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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.
When the 1950s rolled around, vineyards and their production equipment were still in poor condition. The economy was faltering and ageing grapevines were decreasing vineyard productivity. Considerably higher prices were paid on the world market for top wines from Mosel and Rheingau as well as Burgundy, thus giving an idea as to the esteem in which Bordeaux wines were held. The demand for Bordeauxs had bottomed out. The greatest demand for them was in England, with the American market opening toward the end of the decade. In order to find a solution to the situation, producers and merchants established the La Commanderie de Bordeaux, which was founded in 1952. Its objective was to market the region’s wines through a network of affiliate organisations spanning the globe. However, the process of change took a long time, and the decade went down in history as a difficult one. From a consumer’s standpoint, the 1950s are remembered as a decade when Bordeaux wines could still be had at affordable prices. Even today, the best vintages offer an excellent price-quality ratio.
Although the decade got off to a modest start in terms of crop years, the early 1950s saw some outstanding vintages.
Due to weather conditions and ageing vines, Bordeaux produced fine, concentrated wines in 1952, 1953 and 1955. 1955 was an historic year, as it marked the beginning of a new era for Bordeaux. The reason for this paradigm shift was the shock delivered by a -20°C cold snap in Bordeaux in February of 1956 which killed off a wide swath of vines. Saint-Émilion and Pomerol were hit hardest. Areas least affected by the killing frost still had to deal with a delayed growing season and a cold, rainy summer. Any hopes of having even a mediocre year were lost.
The replanted vines produced their first crop in 1959, which turned out to be an excellent year. The vintage was even proclaimed to be Bordeaux's best vintage of the century. Despite the fact that 1956, 1957 and 1958 were lean wine years, the devaluation of the French franc increased the demand for Bordeaux wine toward the end of the decade. One of the more significant events of the 1950s involved the investments made by Jean-Pierre Mouiex in Pomerol and Saint-Émilion, which increased interest in the region, particularly where Pomerol was concerned. Mouiex acquired Trotanoy and La Fleur-Pétrus in 1953, Lagrange in 1954 and Madelaine in 1959.
Upon closer examination of the decade, attention must also be drawn to the 1950 vintage, which offered quantity more than quality - indeed, with welcome exceptions. Due to the relatively rainy summer, expectations for the year were not very high, but the change in weather by the end of the year made it a good one, and in some areas even excellent. The wines lacked the ample and balanced character of the previous year. They were instead noted for their highly tannic quality. But the wines have matured with surprising grace. Many of the wines have become more harmonious as the tannins have faded. Two vintage gems are the Cheval Blanc and Pétrus. On the other hand, the Graves La-Mission-Haut-Brion and l'Evangile are an outstanding wines. Although the finest wines are at the peak of their drinkability right now, they will remain there for years to come. Due to the large crop and the very modest reputation of the vintage, these wines can be found at very affordable prices.