This morning has seen the release of one of the most exciting wines of 2016 and one that will sell out by the end of play today across the globe. The reasons for this is that the 2016 has been awarded 96-98 points from Neal Martin, making it comfortably the highest rated vintage ever by the Wine Advocate. The release price this morning of £339 per case of 6 looks extremely appealing. To put this into perspective the 93 point scoring 2005 trades at £1,000 per case of 12, the 93 point scoring 2009 at £900 and the next highest scoring vintage with 94 points trades at £875. This makes the 2016 a standout buy even at 96 points, within the lowest of the barrel score.
Martin states that ‘The palate is sensational… Frankly, it leaves all the other Beychevelles in recent years standing. This is an electrifying 2016’. It looks thereon that this, the greatest ever Beychevelle, will be awarded 98 points from bottle. Beychevelle has huge global demand and has long been a favourite wine of European collectors, yet in recent years the Dragon-boat-esque label has made it a darling in Asia. The demand for its finest ever vintage will be enormous, particularly as allocations have been cut 20% across the board. Today’s release price represents a 12.3% euro increase and a 26.7% pound increase: frankly it could have been 25% higher and still would have remained appealing. It is good to see Beychevelle leave a chunk of change on the table for loyal buyers, who will be greatly rewarded.
Chateau Beychevelle has one of the richest histories in the Médoc, its roots can be traced back to the 14th Century when a feudal castle belonging to the Foix family occupied the site. The property passed to the husband of Marguerite de Foix-Candale, the Duc d’Epernon in 1587. The Duc was heavily involved in politics and was even in a coach next to Henri III when he was assassinated. He also became an Admiral of France which indirectly led to the name Beychevelle being used for the wine produced on the Estate. Due to the Duc’s position, ships passing on the Gironde close to the Estate were required to lower their sails as a salute, therefore, Beychevelle is a corruption of Baisse-Voile meaning lower sail.
Chateau Beychevelle’s reputation began to flourish under the innovative and respected Pierre-François Guestier, leading to Fifth Growth status in 1855 despite never being mentioned in any of the previous unofficial classifications of Bordeaux. After the death of M. Guestier in 1874 the property was sold to Armand Heine and upon the death of his wife passed to his son-in-law M. Achille-Fould. The Achille-Fould’s were prominent in French politics during the early 20th Century, however, after a period of neglect, the Estate was sold to the French pension fund, GMF in the 1980s who proceeded to sell 40% to a Japanese group. It was under this corporate ownership that much needed investment was made in the Estate and the wines of Beychevelle began to return to the glory years last seen in the 19th Century.
The Chateau at Beychevelle is one of the finest buildings in the Médoc, built during the 18th Century in the style of Louis XV, it commands stunning views of the vineyards and perfectly manicured flowerbeds. Beychevelle is situated in the south-east of St Julien near the village and is known for powerful wines with extreme concentrations of blackcurrant and cassis.
Chateau Beychevelle 2016, 6×75 – £339 EP
96-98 Points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 Beychevelle is a blend of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc cropped at 45 hectoliters per hectare between 3 October and 18 October. It is matured in 50% new oak. Furthermore, it is the first vintage to be matured in the new chichi winery whose glass exterior overlooks the passing traffic on the D2. It has a very pure, fragrant bouquet with black cherries, cassis, cedar and wet limestone, extremely precise to the point where you might think it was from the Right Bank (logical given the proportion of Merlot in the blend). The palate is sensational: understated at first and bridled with ultra-fine tannin, it is a Beychevelle armed with a disarming sense of symmetry. It builds in the mouth towards a fabulously tensile finish that is so fresh and full of energy that the senses are almost overwhelmed. Frankly, it leaves all the other Beychevelles in recent years standing. This is an electrifying 2016 from winemaker Philippe Blanc and his right-hand man, technical director, Romain Ducolomb.
94-95 Points, James Suckling
The softness and finesse to this are indeed impressive with blackberry and blackcurrant character. Full-bodied, dense and polished. Lovely texture and length. It builds on the palate. Clearly better in 2015. This is the first year in from the new cellar.
To buy this wine, click here