"This hard, austere, highly extracted 2011 was tasted on two separate occasions. Both times it appeared to be coming off malolactic fermentation, and was thus not showing all its best characteristics. Certainly Bellevue’s vineyard is fabulously situated, and readers looking for a striking chalkiness and austere, angular style will do no better than this. Yields were only 20 hectoliters per hectare, and the brilliant Hubert de Bouard is the consulting oenologist at this estate. The 2011 is tight and closed, and no matter how hard I tried, it was very difficult to get a bead on which direction it might go. This is another 2011 that will be more interesting to taste from bottle." (87-89+), Wine Advocate #200, Apr 2012
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.