Christian Moueix and his son, Edouard, must be extraordinarily proud of what they have achieved in just a few years after taking over this property (previously known as Belair) that had been so mismanaged and underexploited by its previous owners. Yields were cut to 13 hectoliters per hectare in 2009, and this great terroir has finally revealed its true potential. Tasting like a liqueur of crushed rocks intermixed with raspberry jam and kirsch, the full-bodied, elegant 2009 is a quintessential example of a true terroir wine. Forget it for 5-7 years and drink it over the following three decades. 94-96+/100 Robert Parker Jr.
Chateau Belair-Monange has a very interesting history. Apparently it was mooted as a First Growth in the 1855 Bordeaux Classification. Politics and travel time to the property conspired against it. Consigned to the bottom drawer, it is in the process of re-invention. I would imagine this wine will become more prominent in future years. It is deep in colour with intense mulberry/praline aromas, sweet fleshy fruit, mocha nuances and chocolaty tannins. Elemental, powerful and concentrated, it definitely has plenty of potential. 92-94/100 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.
Chateau Belair-MonangePreviously known as Chateau Belair, the name was changed to Belair-Monange upon its full purchase by the Moueix family in 2008. The 12 ha vineyard is planted predominately to Merlot with some Cabernet Franc growing on limestone and clay soils. A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, the wine is fermented in stainless steel and lined concrete tanks prior to undergoing maturation in a mix of new and seasoned barriques for 18 months. A philosophy encompassing reduced yields, later harvesting and meticulous fruit selection have resulted in a richer more generous, concentrated style since 2008.