Chateau Belair-Monange 2018
Blend: 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Very intense blackberries, black olives, blueberries and dried flowers. Stony minerality. Even some pine. Full-bodied with superb depth of fruit and ultra fine tannins that are intense and polished. The finish is so long and delivers so much flavor, from wet earth to blackberry again. Seamless palate. Try after 2026.
An incredible expression of Merlot grown on limestone soils, the 2018 Château Belair-Monange (90/10 Merlot and Cabernet Franc) sports a dense purple hue as well as powerful notes of blackcurrants, kirsch liqueur, flowery incense, chalky minerality, and white truffle. Rich, full-bodied, and beautifully concentrated, it's a serious 2018 offering integrated oak, ripe yet building tannins, and one hell of a great finish. The finest vintage of this cuvée I've tasted, it's a wine to seek out and hide in the cellar for a good 5-7 years. It's going to evolve for 30-40 years.
Made from 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, the medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2018 Belair Monange rolls effortlessly out of the glass with gregarious scents of black cherry preserves, stewed plums and boysenberries, plus suggestions of Indian spices, rose oil, Ceylon tea and garrigue, with a waft of tilled soil. The rich, seductive, full-bodied palate is laden with black fruit preserves and exotic spice layers, framed by velvety tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and fragrant. Wonderfully hedonic and conceivably drinkable now, give it 4-5 years in the cellar to allow the earthy/savory nuances to fully emerge from within the fruit and drink it over the next 25 years or more.
Barrel Sample: 95-97
Hugely serious; still clearly extremely young. With a gorgeously ripped muscular frame, the fruit is multi-layered and multi-faceted. So much power, with autumnal blackberry and blueberry, soft mocha and coffee, and a clear limestone edge. Great stuff. Drinking Window 2026 - 2045
The 2018 Bélair-Monange, so impressive out of barrel, delivers now that it finds itself incarcerated by glass. It is endowed with a seriously impressive nose, delivering blackberry and still that faint warm brick/terracotta scent, shaved black truffle and a touch of clove. You could lose yourself completely in this bouquet. The palate has firmed up a little, displaying more backbone than I recall. The dash of cracked black pepper liberally sprinkled over the finish curiously bears similarities to some of the Pomerols this vintage, and the Cabernet Franc feels much more prominent than its 2% contribution to the blend would suggest. I adore this Saint-Émilion and it is going to benefit from 8–10 years in the cellar... if you can resist temptation that long.
Restrained style, with gently mulled currant and black cherry notes forming the core while hints of anise, applewood and sweet tobacco peek through on the finish. Long, fine chalky minerality extends the finish as the fruit plays out gracefully. Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2023 through 2036.
Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.
St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.
Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.
The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vineyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.
Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.