Château Bellevue: Tasting & Drinking

Considering Château Bellevue’s recent history, and the famous names now associated with the estate, it may seem surprising that this estate was one of the many casualties of the St Emilion 2006 classification fiasco. This ill-fated review of the ranking system, which was followed by years of legal wrangling, was based on the tasting of ten vintages, starting with 1993 and ending with 2002. Most of the good work in recent years at this estate concerned ineligible vintages, and the estate was demoted based essentially on the wines of the pre-Thienpont and pre-Derenoncourt era. With the collapse of this new ranking, which had nothing to do with Château Bellevue but was the result of legal action brought by other demoted proprietors, this change was reversed, and the property held onto its ranking of grand cru classé. As I have already espoused in my profile, this decision was upheld when the classification was revisited in 2012.

Château Bellevue

My own opinion of the wines can sadly not make any comparison between the wines of the current era and the last one; my tasting experience only takes in very recent vintages. The wines are indeed good, but I find they follow the current tendency in St Emilion to focus on extraction, with the 2005 vintage a particular culprit. Other critics have raved about the wine, but taste is personal; for young Bordeaux to have any potential it must have a good tannic structure, but when the tannins dominate in the way that these do I have to question the balance of the wine.

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