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Château Belgrave


Address: 33112 St Laurent du Médoc

Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 59 40 62


Château Belgrave produces reliable and pretty sophisticated Haut-Médoc at a keen price. Bought by the house of Dourthe in 1979 there has been continuous investment over the past thirty years at this fifth growth estate. Recently Alain Thiénot has taken a controlling interest in Dourthe parent CVBG. Michel Rolland advises. Recent wines [2000, 2005, 2009 & 2010] Château Belgrave shows real quality and sophistication, and earlier vintages in the 1990s offer a lot of flavour, especially 1996 which is a great success and now drinking beautifully. Generally Belgrave is pretty accessible at a young age but develops complexity in bottle – attractive warm savoury characters with tobacco and spice as well as chocolate and mocha tones associated with the large percentage of Merlot in the blend and the use of oak. That said the 2000 has shut down and looks like it will need another five years to show its class. Certainly Belgrave is a good buy and, as it’s amongst the cheapest classed growths, you feel more inclined to drink it rather than simply admire it in the wine rack. 2009 and 2010 [especially] look excellent here. 

Vineyard/Terrior: 60 hectares of vines in a single bloc on deep gravel with a limestone sub-soil. Vineyard comprises 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. Biological pest control introduced in the vineyard and sustainable viticulture. Green-harvest and vine stripping – sunrise side in June and sunset side in August. Hand-picked harvest into small trays sorted in the vineyard and the chateau.

