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.
From the very first moment your nose approaches the glass you know something special is happening. Seductive, rich, mouth-filling to the point that you really understand what that means. Just pops out of your mouth, with evident density of luscious blackberry and brambled raspberry fruit but also vertical climb through the palate. Violet notes marry with baked earth, grilled liquorice, tension and seduction. Highest level of Cabernet Franc in the blend in recent history, and first time that they have used all of the Cabernet Franc available in the vineyard - also first time to have this touch of Cabernet Sauvignon since the Rothschilds arrived at the property. Have I tasted a better l'Evangile? Certainly not at this stage, and one of the very few wines in 2019 that I can say without question approaches a perfect score. I don't give 100s at En Primeur but this is off the scale delicious, and I already can't wait to taste it in bottle. 98-100. Drinking Window 2027 - 2050.
98-100 points, Jane Anson, Decanter, June 2020.
The 2019 L'Evangile is composed of 83.5% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Franc and 0.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested from the 13th of September to the 3rd of October. The alcohol comes in at 14.6%. Deep garnet-purple coloured, the nose hits the ground running with opulent scents of ripe black cherries, dried mulberries, baked plums and warm blueberries plus hints of candied violets, liquorice, molten chocolate and wild sage with just a drop of hoisin. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is wonderfully concentrated with seductive layers of exotic spice-laced black fruit preserves and a velvety texture, finishing long and with just enough freshness. Tantalizingly moreish!
“In Pauillac, we will discuss whether 2018 or 2019 is better. In Pomerol, I think 2019 is better,” Lafite Rothchild technical director Eric Kohler told me. “All the Cabernet Franc was very good this year. It all went into the grand vin. For the first time at L’Evangile, we have a little Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend. It is not much, but the two barrels of Cabernet Sauvignon we have are spectacular. I would love to have 5% to 10% in the blend in the future. Now, it is just a trial. It was planted in 2015, but even after five years, the result is incredible! We are confident there is an important place for Cabernet Sauvignon in L’Evangile in the future. The Cabernet Sauvignon is more regular than the Cabernet Franc in its results. Cabernet Franc is very interesting, but in terms of viticulture, it is very sensitive.”
96-98 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, June 2020.
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.