Château L'Évangile, Pomerol

Château L'Évangile, Pomerol

This Pomerol property is part of the Barons de Rothschild portfolio, which also includes first growth Lafite-Rothschild, as well as other Bordeaux properties like Duhart-Milon and Rieussec, and projects farther afield such as Los Vascos in Chile, Caro in Argentina, and a new project in Penglai, China.

L'Évangile has existed since the mid-18th century; however it didn't receive its name until it acquired new owners in the early 1800s, and has since become one of a mighty handful of Pomerol's most famous names. It was purchased by the Ducasse family in 1862, and achieved inconsistent success in their hands until 1990, at which point the formidable Madame Ducasse sold part of the property (the rest followed in 1995) to the Rothschilds.

The 22-hectare estate lies in an enviable position on the south-eastern part of the Pomerol plateau, with Pétrus to the north and Cheval Blanc to the south, and its iron-rich clay, gravel and sand soils contribute to the wine's complexity. It also has a rare strip of pure gravel shared by just two other properties.

When the Rothschilds took over, they made the important decision to replant the property's ageing diseased cabernet franc vines with better clones, and they have ensured that vineyard management remains manual and traditional. They also enlarged the capacity of L'Évangile's vats and rebuilt the cellars - a large project which was only completed in 2004.

The winery now employs rigorous selection processes, small-batch fermentation and regular tastings to keep quality levels high. The wine ferments in vats before being transferred to oak barrels, 70% of them new, for 18 months. Since the start of the 21st century, the blend has been temporarily higher in merlot (80-90%), with the remainder made up of cabernet franc. The cabernet franc element will return to around 30% in the coming years, and when it does the blend will be more akin to the estate's second wine, Blason de l'Évangile, which benefits from the team's expertise, but ages in oak for a shorter period (15 months) in older barrels.

At its best it can be one of the most majestically rich of Pomerols, needing considerable ageing to evolve, normally for between 15 and 40 years.