Thanks to a mild, rainy winter, the vines’ growth cycle started two weeks earlier than the average for Bordeaux and bud break was in mid-March, which is unusual. A warm April was followed by a cool, wet May with occasional spikes of heat. Flowering at the beginning of June was very satisfactory and promised an early, high quality vintage. Alternating periods of rain and warmth then slowed growth and much of the advance was lost; July was cold and wet, August was cloudy and fairly cool. From the end of August, the region experienced an “Indian summer” with hot, dry weather until the end of October. It was the warmest September recorded for nearly a century…
As a result, the grapes were able to ripen gradually during September and October in the unusually mild conditions and the harvest was of excellent quality.
TASTING NOTES (AT BOTTLING):
Deep, dark colour with hints of violet. Very intense nose with dark berries (Morello cherries, blackcurrants) and fresh notes of mocha and toast. On the palate, the attack is powerful, dense and structured. The mid-palate is silky, with a powerful, balanced tannic structure. The finish is dense and very velvety, thanks to the coated, well-ripened tannins: an excellent vintage.
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.
A Snap-shot of the 2014 Vintage by Markus Del Monego MW
2014 had an early start with budbreak around 10 days ahead of the 10 years average. End of May flowering started on the early terroirs in heterogeneous conditions, whereas the later varieties such as Cabernet-Sauvignon and Franc as well as later terroirs took advantage of a warm and sunny period beginning of June. July and August where quite cool and humid and in the second half of August the vintners prepared themselves for a vintage even worse than 2013 but at the end of August everything changed. A spledid indian summer througout September and October saved the quality. Harvest started for the white grapes started three days later than in 2012 but two weeks later than 2011. For the red grapes the harvest startet with Merlot at the end of September and ended with the Cabernets in the second half of October. The cool climate during summer provides a higher acidity, the indian summer is responsible for the right ripening.
The dry white wines are on a very good quality level showing crisp acidity and ripe flavours. The noble sweet white wines also take advantage of the higher acidity balancing the opulent sweetness. Therefore this vintage seems more on the elegant side. The presentation of red wines depends very much on the grape varietes and terroirs. Overall the red wines are on a higher quality level than the three previous vintages. Saint-Emilion is excellent on the plateau calcaire and shows in general very good wines.
In Pomerol the centre of the plateau was in advantage over the surrounding areas. Fronsac was a very positive surprise for 2014. In the Médoc the southern part proved to be more heterogenous than the northern part, where especially Saint-Estèphe was homogenous and excellent. South of Bordeaux Pessac-Léognan presented a very homogenous picture of a very good quality level with outstanding wines from Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion.
One last observation: This vintage digests oak in a great way. The oak is even not obvious in wines with a 100% new oak barrels for maturation. Now there are roughtly twelve month to follow for the maturation of the 2014s untill the bottling in 2016. A lot can happen in this period. Let us see how the wines will present themselves after bottling, it will be a very interesting tasting again. 2014 is not a great vintage like 2005, 2009 or 2010 but it will be able to secure a position as one of the very good vintages of Bordeaux.