Belair Monange, which incorporates the vineyards of Magdelaine occupies an enviable position on the limestone Cote to the west of Chateau Ausone. We always taste this wine at the end of the JP Moueix tasting as it is so floral, lifted and very different to the style of the Pomerol range. Produced from 88% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc, the 2015 has that tell-tale profile of a wine produced from a great limestone site. It is brimming with high toned morello cherries, griotte, intense minerals and roses. It is vital, intense, engaging and utterly mouth-watering. The fruit is sumptuous, bright and silky, interspersed with notes of redcurrant and saline. This is an uplifting, seductive and deceptively powerful Belair Monange - bravo.
St-Émilion is a very different region to those of the Médoc, dominated by small-holding farmers and estates rather than grand Châteaux. Merlot is widely planted as is Cabernet Franc in some parts. The wines are enormously variable in style depending on the terroir, the grape variety make-up and winemaking style. Loosely the region is divided between the limestone Côtes, Graves or gravelly limestone plateau or the sandy alluvial soils nearer the Dordogne. Traditionally Médoc wines were trade from Bordeaux and St Emilions from Libourne so they have their own classification system separate to that of 1855. The classification is revised every ten years and falls into four categories, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé and St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Most of the district's best properties are either on the steep, clay-limestone hillsides immediately below the town or on a gravelly section of the plateau west of St Emilion itself abutting Pomerol. There are several high profile estates in the region, including Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Figeac, Le Dôme, Valandraud and Pavie.