Chateau Beychevelle Saint Julien 2016

Chateau Beychevelle Saint Julien 2016

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During the reign of Henri III, Beychevelle was the fief of the Dukes of Épernon, including the first of that name, Jean-Louis Nogaret de La Valette, an admiral in the French navy. According to legend, ships passing in front of his château lowered their sails as a sign of allegiance to this powerful man. In fact, the name Beychevelle comes from the Old French "Baisse-Voile", meaning “lowered sails”, as reflected in the château’s emblem. This depicts a ship with a griffin – the guardian of Dionysos’ wine crater in Greek mythology – on the prow. The Estate had many owners through the early parts of its history. The estate was essentially a money pit. Finally in 1875 the estate was purchased by Armand Heine. His American wife was from Louisiana and he felt she would appreciate the estate overlooking a large river and remind her of home. Ayma Achille-Foud purchased the estate in 1970 and eventually took partners. Today Chateau Beychevelle is owned by Grands Millésimes de France, which is part of the Castel and Suntory groups.

Chateau Beychevelle is planted to 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. They are currently in the process of replacing some Merlot vines with more Cabernet Sauvignon vines.
Wine Spectator: 93
This has a slightly beefy edge, with warmed plum and blackberry paste flavors pumping through. Shows a touch of heft on the back end, with dark tobacco and earth notes leaving a subtly chewy feel, though there's ample fruit to soak that up. Best from 2024 through 2038. 19,167 cases made.
Wine Advocate: 95
The 2016 Beychevelle is comprised of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. It spent 18 months aging in 50% new and 50% second use barrels. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, it is a little broody to begin, opening slowly to reveal subtle savory notes of dried herbs, charcuterie and black olives before breaking through to a profound core of warm cassis, baked black plums, red currant jelly and candied violets. The palate is medium-bodied and delicately played with a quiet intensity of tightly wound nuances and fantastic freshness, finishing with a lingering savory lift. This latent beauty will require a bit more time than most 2016s, but it promises to overdeliver to those prepared to wait. Around 19,000 cases were made.
Decanter: 94
This is the first wine made in Beychevelle's new cellars, and when I tasted it at the chateau in July it was excellent, scoring higher than here. This time around we tasted two bottles, as there was a query over brett in the first one. Compared to the July tasting, it's a little bit more difficult to unravel this time around, although there are rich black fruits and attractive layers of frangipane and tar, with high-toned acidity that lifts and sculpts. The tannins do an excellent job of holding all this in place. Matured in 50% new oak. 1% Petit Verdot completes the blend. A yield of 45hl/ha in 2016. Drinking Window 2024 – 2040.
Wine Enthusiast: 94
Now with a brand-new, see-through glass winery, this estate is showing its true elegance. The wine does not have great power but it offers a ripe, smooth, sophisticated texture and black fruits. It already shows delicious flavors that will improve. Drink from 2025.
Vinous: 96
The 2016 Beychevelle has a stunning bouquet of vibrant, shimmering blackberry and wild strawberry fruit laced with crushed stone and rose petals. The well-balanced palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin and a slightly savory/dried blood finish that lingers in the mouth. Tasting both in London and in Bordeaux, I found the latter bottle to have a little more precision and race on the finish. This will surely be a benchmark for this Saint Julien estate.
James Suckling: 94
Stacks of cassis, graphite and smoke on the nose of this rather full-bodied St.-Julien with a ton of velvety tannins that drive the long finish that’s simultaneously sweet, fresh and powdery. Try in 2022.