The modern era of Chateau Beychevelle is defined by Managing Director & Chief Winemaker Philippe Blanc who joined in 1995
Chateau Beychevelle is a Bordeaux great. The Saint-Julien grand classic is a wine of intensity and persistence in the best – and overlooked – vintages and never heavy, thick or overly concentrated. Freshness is a hallmark. The modern era of Beychevelle is defined by Managing Director & Chief Winemaker Philippe Blanc who joined just before the harvest in 1995. This tasting took place on 10 May 2022.
Eric Boissenot (left) has been wine consultant to Chateau Beychevelle since the 1996 vintage (his 150 clients include Lafite, Mouton, Latour and Margaux)
The tasting of the 27-vintage vertical took place on 10 May 2020
Scented. Floral, violets. Ripe blueberry/blackcurrant fruit and a hint of vanilla. Sweetness of fruit and richness of tannins. Wonderful hallmark Beychevelle freshness.
As rich as 2018 (next wine) but with silkier tannins. Very fine. Harmonious and seamless, the transition from fruit to tannins to freshness. Motoring equivalent: a driver changing gear without the passenger feeling it.
Sweetness of blackcurrant fruit. Just as the fruit is ripe, the tannins are equally rich. Persistence of fruit and tannins.
Ripe blue/black fruit that is still very primary and with succulent tannins. Very vivacious.
A somewhat overlooked vintage. There was some problem with mildew in June and also a devastating hail storm that same month in northern Médoc which reduced yield considerably. Chateaux that waited and harvested during the Indian summer into October made excellent wine including – on of the best – Beychevelle. Lively blueberry/curranty fruit. Silky tannins. Suave freshness. Very elegant. A great success.
Bright, lifted black fruit and rich tannins bolstered by epic freshness. Dense and intense. An atom of a wine that is taut and tensioned.
The whiff of sandalwood and tobacco announces that this 17-year old has entered its secondary plane. The blue/black fruit shows a lot of freshness.
Sandalwood, tobacco, leather and blackcurrant cassis. Lovely freshness and silky tannins. Very harmonious and elegant. Less powerful but more charming than 2000.
Whiff of mint and tabacco. Power and concentration. Persistence of fruit accompanied by rich tannins. Long finish.
Sandalwood, mint, leather and aged tobacco. A soft sweetness. This vintage reaffirms that it is one of the greatest Beychevelles!
Violets and blackcurrant cassis. Rich, ripe fruit and suave tannins. An incredible success for a very challenging vintage.
Blueberries and blackcurrants carried by rich, ripe tannins and signature Beychevelle freshness.
Blue and black fruit with a slice of peppery capsicum. Rich tannins bolstered by freshness.
Ripe, silky blue/black fruit matched by rich tannins. The freshness is quite round.
Vibrant fruit that is still youthful and slightly tight and a bit closed. Very fresh.
Ripe, rich fruit that is a bit singed and a touch austere on the finish. A heat-wave year, the evolution is also more advanced.
Intense toasty blackberry fruit with a tobacco aspect. Very rich tannins. Very fresh.
Hint of camphor intermingle with blue/black fruit. A soft sweetness. The tannins have some richness and the finish is very fresh.
Rich, powerful and smoky. As with 2009, another heatwave vintage. The tannins are a touch dry and austere. Having said that, Beychevelle is fresher than most other 2003s.
Overshadowed by 2001 and 2000, this overlooked vintage delivers great value. Beychevelle produced a wine that has lots of energy and freshness. Medium-plus-ish fruit showing blackcurrant, tobacco and leather.
Sandalwood, mint, cassis-ish, leather, tobacco and lots of freshness. Evolved. Tannins a touch austere on the finish.
Blue/blackberry fruit with a gentle grip of tannins on the finish. Although a lighter vintage, the fruit has some persistence. Very fresh.
Delicate, soft, silky red fruit with elegant tannins and freshness. Harmonious. Medium-bodied.
Blackcurrant and blackberries with robust tannins that are a bit edgy.
A vintage that is drinking deliciously. Tobacco, leather and autumn leaves. Light, balanced and fresh.
Very tight and closed. Difficult to assess. Accordingly, no score given.
Philippe Blanc informed the bottle was oxidised and not representative of the wine’s true quality. I had detected the strong aroma of soya sauce. He asked if another bottle be taken from the cellar. As dinner was to follow the tasting – and other guests were going to arrive – I declined the offer. No score given.