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2009 Bellevue

2009 Bellevue

93 RP

Featured Review
Made under the guidance of Hubert du Bouard, this blend of primarily Merlot and a tiny dollop of Cabernet Franc (around 9%) from the limestone soils on the hillsides of St.-Emilion exhibits a dense purple color, lots of chalky minerality and a big, sweet perfume of boysenberries, blackberries, licorice and burning embers. It is full-bodied and opulent with an abundance of fruit, glycerin, power and silkiness. Some tannins lurking in the finish suggest a half dozen years of cellaring will be required. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2035. Robert Parker

Robert Parker | 93 RP

Critic Reviews

Blackberry, with spices such as nutmeg and cloves follow through to a full body and fine tannins, with sweet fruit. Balanced and delicious. Best in 2017.

James Suckling | 93 JS
Made under the guidance of Hubert du Bouard, this blend of primarily Merlot and a tiny dollop of Cabernet Franc (around 9%) from the limestone soils on the hillsides of St.-Emilion exhibits a dense purple color, lots of chalky minerality and a big, sweet perfume of boysenberries, blackberries, licorice and burning embers. It is full-bodied and opulent with an abundance of fruit, glycerin, power and silkiness. Some tannins lurking in the finish suggest a half dozen years of cellaring will be required. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2035.

Robert Parker | 93 RP
Big, deep fruit, smoky tannins, but beautifully integrated, rich, packed with plum juice sweetness.

Wine Enthusiast | 93 WE
The 2009 Bellevue is conspicuously deeper in colour than its peers with less ageing on the rim. The bouquet is quite generous with scents of Indian ink and blue fruit infusing the intense red fruit aromas, hints of sandalwood and sage emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with supple, quite saturated tannin, and the acidity well judged. A very sweet, almost Châteauneuf-like finish detracts from typicity. This is a thoroughly enjoyable Bordeaux, but not intellectual. Tasted blind at Farr Vintners’ 2009 Bordeaux tasting.

Vinous Media | 91 VM
Plush, with linzer torte and cassis flavors harnessed by a plum skin frame, while sweet spice and toasted apple wood notes flesh out the finish. Drink now through 2019. 1,500 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 90 WS

Wine Details for 2009 Bellevue

Type of Wine Bordeaux Red : Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend : The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.

For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.

France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.

France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.


Producer Chateau Bellevue : The old adage suggests that fine wine only gets better with time. The same can be said of the quality of production at Chateau Bellevue. This Right Bank property, coined the Petrus of Saint Emilion, has experienced a 21st century rebirth. Bellevue is in possession of some of the greatest terroir in the appellation. Interestingly, the estate has ties to the Ancient Romans who understood the importance of the soil and exploited its qualities while first cultivating the land in the 4th century.

Staring with the 2000 vintage, Bellevue has experienced a complete turnaround in quality, presentation and reputation. The dynamic and rock star duo of Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derencourt were hired to help elevate the quality of wine deserving of its grand terroir. These world-renown Bordeaux consultants brought with them a positively charged attitude and understanding of terroir. Thienpont, whose family were the first to recognize the potential in the outlying hills of the Saint Emilion area, needs no introduction; the Thienpont name is synonymous is success. Derencourt, with his exceptional understanding of terroir, reinforced the idea that wine should be a reflection of its origin. He insists, “Humankind comes and goes but soil remains…” which couldn’t be more fitting for Chateau Bellevue. The 2000 vintage was the first in ages showing how good Bellevue could be.

The estate’s path towards greatness would widen when Hubert de Bouard purchased a 50% stake and was handed the reins. The new shot-caller was no novice in resurrecting properties. He successfully transformed the property of Chateau Angelus, which prior to his arrival was underperforming and undeserving of it tremendous terroir. He instituted top to bottom renovations for the wine-making facilities, chateau and vineyards of Chateau Bellevue. These changes breathed life into the estate, reviving its reputation. The revival became evident on the label itself, which was updated to represent the changes in the vineyard and chateau.

The 6-hectare vineyard is located on the Saint Emilion Plateau and thrives in ancient terroir composed of clay and limestone soils. Ancient Roman ruins are found throughout the soil; evidence of their contribution to not only Bellevue but to the entire appellation. The ruins are protected by French law and cannot be disturbed, making it difficult to plant in certain areas. The vineyard is planted to 100% Merlot which thrives in its natural landscape. The limestone caverns beneath the chateau and vineyard testify to the estate’s antiquity.

Production for Chateau Bellevue is quite limited at 1,500 cases annually. The wine will reveal its true potential after 8-10 years of bottling and will reach its peak maturity between 10-22 years after the vintage. The estate produces a second wine named La Caze Bellevue.

Chateau Bellevue is a testament to the cognizant ideal of Stephane Derencourt, “Establishing an ethos for wine production adapted to the vineyard itself enables the grower to produce grapes capable of revealing true character, unique wines that recount their history.”

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