taken over by the Armand Ballande family in July 2017 but still relies on the historical network created by the Cazes family in France and overseas. Composed of 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc, the medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Villa Bel Air sings of black raspberries, blackberries and mulberries with touches of plum preserves, spice cake and cloves plus a waft of menthol. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is rich and spicy with impressive concentration and a firm yet plush backbone, finishing with great length.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown - 23/04/2019

Wine Spectator - A strong tobacco leaf note gives this a slightly rustic edge, with cherry and red currant paste flavors filling in behind. Grippy finish.—
J.M., Spectator 

Suckling - Some berry and walnut character and hints of orange peel. Medium body, fine tannins and a savory finish.
James Suckling 

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

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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