CHATEAU L'EVANGILE, Pomerol
Chateau L’Evangile, one of Pomerol’s finest estates, was purchased by Domaines de Rothschild, owners of Chateau Lafite, in 1999. New cellars were built in time for the 2005 vintage and an extensive replanting program was completed in 2018. Vineyard area totals 22 hectares, 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, farmed organically since 2007 and certified in 2015. At harvest the grapes from each plot are kept separate, enabling selection of only the best parcels for the Grand Vin.
Vinification takes place in 20, temperature-controlled cement vats ranging in size from 35 to 81 hectolitres. Chateau L’Evangile is aged in an average of 70% new, French oak barrels for around 18 months. Between 2000 and 3000 cases of the Grand Vin are made each year. There is a second wine, Blason de L’Evangile. L’Evangile is a full-bodied, rich, elegant, powerful, opulent, long-lived Pomerol style.
96-98/100 Robert Parker Jr.
As I have been predicting, the Rothschilds are pushing l’Evangile to the highest level of the Pomerol hierarchy. Composed of 88.8% Merlot and 11.2% Cabernet Franc, the 2010 achieved 14.7% alcohol naturally, making it one of the few 2010s with lower alcohol than its 2009 counterpart (the 2009 had 15% alcohol and the 2008 had 14.5%). Most of that is due to the superb ripeness and the high concentration of Merlot in 2010. The berries were extremely tiny and the drought and cool nights in August and September gave the 2010 a lower pH and higher acidity than the 2009. For example, the 2010's pH is 3.7, the 2009's is higher and in 2000 it was 4.0. The dense purple-colored 2010 exhibits massive levels of black raspberries, Asian plum sauce, truffles and cassis. The wine is unctuously textured and remarkably fresh with a weighty richness (much like the 2009) but greater delineation. A marvelous effort, it, along with the 2009, may turn out to be one of the two greatest wines made by l’Evangile. The 2010 should drink well young yet last for three decades or more.
Pomerol, on the Right Bank of Bordeaux’s Gironde River, produces some of the world’s most sought-after wines, including those from such storied properties as Chateau Petrus. Yet Pomerol, the smallest of the fine-wine-producing districts of Bordeaux, offers no Grand Cru or Premier Cru wines: It’s the most significant Bordeaux appellation not included in any quality ranking. At the time of the historic 1855 Classification of Bordeaux, Right Bank chateaux were considered remote and difficult to travel to, and so were ignored by the merchants who created the classification. (St. Émilion, a notable neighbour on the Right Bank, created its own classification system in 1954.)
Pomerol has managed to do quite well without this form of validation. Pomerol’s predominantly clay soil is ideally suited for Merlot, the primary grape used in the appellation. Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon are also included in Pomerol’s blended red wines. The wines of Pomerol are lush and rich, and generally not as tannic as the Cabernet-based wines of Bordeaux’s Left Bank. Although Pomerol’s very best wines are capable of aging for decades, most are made for immediate consumption. These Merlot-based wines are known for their lush texture, elegance and grace, as well as the softer tannins they offer in comparison to the Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines made elsewhere in Bordeaux.