The Léglise family from Libourne founded what is now Château L’Evangile. They were actively involved, around the middle of the 18th century, in building the Pomerol vineyard. L’Evangile appeared in the 1741 land registry under the name of Fazilleau.
At the turn of the 19th century, the estate already had much of its current configuration, stretching over some 13 hectares, when it was sold to a lawyer named Isambert. He renamed the estate “L’Evangile”. In 1862, L’Evangile was purchased by Paul Chaperon, whose descendants, the Ducasse family, remained the property’s owners until 1990. Paul Chaperon went on making the estate becoming famous, and constructed the L’Evangile in the style of the Second Empire. In the second edition of Cocks Féret in 1868, L’Evangile is registered and is considered as a “Premier Cru du Haut-Pomerol”.
Upon the death of Paul Chaperon around 1900, his descendants ran the estate until Louis Ducasse took over the property, which was then in decline and damaged by the frosts of 1956. He put forth great efforts in renewing the vineyard and restoring the L’Evangile name. In 1982, his widow, Simone Ducasse, continued the family’s role in running the estate.
In 1990, Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) acquired L’Evangile from the Ducasse family. DBR was interested in bringing sustained care to the operation. DBR’s initial influence included a more refined selection of the fine wines, and the creation of Blason de L’Evangile as a second wine. Efforts also included enhancing the vines’ health with a restoration and renewal plan partially completed until 1998. The complete renovation of the vat room and the cellar which was finished in 2004 allowed the property to complete its new configuration.
The estate occupies a very strategic position. It is bordered to the north by the vineyards of Château Pétrus, and is separated from Cheval Blanc in Saint-Emilion to the south by nothing more than a secondary road.
The surface area is of 16 hectares composed of sandy clay soils with pure stones, with the bedrock featuring iron oxide. The grape varieties are made up of Merlot (80%) which contributes to the fruity flavour and body, as well as the unmistakable suppleness; Bouchet, the local name of Cabernet Franc is included (20%) for its finesse. Traditional techniques are used. Production is limited and harvesting and other work carried out throughout the year is done manually.
The vineyard is managed by the Director of the Domaines Charles Chevallier, assisted by Operations Manager Jean Pascal Vazart.
1961 was to become the decade’s and one of the century’s most adored vintages of Bordeaux red wines.
Despite a frost in March, the growing season started on time and well. The frost combined with weak pollination caused by poor weather reduced the crop volume significantly. July’s rains gave way to drier weather in August, and September bathed Bordeaux in beautiful sunshine. The grapes were small, thick-skinned and extremely concentrated, much as they were in 1928 and 1945. However, unlike these earlier vintages, the vineyard now had at its disposal new technologies and equipment, which made it possible for the wines to be produced with greater subtlety, thus avoiding such problems as excessive tannicity. On the whole, excellent wines, both red and white, were produced in Bordeaux. Even though the vintage was a red, very good dry whites and Sauternes were also produced. The reds are eminently drinkable right now, although the Château Latour vintage will just get better with age. Most of the 1961 vintage's good wines shared an uncommon elegance and balance, not to mention a massive rise in price in recent years. The finest wines should be decanted for at least 2-3 hours before drinking. This is also one of those rare years, during which wholesaler bottling is almost qualitatively on a par with vineyard bottling, even if the price points are not.