1998 Chateau de Bellevue

Hello friends. We have a line today on a limited library parcel of perfectly-aged right-bank Bordeaux:

As I mentioned in our first Bordeaux offering, these are shark-infested waters, with incredibly over-priced wines at the high-end, and gag-reflex pokers at the low end. The only solution is to taste. A lot.

And one of the places I like to focus my tasting is on the “satellite” sub-appellations. Chateau Bellevue is in Lussac St-Émilion (see map; region #18). Lucky for us it’s not in St-Emilion proper (region #21), because then we’d have to pay for the branding weight that name carries. Instead, we get fifteen-year-old wine from next door at an approachable tariff.

This wine first hit my radar because Chateau Bellevue is one of only a handful of Bordeaux producers brought into the United States by the legendary Kermit Lynch. He has some incredible photos of the Chateau on his website, including a pair where Andre Chatenoud, the current proprietor, burns a bundle of wood down to coals and then uses those coals to grill some pretty tasty looking steaks.

I don’t recommend this, unless you too have a 10-foot-tall fireplace, but I do recommend the wine (and pairing with a more traditionally charcoal-grilled steak wouldn’t be a bad idea either). We’re on the right bank, so this is predominantly Merlot (95%), and it is just in a killer place right now.

The aromatics are a glorious, expressive pastiche of dried rose petal, dried cherry, and emerging black-truffle notes. The palate begins with lovely, pure, red cherry, and then transitions into an incredible mid-palate, plump and generous and loaded with earth. As we move into the finish, rustic Merlot tannins take over, with flavors of black tea and green tea. There is good finishing chew, but you can feel the tannins just beginning to loosen their grip. You could safely hold this for another 5-10 years if you like, but it’s awfully tough to resist right now, early in its peak drinking window.

We have access to what I believe is the only parcel we’ll see in western Washington, so I don’t expect this to be available for reorder. Please limit order requests to 6 bottles, and we’ll do our best to fulfill all requests. The wine should arrive in about a week, at which point it will be available for pickup or shipping during the autumn shipping window.

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