In 2014 the Left Bank excelled, with the dominant Cabernet Sauvignon thriving on warm, gravelly soils, its thick skin benefiting from the superb Indian summer in September and October. In particular, we thought St.Julien stole the show, Leoville Las Cases and Ducru Beaucaillou are truly special wines in 2014, while Beychevelle and Leoville Poyferre were superb. Beychevelle have released their 2014 this morning at £410 per case of 12 bottles. James Suckling has awarded it 93-94 points, the Wine Spectator 91-94, making it in their opinion one of their finest ever vintages.
Beychevelle has long been a favourite wine of European collectors, yet in recent years the Dragon-boat-esque label has made it a darling in Asia. As such, and despite the vintage, the 2013 sold very well indeed, due to their aggressive pricing at €38 per bottle, or £35. This year the London release price of £34 a bottle makes it extremely compelling, although this means the Estate have increased their euro price 11%. Beychevelle were applauded last year for their price reduction and as such the 2014 price means that despite the euro bottle increase, it is well priced against older vintages; it is nearly £200 less than the similar quality 2009 and 2010.
One look at the table below demonstrates Beychevelle 2014 offers an incentive to buy en primeur, the 89+ (WA) scoring 2008 vintage trades comfortably at £640, the 90 scoring 2005 at £750 and the 89 scoring 2004 at £680. Beychevelle 2014 is very fine indeed and one of our strong buy recommendations of the vintage. The weak euro means it will sell very well globally, we are confident it will be a higher price once physical and rising in price steadily for another ten years.
So much more than a history of Beychevelle
Chateau Beychevelle has one of the richest histories in the Médoc, its roots can be traced back to the 14th Century when a feudal castle belonging to the Foix family occupied the site. The property passed to the husband of Marguerite de Foix-Candale, the Duc d’Epernon in 1587. The Duc was heavily involved in politics and was even in a coach next to Henri III when he was assassinated. He also became an Admiral of France which indirectly led to the name Beychevelle being used for the wine produced on the estate. Due to the Duc’s position, ships passing on the Gironde close to the estate were required to lower their sails as a salute, therefore, Beychevelle is a corruption of Baisse-Voile meaning lower sail.
The property eventually passed to the crown; however, it was under the ownership of the Marquis de Brassier that viticulture began in earnest in the mid-1700s. The property was seized from the Marquis’ son during the Revolution and put up for sale. After a number of changes of ownership the Estate was purchased by Pierre-François Guestier in 1825. Chateau Beychevelle’s reputation began to flourish under the innovative and respected Pierre-François, leading to Fifth Growth status in 1855 despite never being mentioned in any of the previous unofficial classifications of Bordeaux.
After the death of M. Guestier in 1874 the property was sold to Armand Heine and upon the death of his wife passed to his son-in-law M. Achille-Fould. The Achille-Fould’s were prominent in French politics during the early 20th Century, however, after a period of neglect, the estate was sold to the French pension fund, GMF in the 1980s who proceeded to sell 40% to a Japanese group. It was under this corporate ownership that much needed investment was made in the Estate and the wines of Beychevelle began to return to the glory years last seen in the 19th Century.
The Chateau at Beychevelle is one of the finest buildings in the Médoc, built during the 18th Century in the style of Louis XV, it commands stunning views of the vineyards and perfectly manicured flowerbeds. Beychevelle is situated in the south-east of St Julien near the village of Beychevelle and is known for powerful wines with extreme concentrations of blackcurrant and cassis.
To read our 2014 en primeur please click here.
Beychevelle 2014, 6×75 – £205 or 12×75 – £410 EP
James Suckling, 93-94 Points
A firm and austere young red now but there’s serious fruit and mineral character underneath. Full body, chewy tannins and a long finish.
James Molesworth, 91-94 Points
Well-packed, with plum cake, bramble, blueberry patch and anise notes, all allied to a graphite edge on the finish. Racy acidity underscores everything. Rock-solid
To visit our buy page please click here.