Deep purple-black in color, the 2020 Beausejour (Duffau Lagarrosse) charges out of the glass with bold notions of plum preserves, wild blueberries and boysenberries, plus hints of dark chocolate, molten licorice, lavender and fennel seed, with a waft of Sichuan pepper. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers bags of juicy black and blue fruits with a soft texture and seamless freshness, finishing long and with beautiful purity.
(95-97) points, Wine Advocate (May 2021)
A blend of 81% Merlot and 19% Cabernet Franc, the 2020 Château Beausejour (Duffau-Lagarrosse) should end up being up with the top wines in the appellation. Showing the more straight, focused style of the vintage, it has a monster of a mid-palate, full-bodied richness, building tannins on the palate, and incredible minerality on the finish. Loaded with cassis fruit as well as lead pencil and graphite notes, this dense, powerful beauty almost requires a fork. It’s brilliant all the way and will have 30-40 years of longevity.
(95-97)+ points, JebDunnuck.com (May 2021)
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.