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Château Bélair-Monange

This property is still a work in progress, having only been acquired by the talented Moueix family in 2008, but it has as great a potential as any of the top premiers crus in Saint-Emilion.

Jean-Pierre Moueix came to Bordeaux with his family in 1929 and settled in Libourne, a town just west of Saint-Emilion and just south of Pomerol, where he founded his négociant business in 1937. Throughout the 1950s he bought several well-known properties nearby. As well as Bélair-Monange, the family properties now include La Fleur-Pétrus, Lagrange, Trotanoy and Hosanna.

Jean-Pierre's son, Christian – who is also responsible for the exquisite Bordeaux-blend reds at Dominus Estate in California's Napa Valley – became president of the company in 1991, and since 2003 he has run the family properties with his own son, Edouard. The company also bulk-buys grapes from other producers, which it ages and bottles under the Moueix name, and sources The Society's Saint-Emilion and our Exhibition Pomerol.

Prior to 2008, this property was just called Chateau Bélair, but as a tribute to his grandmother Christian added her maiden name, Monange, to the title, helping to distinguish it from other properties called Bélair. It had previously been run for many years by former Ausone winemaker Pascal Delbeck, whose vintages always showed great finesse and staying power, if not as much upholstery and charm as other Saint-Emilions.

Its 12 hectares of vines, which neighbour Château Ausone, are the only on the limestone ridge beside the town to be exposed to sunshine all day long. The Moueix family have made huge investment both in the vineyard to increase quality of the fruit, and in the cellars carved in rock beneath the vineyard, and the results are spectacularly good but yields are still small. The wine is a blend of 85% merlot and 15% cabernet franc and benefits from ageing for between 10 and 30 years.

Since 2014, the château has been making a second wine called Annonce, a grand cru in its own right, which enjoys the same scrupulous attention to detail as the grand vin.

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