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Bordeaux 2020: Château Bellefont-Belcier et al

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

There are a number of properties in the Vignobles K portfolio, the group established by businessman Peter Kwok. Amongst the châteaux in St Emilion are Château Bellefont-Belcier, which occupies a super position just down the road from Château Pavie and Château Larcis-Ducasse, along with Château Tour St Christophe and Château Haut-Brisson. In Pomerol there are two properties, the tiny one hectare Enclos Tourmaline and the three hectare La Patache, and in neighbouring Lalande de Pomerol, there is Enclos de Viaud. In Castillon, the impressive Château Le Rey produces two styles from different parcels of vines, the unoaked Les Argileuses from the vines on clay and Les Rocheuses from the limestone soils. This is the first time I have tasted this Castillon and I was knocked out by the quality. In fact, across the board, this line up is impressive in 2020. It is undoubtedly led by Château Bellefont-Belcier which is the jewel in the crown, but all the wines displayed plenty of purity and fresh fruit qualities. There is an evident gentleness to the winemaking, and a plushness to the wines in the stable, notwithstanding differences in terroir and approach.

The following wines were tasted in April from samples sent to the UK.

Château Bellefont-Belcier, St Emilion Grand Cru Classe, 2020

Dark; purple at edge; legs; fresh plums and black cherry notes; deep and enticing; has wonderful freshness; nice sweet plum tones; very pure and emphasis on the fruit that sits above the oak nicely; had real tension in the mid palate which gives some amplitude to the wine. Has race and style. Plenty of plummy, black cherry scented fruit make this delicious but also substantial. The joyful nature of the fruit hides the structure. I’d expect great things from this in the medium term and it is already delicious. Really good stuff this year. Energy and life. [13.5ha, 70% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14.5% alc, pH 3.65, yield 37hl/ha, elévage 30% new oak, 20% foudres remainder split between first and second year barrels. Harvest September 15 – October 9.]. Drink 2026-2045. 94-95+

Château Tour Saint Christophe, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2020

Opaque and dense; colour tight to rim: sweet and ripe; some spicy oak lift but well integrated and layered; pent up to start with; little harder initially than Haut-Brisson with more evident structure; plenty of density and extract; quite serious to start with but should settle. Good length. Needs to integrate further obviously but has all the elements. In fact after an hour it opened up substantially and displayed plenty of fruit and extract with savoury tones and chocolate notes emerging. Promising stuff. [20ha, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.7% alc, pH 3.6, yield 37hl/ha, elévage 40% new oak, 40% one year and 20% two year-old barrels. Harvest from September 14-28.]. Drink 2024-2035. 91-93+

Château Haut-Brisson, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2020

Earth red purple at edge; deep looking; ripe and sweet; black fruits; ripe cherries; really deep; summer fruit pudding style; enticing and attractive; creamy cherry and plum notes too; very pure; opens up a treat; stylish nose; very pure but not jammy; plenty of matter on entry; some freshness too; black cherry; plums; black stone fruits; quite structured beneath this fruit; good texture on the palate; lots here; plenty of chew on the finish but doesn’t feel stewed; quite fresh on the finish. Very good. [18ha, 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 13.8% alc, pH 3.65, yield 32 hl/ha, elévage 35% new oak, 35% one year, 30% two year. Harvest from September 15 – October 9]. Drink 2023-2035. 90-92+

Enclos Tourmaline, Pomerol, 2020

Deep and dark; bright purple at edge; legs; healthy looking; creamy black fruits; plums; silky; whiff of dark chocolate; briary notes too; deep; bright fruit here; attractive; good entry; fine; nicely handled fruit and exemplary texture to the tannins; firm in some ways – very concentrated in the middle certainly; good tannins; nicely handled; finishes freshly with a twist. Very refined. Like to look at this down the track as I might be underrating it. Drink 2026-2040. [1 ha, 100% Merlot, 14.7% alc, pH 3.67, yield 32hl/ha, elévage 100% new oak. Harvest September 16.]. 92-93+

Château La Patache, Pomerol, 2020

Deep and dark; legs; earthy purple at edge; spicy aromatics; attractive Cabernet Franc notes; leafy; savoury too; attractive; some dark chocolate; blackcurrant and briary palate; bright fruit; lively and has freshness; little sap to the palate; not perhaps the silky qualities of Feytit-Clinet say – more gutsy in profile but works very well; bit of graphite on a fresh mineral finish. Very good balance. Has freshness, acidity and life alongside deep, briary fruits. Attractive Pomerol. [3.18ha, 14% alc, pH 3.78, yield 35 hl/ha, elévage 30% new oak, 70% one year. Harvest September 10-25.] Drink 2025-2040. 91-92+

Enclos de Viaud, Lalande de Pomerol, 2020

Deep; purple at edge; healthy looking; ripe plummy fruit; sweet and joyful; opens up in the glass nicely; attractive; blackcurrant fruit beneath; has layers here; like the spicy and briary fruit on the palate; very attractive and caressing; briary and blackcurrant fruit with plum tones; medium weight and nicely judged; not a whopper; or doesn’t feel it; actually has elegance; some sap on the finish but nicely balanced and integrated. I like this very much! Once again there are some excellent Lalande de Pomerol’s this year and this is undoubtedly one of them. Attractive stuff. Impressive. Emphasis on the bright summer fruits but this has intensity and layers. [3.18 ha, 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, pH 3.72, yield 36 hl/ha, elévage 10% new oak, 90% one year. Harvest September 24.] Drink 2023-2032. 91-93+

Château Le Rey, Les Argileuses, Parcelles 1&3, Castillon – Cotes de Bordeaux, 2020

Very deep; healthy at edge; purple; colour tight to rim; glossy; spices; ripe fruits; salty tang; some fruitcake spice; fine and sophisticated; real finesse here; palate glossy fruit; really nice freshness; spices and minerality; this is excellent; real race and drive; had elegance too. Opened up well and revealed more brambly, briary fruit tones – lush and lovely Castillon this. [12ha, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.6% alc, pH 3.40, yield 35 hl/ha, elévage cuves and amphoras, no oak. Harvest October 3]. Drink 2023-2032. 90-92+

Château Le Rey, Les Rocheuses, Parcelles 5&6, Castillon – Cotes de Bordeaux, 2020

Very deep; healthy at edge; purple; colour tight to rim; glossy; richer on the nose; more sweet plums and plum pudding notes; fragrant almost; lush and nicely done; opens up a treat in the glass; lovely fruit here; wonderfully layered; sweet entry; voluptuous wine; has structure beneath; spice and nicely done; beautiful fruit but nicely nimble on the palate. Soft and caressing on the finish. A wonder. Has depth and length and plenty of textured fruit. Brilliant wine. [12ha, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, 14.7% alc, pH 3.5, yield 35 hl/ha, elévage 20% new oak, 40% one year, 40% two year. Harvest date October 9]. Drink 2025-2040. 92-94+

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