Chateau L'Evangile 1994
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The property was known as “Fazilleau” until the mid 18th century, and soon after, became famous under its present denomination “Chateau L’Evangile”. The 35 acres vineyard is grouped around the Chateau on clay-based gravel. By one of those curious mysteries of Bordeaux soil, a long strip of gravel appears in the middle of the Pomerol Plateau, mixing with the local clay. The wines of this soil have been well known since the poet Ausonius sang their praise. The vines, on average, are 30 years old. Indeed Blason de L’Evangile, the second label of Chateau L’Evangile, is selected from vats of the “Grand Vin” Chateau L’Evangile, it features characteristics similar to those of the “Grand Vin”, but with lesser potential for ageing as its ageing in barrels is much shorter. Its name comes from the former owners who used their emblem. It must be drunk younger than its more robust counterpart. The Léglise family from Libourne founded the property that was to become Chateau L’Évangile. They were actively involved, around the middle of the 18th century, in the creation of Pomerol’s vineyards. L’Évangile appeared in the 1741 land registry under the name of Fazilleau.
At the turn of the 19th century, the estate was already close to its current configuration, stretching over some 13 hectares, when it was sold to a lawyer named Isambert. He renamed the estate “L’Évangile”. In 1862, L’Évangile was purchased by Paul Chaperon, whose descendants, the Ducasse family, remained the property’s owners until 1990. Paul Chaperon continued to build the estate’s reputation and constructed L’Évangile’s residence in the style of the Second Empire. In the second edition of Cocks Féret in 1868, L’Évangile is listed as a “Premier Cru du Haut-Pomerol”.
Upon the death of Paul Chaperon in 1900, his descendants ran the estate until 1957, when Louis Ducasse took over the property, which was by then in decline and had been damaged by the frost in 1956. He managed to replant the vineyard and eventually restored L’Évangile to its former glory. In 1982, his widow, Simone Ducasse, continued the family’s role in running the estate.
In 1990, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) acquired L’Évangile from the Ducasse family with a view to ensuring that the property was looked after to the same high standard. DBR (Lafite)’s initial influence included a more refined selection of the Grand Vin, and the creation of Blason de L’Évangile as a second wine. Efforts were also undertaken to improve the vineyard with a restoration and partial renewal plan that was launched in 1998. The complete renovation of the vat room and the cellar, which was finished in 2004, completed the property’s new configuration.
A source of exceptionally sensual and glamorous red wines, Pomerol is actually a rather small appellation in an unassuming countryside. It sits on a plateau immediately northeast of the city of Libourne on the right bank of the Dordogne River. Pomerol and St-Émilion are the stars of what is referred to as Right Bank Bordeaux: Merlot-dominant red blends completed by various amounts of Cabernet Franc or Cabernet Sauvignon. While Pomerol has no official classification system, its best wines are some of the world’s most sought after.
Historically Pomerol attached itself to the larger and more picturesque neighboring region of St-Émilion until the late 1800s when discerning French consumers began to recognize the quality and distinction of Pomerol on its own. Its popularity spread to northern Europe in the early 1900s.
After some notable vintages of the 1940s, the Pomerol producer, Petrus, began to achieve great international attention and brought widespread recognition to the appellation. Its subsequent distribution by the successful Libourne merchant, Jean-Pierre Mouiex, magnified Pomerol's fame after the Second World War.
Perfect for Merlot, the soils of Pomerol—clay on top of well-drained subsoil—help to create wines capable of displaying an unprecedented concentration of color and flavor.
The best Pomerol wines will be intensely hued, with qualities of fresh wild berries, dried fig or concentrated black plum preserves. Aromas may be of forest floor, sifted cocoa powder, anise, exotic spice or toasted sugar and will have a silky, smooth but intense texture.
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, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.
In the Glass
Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.
Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.
While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.