Peter Maude Fine Wines
2011, Château Belair-Monange, SAINT-ÉMILION, 1er Grand Cru Classé
Bordeaux Blend: Merlot, Cabernet Franc.
This was the last vintage that Belair Monange and Magdelaine were separate properties, and ironically this wine was made in the Magdelaine cellars because work was ongoing at Belair. This is a gorgeous wine with clear minerality and energy - a lyricism that shows the benefits of limestone in a dry year like 2011. The tannins are a little more angular than the 2010 but there's so much to enjoy in the softer raspberry and redcurrant flavours and peony edging. It's certainly beginning to open up for drinking, particularly if given a few hours in a carafe. 92 Jane Anson, Decanter (2019).
The 2011 Bélair-Monange has a very earthy, introspective bouquet, almost subdued compared to others, developing light minty aromas with time in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with very supple tannins, good fruit concentration with layers of blackberry, raspberry, fig and white pepper. Fine cohesion towards the finish, this conveys plenty of energy although it would benefit from a couple more years in bottle. Tasted blind at the annual 10-Year-On tasting. 93 Neal Martin, Vinous (2021).
It is amazing how things have turned around for this tiny jewel of a property adjacent to Chateau Ausone. Production has been cut back and the selection process has become deeply serious as just over 1,500 cases were produced in this vintage. The dense ruby/purple coloured 2011 offers gorgeous aromas of kirsch, crushed rock, raspberries and subtle oak are followed by a medium-bodied, concentrated mouthfeel that suggests low yields and impeccable winemaking. A star of the vintage, it should be forgotten for 4-5 years and drunk over the following two decades. 92+ Robert M. Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate (2014).
Drinking Window: 2022 - 2040