Unquestionably the greatest Beausejour-Duffau since the 1990, this property has made a strong comeback under the brilliant management of Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derenoncourt. One of St.-Emilion’s greatest terroirs, it has underperformed in most vintages, although it generally produces very interesting wines because of its location and old vines. The 2009 is a whopper. A blend of 77% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, with 14.8% natural alcohol, there is no hint of its aging in 100% new oak barrels given the extraordinary concentration and texture of the fruit. An inky/purple color is accompanied by a sumptuous bouquet of spring flowers, black truffles, wet rocks, blackberries, and black currants. The wine builds incrementally in the mouth with an ethereal lightness and precision that is unexpected in view of its massive concentration, power, and intensity. One of the vintage’s most compelling efforts, it should evolve for 30-40 years. Bravo! 96-98+/100 Robert Parker Jr.
Offers floral and licorice notes, with gorgeous fruit. Full-bodied, with supersilky tannins and a beautiful, very long finish. Very fine and racy. Really serious. Stéphane Derenoncourt is now consulting here and I expect great things. 93-96/100 Wine Spectator
Deep colour. Elemental and essence-like blackcurrant aromas with plump concentrated sweet fruit and chalky dry tannins. A very modern wine with an impressive tannin slick at the finish. 94-96/100 Andrew Caillard, MW Langton's
St.-Émilion is the star of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, north of the Dordogne River. The rich red wines produced in St.-Émilion, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are less tannic and generally more fruit-driven in flavour than the Cabernet-based wines of Left Bank. Merlot thrives on the plateaus high above the Dordogne, where the soil is filled with sand and clay, a perfect medium for creating opulent, fruit-forward wines. With a typically savoury character, St.-Émilion wines are sometimes called the “Burgundies of Bordeaux.” These refined reds, with loads of finesse, are elegant companions to beef, chicken, pork and duck.
The wines of St.-Émilion were not included in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, which ranked wines of the Left Bank. In 1955, St.-Émilion published its own classification, based on soil analysis, wine quality and reputation of the properties. Unlike the 1855 classification, St.-Emilion’s system requires properties to continuously prove themselves. The list is revised regularly, most recently in 2012. There are two tiers within the classification, Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé. There are currently just 18 Premier Grand Cru properties and 64 Grand Cru Classé properties.
The St.-Émilion appellation is home to hundreds of individual producers, enhancing the variety of wines made there. Many of the properties remain small, family-run enterprises, unlike the large châteaux of the Left Bank. The area is also the base of France’s controversial micro-châteaux or garagiste wine movement; these innovative winemakers operate outside the traditional classification system, making very high quality (and very expensive) highly extracted wines.