The 2019 vintage
After harvest 2019, a sweet euphoria began to set in: two exceptional vintages in a row… After 2015-2016, we hadn’t dared to hope for another duo of that stature in a decade.
Two vintages that were nonetheless so different from each other: where 2018 was sensual and exuberant, 2019 contrasted with its balance and precision. Almost polemical given how much questioning it prompted, as terroirs didn’t always behave as expected – and how wonderful that was, to continue to learn, year by year, from these soils and microclimates.
And then catastrophe hit. Fear and panic, the world over, as we were confronted with a pandemic that spared no one and that we still haven’t overcome. How to think about wine when so many certitudes, so many things we took for granted are called into question.
Luckily for the tens of thousands who depend on Bordeaux viticulture, the En Primeur campaign was able to take place. The wines charmed, an unexpected silver lining in a global context otherwise bleak and foreboding. The entire sector moved as one to adapt to the unprecedented situation: prices lowered appropriately, creative initiatives thought up to present these still-fragile wines for tasting around the world, flexibility, availability, responsiveness… The Bordelais grasped the stakes in play and acted accordingly.
As for the wine itself, how wonderful, in this context, to be able to offer a rich, deep Bélair-Monange that is true to its unique terroir, witness to a thrilling year of collaboration between our teams and a heritage that fascinates us more and more with each vintage.
Until we are able to enjoy this wine with friends a few years from now, here are some first impressions that have been published over the past few months:
Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker Wine Advocate, 96-98 pts: « Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2019 Belair Monange comes sashaying out of the glass with a graceful hair-toss of fragrant red roses, cinnamon stick, cardamom and cumin seed notes over a core of Morello cherries, dark chocolate, wild blueberries and blackberry pie plus a touch of pencil shavings. The medium to full-bodied palate is just scrumptious, offering layers of perfumed black fruits and bright floral sparks, framed by exquisitely ripe, satiny tannins and an invigorating line of freshness, finishing on a lingering aniseed note.»
Neal Martin, 96-98 pts, Vinous: « The 2019 Bélair-Monange, currently undergoing extensive renovation, was picked from 19 September to 3 October and matured in 50% new oak. It certainly leans upon red fruit on the nose with vivacious wild strawberry, cranberry and Morello scents, wonderful mineralité emerging with aeration. This really repays patience. Monitoring it over an hour it uncovers more black fruit - keeps you on your toes. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grain tannins and a sensual silky texture that belies the sheer depth of this Saint-Émilion. It fans out with abandon on the finish - just an outstanding wine that will offer drinkers many years of pleasure. »
James Suckling, 96-97 pts: « Tight and minerally with tar, currant, and wet-earth aromas and flavors. Medium-to full-bodied. Some salt and white pepper to the black fruit. Black olives, too. »
Jane Anson, Decanter, 97 pts: « Austerity is high as the limestone shines through, with controlled black and blue berry fruits rippling through the palate. There are extremely delicate redcurrant and violet floral edges that come through and cling on, just opening up after a good five minutes in the glass. A little less generous than the 2018, as is often the case in the 2019 vintage, but one with concentration and precision, and that will give pleasure for decades. Takes time to open and will take time to fully express its potential in the bottle. 50% new oak. Drinking Window 2027 - 2044. »
Antonio Galloni, Vinous, 95-97 pts: « The 2019 Bélair-Monange is classy, polished and elegant. In recent years Bélair-Monange has come across as a bit pushed in terms of ripeness, but the 2019 impresses with its sublime balance. Silky, racy and inviting, Bélair-Monange has so much to offer. It is wine that makes its case with finesse more than power. Christian Moueix chuckles that thirty years ago he was criticized for picking too early, but today it is the exact opposite. »
Mathieu Doumenge, Terre de Vins, 97 pts: « Dès le premier nez, verticalité et pureté aromatique s’imposent. Une fraîcheur calcaire et des notes florales viennent nuancer un fruit mûr et plein. Notes d’eucalyptus et de résine de pin. La bouche et énergique, vibrante, juteuse, dotée d’une belle tension. La matière est mûre et soyeuse mais propulsée par un terroir imparable. Très jolie définition de tanins, la trame acide tient le vin, l’ensemble est à la fois puissant et précis. Il est lui aussi promis à une très longue garde.