We were generally very impressed by the balance and harmony of the wines at the St Julien UGC. Few were blockbusters, but they all had ample fruit, a sense of freshness, sympathetic tannins and a sense of cohesion. The 2015 Beychevelle is produced from 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. There is a classy bouquet of liqueur fruits and minerals. The palate offers plenty of juicy plummy character and there is quite a serious tannic structure. This is a grown-up Beychevelle.
The 4th growth Château Beychevelle sits on the main road in St. Julien, its vineyards stretching north towards Ducru-Beaucaillou. Ships passing by on the Gironde used to honour long time owner the Duc d'Eperon, who was Grand Admiral of France, by lowering their sails('Baisse Voile'). From this tradition came the name Beychevelle. The vineyards are planted with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and average approximately 25 years old. Grapes are hand picked and de-stemmed before vinifcation. Elevage takes place in 50% new oak for up to 18 months. Beychevelle has leaned towards a more masculine style of wine in recent years, due to higher proportions of Cabernet Sauvignon, more extraction and higher new oak levels. However it has not lost any of its elegance, charm, balance and has an ability to age seamlessly over 20 years.
St-Julien may not have any first growths like its neighbour Pauillac but has a raft of high-performing Châteaux in its ranks, second through to fourth growths, Including Ducru-Beaucaillou, Léoville Las Cases, Léoville-Poyferré, Léoville-Barton.
Gruaud-Larose and Talbot. For many St-Julien is quintessential claret, robust, powerful but refined subtle and poised. Gravelly soils dominate, hence wide plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot.