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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.
As with the 1950, the 1952 also suffered from harsh tannins as a juvenile. After a long bottle maturation, this vintage has turned out to be an excellent find. The warm spring and early summer resulted in ideal germination. The hot and dry season lasted until September, which brought with it colder temperatures and rain. This change in weather dashed the hopes for what originally seemed to be an excellent crop year. Conversely, the rains did away with any fear of overly concentrated grapes. Weather conditions at the end of the year had a pronounced effect on the slower-maturing Cabernets. Consequently, the Médoc region suffered the greatest.
The Merlot-driven Pomerol and Saint-Émilion wines were able to mature very well; indeed, the finest wines of that year come from the right bank. Some excellent wines were also produced at Graves. Because the highly tannic character of Médoc wines has softened over the decades, the wines are extraordinarily drinkable right now. The finest examples could do with additional cellaring. Château Lafleur and La-Mission-Haut-Brion are the finest wines of this vintage. The château-bottled Pétrus, Trotanoy and Ausone run a very close second.