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Château Bélair, which traces its origins back to Roman times, has long been considered one of the region’s very best crus. Établissements Jean-Pierre Moueix purchased the iconic Château in 2008 and renamed it Château Bélair-Monange. The name ‘Monange,’ in addition to its literal translation, ‘my angel,’ was the maiden name of Jean-Pierre Moueix’s mother, Anne-Adèle, the first Moueix woman to call Saint-Émilion her home.
Château Bélair-Monange combines the terroirs of the most privileged sites of the appellation: the limestone from the central plateau parcels, situated at the highest point of Saint-Émilion, offers freshness, minerality, and delicate, lingering aromatics, while the dense, blue clay of the south slopes provides intensity, length, and a unique elegance to the wines.
An important restructuring of the vineyard was initiated in 2008 immediately following the acquisition of the estate. Another wine embodying the inherent qualities of the vineyard – minerality, concentration of red berries, balance and length – subsequently emerged: ANNONCE DE BÉLAIR-MONANGE.
Produced in very limited quantities since the 2014 vintage, Annonce enjoys the same attention as the Grand Vin: meticulous vineyard work undertaken with respect for the environment followed by a manual harvest once the grapes have reached optimal maturity. Vinification takes place in concrete and stainless-steel vats, where maceration and extraction are gentle and measured in order to allow the fruit its highest expression. The wine is then aged in French oak barrels.
Although Annonce exhibits great charm in its youth, a few years of cellaring or a few hours of decanting will be largely rewarded.
PARKER 92 / 100
The 2014 Belair-Monange was a slightly perplexing wine when I tasted it from barrel, so I was intrigued to discover how it would perform now in bottle. It has what you might describe as a "straight-laced" bouquet: very direct and nicely delineated, albeit without the frills and nuances of some of the best Saint Emilion wines this vintage. There is an attractive wilted rose petal aroma that emerges with aeration, but I was seeking more intensity. The palate is better than the aromatics: silky smooth in texture, well-judged acidity, genuine depth and gentle grip in the mouth. There is tangible mineralité here, great focus with a sense of tension and "bite" towards the finish. I was probably being parsimonious with my score in barrel, although that is partly vindicated by the nose that needs to get its act together and match the potential of the palate. Let's see how this develops over the next few years.
WINESPECTATOR / JAMES SUCKLING 96 / 100
Extremely perfumed with rose aromas that turn to strawberries and citrus. Some stones, too. Full-bodied, yet reserved and ultra-refined. It goes on for minutes. Power with finesse.
Rene Gabriel rates this wine 19/20 points.