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Chateau Belair-Monange Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru 2020  - First Bottle


98-100 Jeff Leve - The Wine Cellar Insider -
Full-bodied, concentrated, rich and velvety, the wine promptly provides layer after layer of flawlessly ripe, black and dark red pit fruits, crushed rocks, licorice, espresso, smoke and flowers. Long, deep, rich, concentrated and focused, the wine finishes with a majestic combination of minerals, black plums, black cherries, dark cocoa, velvet-laced tannins and spice. The stony finish sticks with you for close to 60 seconds. Give this at least a decade before pulling a cork and enjoy it over the next 3 decades with little effort.
99 James Suckling -
Intense aromas of wet earth, limestone cellars and dark fruits such as currants and blackberries. Then turns to flowers. Black truffles, too. Licorice. Gravel. Full-bodied with a solid palate of tannins that melt into the wine. It’s sleek and muscular with fantastic length and presence. Reminds me of great old Belairs from the 1950s. Cool wine. 98% merlot and 2% cabernet franc. Give it six to eight years of time. Best after 2028.
99 Decanter -
Striking yet elegant, this holds its own being tasted after the more plush and ripe Trotanoy while this is more focussed and streamlined. Just as confident, concentrated and intense but in a different way completely. This is more reserved, refined and less overt, with an incredible purity and precision to the layers of red berry fruit and salinity from the limestone. Such nuance and detail, this is seductive with a powdery texture to the tannins. Really very well worked. Hard to pick a favourite as the length and overall sculpting here are exceptional. A gorgeous wine with star power that really leaves a lingering impression.
99 The Wine Independent -
A blend of 98% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc, the 2020 Belair-Monange has a deep garnet-purple color. It begins on a single note of bright, juicy red berries and roses, before expanding out to a whole array of suggestions of black plums, raspberry preserves, and mince pie, plus wafts of lilacs, loam, and cinnamon toast. The palate is full-on, full-bodied, jam-packed with muscular black and red berry layers and so many floral and savory accents, supported by velvety tannins, finishing with epic length and so much energy that it shimmers.
98 Jeb Dunnuck -
The Grand Vin 2020 Château Belair-Monange is also 98% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc that's a blend of the upper limestone plateau and the more clay heavy soils on the hillside. Very much in the tight, structured style of the vintage, its dense purple hue is followed by a great nose of ripe black cherries, black raspberries, dried flowers, loamy earth, and camphor, with a beautiful sense of minerality. Opening up with time in the glass, it's full-bodied, has a deep, layered mouthfeel, gorgeous overall balance, and a great finish. It offers pleasure today but will benefit from 7-8 years of bottle age and will be a 30+ year wine.
98 Vinous -
The 2020 Bélair-Monange is tremendous. What a wine. It is easily the best effort since the Mouiex family bought the property. Rich, ample and dramatic, Bélair-Monange saturates the palate with waves of inky dark red fruit. Sweet floral, espresso and spice notes appear later, adding shades of nuance. Clean mineral notes extend the finish effortlessly. A wine of exotic beauty and allure, Bélair-Monange is a real stunner in 2020.
97 Falstaff -
Deep dark ruby, opaque core, purple reflections, faint brightening on rim. Inviting nuances of black cherry, ripe plum, sweet tobacco leaves, some vanilla, pleasant noble wood touch, candied orange zest, chocolaty nuances. Juicy, very elegant, fine cherry fruit, silky tannins, good freshness, light nougat on the finish, already accessible and harmonious, shows great length, certain ageing potential.
95-97 Wine Enthusiast -
Barrel Sample. This large Saint-Emilion estate is now on top form. Richly structured and with fine dark fruits, it is full of aromatic Cabernet Franc berry flavors along with some powerful tannins. Expect this wine to go far.
95 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate -
The 2020 Belair Monange has also turned out nicely in bottle, wafting from the glass with aromas of rich cherries, plums, sweet spices, rose petals and creamy new oak. Full-bodied, rich and layered, it remains fresh despite its ripe, sun-kissed profile, and its generous payload of tannin helps to integrate its rather lofty level of alcohol. This is a success in its demonstrative, modern style.
94 Wine Spectator -
A classically styled, slightly austere Bordeaux, with a chalky spine that helps drive red and black currant and plum puree notes along, all while light alder, dried rose petal and light tobacco notes fill in the background. Refined and focused through the finish. Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2030 through 2040.

