Château L'Evangile 2020
• Domaine: Château L'Evangile
• Appellation: Pomerol
• Grape Varietals: 80-90% Merlot, 10-20% Cabernet Franc
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
• Importer: Laguna Cellar
Saskia de Rothschild is the intuitive and sharp manager of the incomparable Pomerol estate, Château L’Évangile and the First Growth Château Lafite Rothschild. She describes Château L’Évangile as “… a house in Bordeaux situated on the famed plateau of Pomerol. It is at the heart of this natural laboratory that the earth and the heavens bring new lessons for each vintage.” The grand vin of Château L’Evangile is considered one of the finest offerings of this Right Bank appellation, held in esteem after some top tier estates like Château Vieux Château Certan and Château Pétrus. The wine is remarkably consistent, and fabulous vintages occurred even after the devastating frosts in 1956.
Château L’Évangile was one of the first vineyards to be planted in Pomerol. It was founded by the Léglise family from Libourne in 1741. The property’s name at the time was Domaine de Fazilleau. Right around the turn of the 19th Century, the property was purchased by a lawyer who named the estate L’Évangile. Eventually Château L’Évangile would be acquired by the prestigious Ducasse family, who were the owners of the estate until 1990. That year, 70 percent of the stake was sold to Lafite Rothschild. Funnily enough, the Rothschilds wanted to make some changes at the estate – like adding new oak barrels. Madame Ducasse, the owner of the remaining 30 percent of shares, was reluctant to this decision as new oak barrels are very expensive. She turned a blind eye, however, when the Rothschilds began sneaking new oak barrels into the barrel room late at night without presenting her with the bill. Eventually in 2004, Domaine Barons de Rothschild paid for an extensive renovation of the cellars which finished just before the legendary 2005 vintage.
Château L’Évangile has some incredible terroir. A mosaic of only the best soils grace the vineyards of this special place. The property is next door to esteemed estates like Château La Conseillante, Château Pétrus, and Château Cheval Blanc. A tiny dirt road is the only barrier separating Château L’Évangile from the Right Bank region of Saint-Émilion. In terms of soil, this 22 hectare property has a mixture of sandy clay soil with gravel and a small portion of the rare and special blue clay that is so famously associated with Château Pétrus. The vineyard is managed by Oliver Trégoat, the technical director of Château Rieussec. Interestingly enough, the Rothschilds began planting some Cabernet Sauvignon vines in the more graveled portions of the vineyard. They first incorporated Cabernet Sauvignon in the 2019 vintage. Everything is harvested by hand and the mixture of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon vines are fermented based on their original plots in cement vats. After this happens, the grand vin is aged in 70 percent new French oak for 18 months. The resulting wine is a simply stunning expression of Pomerol that needs a bit of time for its potential to unfold. The wine is opulent, and since the 2000s, quality has been at a higher standard than ever before.
"Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2020 L'Evangile rolls effortlessly out of the glass with notions of mulberries, black raspberries and stewed red and black plums, plus suggestions of Indian spices, dusty soil and violets with a touch of iron ore. The medium to full-bodied palate possesses compelling freshness and a fine-grained texture to support the muscular black and red fruits, finishing long and earthy.
This 2020 blend of 88% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc has an alcohol of 14.5% and a pH of 3.8." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate (5/20/2021), Rating: 96-98, Drink: 2026-2050
"Described as a new age for l’Evangile by the estate, their 2020 Château L'Evangile showed beautifully, with the pure, elegant yet still ripe, beautifully concentrated style of the estate these days. Rocking levels of crème de cassis, black cherries, blueberries, graphite, and violets all emerge from the glass, and it's medium to full-bodied, with a terrific sense of purity, present, ripe yet firm tannins, and a great finish. It's a promising, elegant yet at the same time powerful 2020 that's going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for 20-25 years or more. The blend is 88% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc, all raised in 60% new French oak." Jeb Dunnuck, Bordeaux 2020: En Primeur - Part 1 (05/23/2021) Rating: 95-97
"The sculpting of L'Evangile that began over the past few vintages continues, and the 2020 is a gorgeous wine. Pristine fruit, silky with a whoosh of menthol. It elevates over the palate, both dense and light, with blueberry and raspberry fruits, and pulses of bitter almond and honeysuckle on the finish that gives focus and spice. Juliette Couderc joined L'Evangile (from DBR Lafite's Long Dai winery) in September 2020 so for the harvest of this wine, working alongside technical director Olivier Tregoat. 50% first wine, with no Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend this year because it was so over-concentrated that it made too much impact. Increased selective harvesting meant going through vineyard plots six times to bring in the grapes as they ripened. A yield of 32hl/ha. In the final year of organic conversion, so this next vintage 2021 will be certified." Jane Anson, Best Pomerol 2020 Wines Tasted En Primeur (04/30/2021) Rating: 98 Drink: 2028-2050
"The 2020 L'Évangile is fabulous. Aromatic, deep and fleshy, with magnificent purity of fruit, L'Évangile dazzles right out of the gate. Bright Franc aromatics add striking lift as well as vibrancy that carries through to the long, delineated finish. There is an energy to the 2020 that is palpable. Harvest for the Merlot began on September 3, ahead of a heat wave that was forecast, and wrapped up on the 14th for the Merlot and the 21st for the Franc. That approach worked so well here. In the past, L'Évangile and Lafite-Rothschild were very different stylistically, but that seems to be changing now that Saskia de Rothschild is spending a great deal of her time in Pomerol with the new winemaking team. The estate, certified biodynamic as of 2021, has been pursuing a more refined approach for a few years, but 2020 is the first recent vintage where the personality of the year seems to have aligned especially well with the current thinking here. The 2020 L'Évangile is easily the most Lafite-like L'Évangile I have ever tasted. Don't miss it!" Antonio Galloni, Vinous (June 2021) Rating: 95-97