The gunsmoke character is immediately evident on the nose, as is richly expressed damson and raspberry fruit. This is pared back and held back right now, elegant, showing a seductive edge without trying too hard. The texture is softly-brushed velvet, these tannins are front and centre but so fine and so precise that they don't get in the way of the fruit. Salinity from the limestone is evident on the finish, bringing a moreish juiciness and you can scrape your tongue against the pumice stone texture. Austere in all the right ways, with just the most incredible depth and layers. I love it. Harvest September 15 to 23. 98-100. Drinking Window 2027 - 2050
(98-100) points, Decanter (May 2021)
It’s full-bodied, showing loads of violets, blackberries and blueberries with salt and white-pepper character. Minerally. It’s very fine-grained with a fascinating finish. Intense and long. 98% merlot and 2% cabernet franc.
(97-98) points, JamesSuckling.com (April 2021)
A quintessential Saint-Emilion, the 2020 Château Belair-Monange reveals a dense purple/plum color as well as classic Saint-Emilion minerality that covers lots of ripe black fruits, graphite, tobacco, and violet aromas and flavors. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and concentrated, you could almost eat it with a fork and yet it still stays light on its feet, has building, polished tannins, and a great finish. It's a brilliant wine in the making.
(96-98)+ 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.
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.