Technical Details

  • Blend98% Merlot and 2% Cabernet Franc
  • CountryFrance
  • RegionBordeaux
  • AppellationSaint-Emilion
  • Alcohol14.5%

Chateau Belair-Monange Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru 2020

Bordeaux Blends  |  France
JL98-100, JS99, DC99, TWI99, JD98, VN98, FS97, WE95-97, WA95, WS94

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We have a sparse 60 bottles of this 99 POINT Saint-Émilion Premier Grand Cru 2020 from Château Bélair-Monange, a historic Bordeaux estate that stands as a testament to centuries of winemaking distinction, dedication, and accomplishment! With loads of high acclaim and tremendous lineage, this merlot-dominant blend speaks volumes with its robust body, sleek length, and elegant presence. A recent inclusion on James Suckling’s Top 100 Wines of 2023 just raises the stakes further – only 5 cases available!

The Château Bélair-Monange estate originated in the 14th century in the Saint-Émilion Grand Cru appellation on the Right Bank of Bordeaux, though the wines didn’t really take off until the 18th century. At this time, it became considered one of the best representations of Saint-Émilion, a reputation it’s held strong to ever since. Though it was captured during the French Revolution (if only the walls could talk!), the Canolle family recovered it in 1802, naming it Château Bélair before it changed hands multiple times over the next two centuries. In 2008, Christian Moueix acquired the estate, adding “Monange” to the name, making vast improvements to the vineyard and cellar with his son, Edouard, and absorbing the nearby 27-acre Chateau Magdelaine to unite two incredible terroirs.

The estate’s 23.5 hectares of vineyards boast the diverse and rich soils of Saint-Émilion, with plots atop a central plateau consisting of limestone soils, as well as parcels on the slopes that contain both blue clay and limestone. Their vines include plantings of 90% merlot and 10% cabernet franc, varieties that undoubtedly flourish among these terroirs. This wine is blended with 98% merlot and a smidge of cabernet franc, hand-harvested and double-sorted before vinifying in thermo-regulated concrete and stainless steel vats. Final aging for 16 to 18 months in 50% new French oak barrels presents a remarkably smooth and generous final product that is suited to age for many more decades.

With several high-scoring reviews – and named one of James Suckling’s “Top 100 wines of 2023” – this is an unarguably gorgeous Bordeaux with pedigree, praise, and performance for ages. So many layers unwrap in the glass – first the dark, brooding fruits of sun-ripened black plum, black cherry, and blackberry, then a more savory experience of woodsmoke, black licorice, wet stones, dark roast coffee beans, and a splendid combination of minerals, herbs, and spices. Silky tannins and a feverishly long finish bring it to an end that will leave you reaching eternally for another sip more. There’s not much else to say other than, don’t miss out on this basically perfect Bordeaux from a top, history-drenched Right Bank producer!

PAIRING IDEAS: Lamb is the obvious choice, but take it on an unexpected spin with a curried version. After searing on all sides, slow roast your lamb shoulder in low heat for a few hours with crushed tomatoes, minced onion, garlic, cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon for something sensually spiced and rich next to this brilliant Bordeaux. Serve with basmati rice, naan bread, and dill yogurt for an orgasmic flavor explosion!

About the Producer

Château Bélair-Monange, one of the most esteemed estates in Saint-Émilion, Bordeaux, has a storied history that dates back to the 14th century. Originally known simply as Château Bélair, the estate was a jewel of the Libournais region, renowned for its prime location on the limestone plateau that characterizes the best vineyards of Saint-Émilion. In 2008, the estate was acquired by the renowned Moueix family, who also own the iconic Château Pétrus. They renamed it Château Bélair-Monange to honor Anne-Adèle Monange, the mother of Jean-Pierre Moueix, who played a crucial role in establishing the family's winemaking legacy in Bordeaux. The Moueix family embarked on significant renovations and replanting programs, enhancing the vineyard's potential and ensuring meticulous attention to detail in the winemaking process. Today, Château Bélair-Monange stands as a testament to centuries of winemaking excellence, producing wines that are celebrated for their elegance, complexity, and the unique minerality imparted by the estate's historic terroir.