Winemaking/Elevage: 33 stainless steel vats with temperature control designed for plot by plot fermentation with 6 wooden vats. Part matured on lees and between 12-15 months in oak.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Deep and arterial colour; nice depth; tight to rim; creamy and sophisticated nose; lots of blackcurrant and cassis notes; very serious and inky; palate tight with oak influence; intensity here and plenty of tightly wound fruit; very Cabernet influenced stylistically. Pure. Nicely extracted, not overdone. Good length. Excellent Belgrave. [74% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 50% new oak, 13.5%]. Drink 2023-2032. Tasted UGCB 5/4/16. 89-91+
  • 2014 Deep and saturated look; tight to the rim; nice creamy blackcurrant on the nose; pure; spicy and deep; coffee notes; tight and focused palate; nice oak; elegant blackcurrant fruit again; extract and nicely proportioned. Good effort. 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. 40% new oak. Drink 2020-2030. Tasted UGC 31 March, 2015. 88-90+
  • 2013 Deepish; purple at edge; earthy note; some creamy plum tones with blackcurrant notes; quite pure on the nose; dense and chewy on the palate with good-ish material; perhaps a little foursquare but will be ok. Fraction short on the finish. [70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot]. Drink 2018-2025. Tasted UGCB April 2014. 85-87
  • 2012 Deep and dense; thick; integrated nose with some layers; some jam and spice; earthy note; palate quite rich but lots of oak and oak tannin. Not caressing. Tannins at the end. Overall dry, oaky finish. A disappointing showing. UGC Tuesday April 9, 2013. 84-86? Drink 2018-2025
  • 2011 Deep-ish; fresh blackcurrant tones; quite chewy and tannic palate, puckering [perhaps the acid more than the tannin?]. Very chewy and puckering on the finish. This is usually a good value property and the wine should settle but I think you’d be much better off looking elsewhere in the meantime [maybe to their 2009 or 2010?]. Disjointed currently and several steps backwards from primeurs. Drink 2016-2021. 84 UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated colour; tight to the edge; vibrant looking; nice pure and creamy blackcurrant notes, purity here and some minerals and traces of stone fruit; polished fine nose; palate has fruit, cassis and blackcurrants, clear and fresh; structure too and lots of acid but nice blackcurrant fruit and sap. Nothing vegetal here. Very good effort. Tasted UGC. 88-90 Drink 2018-2025
  • 2010 Deepish colour; legs; blackcurrant purity with chocolate hints; quite plump; very attractive aromatics; pure palate with elegance and harmony but also plenty of extract and matter. Mid-weight and well judged in the cellar. Excellent Bordeaux. Complete. Finest recent Belgrave? Drink 2015-2030. 91+ MW Institute Nov ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated; cassis, black cherry and plum notes on the nose; depth of fruit with also a silk and spice note; real purity here; ripe and rich palate with lots of flavour and fruit, grip and structure; really fruit loaded; dips a fraction but nice chew and grip with good length. 90/100 UGC Oct ’12 [Earlier] Deep and saturated; plumy and deep, a sumptuous quality here; some oak too; palate ripe and rich; good attack and some velvet before the tannins. Will be good. Rich wine. Actually in this company, and for 2010, quite sumptuous. Good depth and richness with tannin and grip 88-90+/100 Tasted 5 April 2011 at UGC. [Second tasting] Deep and black; creamy cassis and blackcurrant; some oak too; thick but palate good; cream and blackcurrants with depth. Chewy and with grip but plenty of material here. 88-90/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 at UGC Drink 2018-2030+
  • 2009 Deep and saturated; resin, chocolate, stones, some dust; ripe blackcurrants on the palate; very good fruit; some extraction and plenty of life and sap on the palate. Very good overall but needs time. 2016-2030 90+ MW Institute Nov ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and dark; ripe and deep nose; less immediately sexy and overt than Cantemerle but that’s relative; lots of blackcurrant fruit; open and plush palate; velvet quality here but with extract and intensity too. Grippy and tannic on the finish suggests real lasting power with lots of puppy fat. As good if not better than the lovely 2005 here. 91+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Deep inky purple; legs and concentrated colour, tight to rim; sweet and seductive nose; very tight and professional; some cedar, violets; lots of extract on the palate but wonderfully supple and polished. Some coffee and mocha from the Merlot and the oak. Very good wine. As good if not better than the super ’05 here. An estate that is going from strength to strength. Should be super value. 92+/100 Tasted 30th March 2010. Drink now – 2030+
  • 2008 Mid depth; cream, earth and development; blackcurrant notes; some depth here; chalkiness; plum and spice; nice grip on the palate; maybe lacks a bit of depth ultimately and a little loose on the finish. 86 MW Institute Nov ’12 [Earlier] Quite deep and dark; creamy, intense and pretty rich on the nose; some figs and blackcurrants; palate quite lush with blackcurrants and cassis and some plummy Merlot. Good extract and grip. Good effort at this great value estate. 88+/100 Drink now-2020 UGC Oct ’10
  • 2007 Mid red; some toffee; not knockout nose; resin; some coffee; structure evident but lacks concentration; feels hollow; some grip at the end 84/100 MW Institute Nov ’11 [Earlier] Mid-red; some depth; stone elements; quite minerally; palate has some softness and texture but lacks mid-palate richness. 84/100 Drink now-2019 UGC Oct ’09
  • 2006 Mid red, some development at the edge; sweet strawberries, ripe and attractive nose; some depth with added warmth from oak, reasonably good intensity; blackcurrants and ripeness here, lots of extract, a little overdone possibly as the tannins feel a little dry and austere. Feels slightly overplayed. Time will tell if settles. 86-88?/100 Drink now-2020. MW Institute Nov ’10.
  • 2005 Deep red black; wonderfully creamy, ripe nose with blackcurrants and plums; deep and open; palate similarly easy yet with good concentration and lots of pure cassisfruit. Seductive. 90/100 May ‘09 Drink now -2025+
  • 2000 Dark red black; quite dumb, feels a little shut down; two hours in the decanter revealed a wine of good body and grip but the flavours are subdued. This needs time to emerge from its shell. Developing more slowly than expected. 88/100 Nov ‘09 [Earlier note] Dark; black at centre; legs; substantial beefy, tarry nose, real meaty quality here with good ripeness; chunky, chewy palate with lots of extract and concentration. Ripe chunky tannins. Needs five years to break out the more savoury characters and for the tannins to mellow. Very good 89+/100 Mar ‘05 Drink 2015-2025+
  • 1997 Dark red; firm, clean nose of blackcurrant. Palate reasonably intense and focused considering the vintage. 85/100 Dec 03 Drink now.
  • 1996 Black red, some maturity; oak, tobacco and mocha – chocolate and blackcurrant on the palate. Quite soft. Will age for a further 2-5 years – peaking in 2010. Very attractive. 89/100 April ‘07. Drink now – 2020
  • 1994 Dark at centre, red at edge; tobacco, earthy nose; sturdy; quite attractive. Olives, blackcurrants and tobacco on palate; gutsy; meaty extract; dry tannins and an element of coarseness here but will probably round out [a ’94 problem]. Little short on finish. Good. 87+/100 Aug ‘03. Drink now

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