L'Evangile 2009


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Tasting Notes

An astonishing effort from the Rothschild family, the 2009 l'Evangile may be the reference point offering from this estate for decades to come. A blend of 95% Merlot and 5% cabernet Franc aged in 100% new oak, with 15% natural alcohol, it exhibits a sumptuous bouquet of caramels, black raspberry liqueur, blackberries, voilets, graphite and truffles. Think, viscous flavors are reminiscent of such super-ripe vintages as 1982, 1959, 1949 and 1947. The striking aromatics, massive, full-bodied mouthfeel and multilayered palate that resembles a skyscraper in the mouth offer an abject lesson in great winemaking, extraordinary terroir, and the ability to combine power with precision, elegance and freshness. This is unquestionably a huge wine, but it also possesses mindboggling complexity and finesse. Because of its sheer extract and velvety personality, it will be drinkable in 4-5 years, and will keep for four decades or more where well-stored. Drink 2016-2056.

Score: 100Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (199), March 2012

The prodigious 2009 l'Evangile may be the greatest wine made at this estate during my 30+ years of tasting Bordeaux. Yields were 39 hectoliters per hectare, and the harvest was relatively long, with everything being picked at perfect maturity between September 11 and October 7. The estate is doing malolactic in barrel (a la Burgundy), and the final blend (95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc) achieved 14.5% natural alcohol. Amazingly, this cuvee is aged in 100% new oak barrels, yet no oak is present in the aromas or flavors. Readers should think of it as a better, richer, fuller, more alcoholic version of the 1982 l'Evangile. Dense, full-bodied, and opaque purple-hued, it boasts an extraordinary bouquet of spring flowers, blueberries, blackberries, and boysenberries. A blue and black mountain fruit character suggests coolness, but an intensity and voluptuous texture present the paradox of 2009. The wine has all the characteristics of a hot vintage in terms of power, texture, and richness as well as elements of a cool vintage in its precision, elegance, freshness, and vibrancy. Make no mistake about it, this is an enormous wine that is incredible to taste. Frankly, I could have drunk the entire barrel sample if it hadn't been my first appointment of the day (at 8:15 a.m.)! This wine should drink well for 30-40 years. Bravo! (Tasted once.) Drink 2010-2050.

Robert Parker added an asterisk to this wine score to signify that it is a wine he considers has the finest potential of all the offerings he has ever tasted from this estate in nearly 32 years of barrel tasting samples in Bordeaux.

Score: 96/100Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (188), April 2010

Picked between 11th September until 7th October but with only six days of picking. Much of the Cabernet Franc was replanted in 2006 and 2007, so it represents just 5% of the blend. Delivering 14.6% alcohol and a pH of 3.73, the L'Evangile is very tight but delineated on the conservative nose. Blackberry, briary, a touch of cedar and sandalwood, the palate is full-bodied with silky smooth tannins on the entry. Great depth here, a voluminous L'Evangile, well-defined and very minerally and yet I can feel the presence of that alcohol on the heavy back palate. Hopefully it will settle down on the finish by the time of bottling. Let's see how this evolves by the time of bottling...I would like to see it engender more finesse. Tasted April 2010.

Score: 91/93Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, April 2010

A wine that impresses you, with its subtlety and strength. Every molecule of the tannins and fruit seems to be almost perfectly in line. Enticing dark fruits and milk chocolate. The delicate, yet intense flavors go on for minutes. My palate is so caressed. Such class here. Might end up being better than the perfect 2005. Try after 2020.

Score: 100James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2012

I love the aromas of black olive and blueberry, with mineral and light mint. Full-bodied, with supervelvety tannins. Superlong. This is dense and very beautiful, with such a great core of fruit. Silky texture. Not sure it is going to be better than 2005 (100 pointer!) but super.

Score: 96/99James Suckling, WineSpectator.com, April 2010

39 hl/ha. 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc. Just a bit deeper than the Blason. Silky and subtle on the nose. Great richness and intensity. Firm line through it. Really up there. Great structure. Very firm and dry on the finish but not drying, Much more than just ripeness. Great density. Exotic and racy. Very long. Date tasted 29th March 2010. Drink 2018-2035.

Score: 18Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2010

Consistently one of the finest wines of Pomerol, now under the control of the brilliant winemaking team of Chateau Lafite. 20% of the fruit was relegated to the second label Blason de l'Evangile. Made in a cutting-edge modern winery (with a "mini-Lafite" circular cellar). 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, matured in 100% new oak. Really dense and concentrated. Lots of sexy, toasty new oak on the nose. Seems a bit flashy at first but there is no denying that this has a wonderful core of sweet, ripe, plummy Merlot fruit. Powerful, sumptuous and round. Decadent and rich but not extracted. Not as effortlessly classy as La Conseillante or L'Eglise Clinet, - there has been some modern winemaking here - but a sexy, succulent expression of Pomerol.

Score: 18Farr Vintners, November 2009

This takes a broader approach, with almost stolid tobacco and charcoal structure guarding the core of black currant, roasted fig and blackberry confiture flavors. Long and very fleshy, offering ample toast and searing singed iron notes, but terrific integration. Merlot in Cabernet clothing, with a long life ahead. Best from 2018 through 2035. From France.-J.M.

Score: 97James Molesworth, Wine Spectator Insider (Vol 8, 3), January 2012

Superior to the very good 2008 and 2005. Deep purple-black hue. Rich, dense and powerful. Oozes dark fruit. Appealing now but has the depth and structure to age. Probably the best of the modern era. 2018-2040.

Score: 18.5James Lawther MW, Decanter.com, April 2010

Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.