|Classification||4ème Cru Classé|
The 2020 Beychevelle opens with the most exotic bouquet imaginable. Wild flowers of all sorts, spice, lavender and inky dark fruit all saturate the palate. As always, Beychevelle is an overt, flamboyant wine, but all of the elements are so well out together. The 2020 is sexy, alluring and impossible to resist. Time in the glass brings out redder tonalities of fruit along with sweet floral notes that add striking inner perfume. Even as a barrel sample, I am so tempted to just drink it. Drinking range: 2030 - 2055 Rating: 94-96 Antonio Galloni, www.vinous.com (Jun 2021)
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Market Insight: With the 2016 now at £400 and the middle of the score range for the 2019, it looks like the market might correct to this benchmark pretty quickly. 2020 could spell an even higher grade with limited yields in Saint Julien.L&S (May 2021)
By comparison to the juicy, gregarious, fruit bomb that is Amiral de Beychevelle, Beychevelle itself is a coiled spring of a wine with a hair-trigger set to explode. But, this trigger is not going to be primed for at least ten years and this is because this wine is tense, firm, sour and combative. Mouth-watering and nervy with hints of mint on the finish, balancing the firm red fruit, this is a lovely wine with the sort of skinsy bitterness that I adore, but it is important to underline that you will have to like tanginess as much as I do to fall fully for this wine. Patience will reward you, but there will always be an underlying violet and sour cherry tang here so caveat emptor. Rating: 18+ Matthew Jukes www.matthewjukes.com (Jun 2021)
This Saint-Julien estate has produced wonderful wines from their new winery in recent years under head winemaker, the congenial Philippe Blanc. But my job is to tell it like it is and the truth is that all three bottles of the 2020 Beychevelle tasted from different sources, including one directly from the château and with different sample dates, left me scratching my head. It was picked from 14 September to 29 September and cropped at 47hl/ha. Initially, it has a backward and herbal nose, attractive black fruit with touches of tobacco and mulch, the latter turning slightly vegetal. The palate is medium-bodied with blackberries tinged with bay leaf and a touch of white pepper. However, the first bottle exhibited some unwanted green/stalky notes that poked out on the finish. It was less evident on the second bottle sent directly from the estate that was given 90 minutes' aeration. Unexpectedly a third bottle arrived, this taken from barrel later on 17 May. I was hoping it would disprove my findings, so I had it served blind. I picked it up again - just like the first. Now, maybe this will be assimilated during its élevage after all, I occasionally notice this trait on Brane-Cantenac and with time it becomes subsumed, even enhancing complexity. But because all three samples left me vexed, I will refrain from scoring this wine and revisit the bottle later on. The only thing I can promise is that I will tell you exactly what I find.Neal Martin, www.vinous.com (May 2021)
St Julien Quatrième cru 1855 Jean-Louis Nogaret de la Valette, the first Duke of Epernon, was a powerful man. He was an Admiral and the Governor of Guyenne under King Henri III and in deference to him, so it is said, ships passing his estate on the River Gironde would dip their sails - this "baisse-voile" (or "bacha velo" in the local Gascon tongue) became "Beychevelle", and accounts for the presence of a rather fanciful ship on the label. The griffon at the prow of said ship echos the griffon in Greek mythology who guarded Dionysus's wine goblet. The fine château was built in the 18th Century, extended in the 19th, and has recently been restored. The vineyards are 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot with a little each of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Wines are aged in wood for 18 months, with 50% of the barriques being new each year.
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