This Domaines Baron de Rothschild Pomerol perplexed us. Initially it displayed the blue clay, Petrusesque quality that this estate is capable of producing in exceptional years. We thought we'd found a star when the spectacular bouquet of decadent perfumed fruit, violets, sandalwood, blueberry and griotte liqueur leapt from the glass, however, our sample peeked too early. There is admirable and elegant fruit on the mid-palate, and a silky fluidity, but the more we worked with the wine, the more holes we started to discover. The technical team said that they chaptalized from 12.5% natural alcohol to 14.5%, which seems excessive and dare we say it leaves the wine a little disjointed. When the impressive up-front fruit has gone, there is a very dry tannic spine that dominates. In time, if the tannins resolve, this could be dazzling Evangile, but this stage we will reserve judgement.
Evangile’s origins can be traced back to the 18th century when the estate was known as Fazilleau. It wasn’t until the turn of the 19th century that Monsieur Isambert purchased the domaine and renamed it Evangile. In 1862, Paul Caperon took ownership of the estate and it remained in his family until 1990 when Domaine Baron Rothschild bought a sizable stake. However, Simon Ducasse, the last of Paul Caperon’s descendants to manage Evangile, retained some shares and continued at the helm until 1999. Now the estate is under Domaine Baron Rothschild control and the current manager Mon. Jean Pascal Vazart has been responsible for some major renovations and improvements in wine making.
Evangile’s 14.8 hectares posses an exceptional terroir. Lying between Cheval Blanc and Petrus on an iron rich subsoil called cap de fer, the vineyards are planted with 78% Merlot and 22% Cabernet Franc. The average age of vines is approximately 30 years. Much of the vineyard was replanted by Simone’s father Louis after the devastating spring frosts of 1956.
The innovations and capital investment in the past decade has elevated Evangile to its rightful position as one of the superstars of the Pomerol commune and an estate to keep a close eye on in the future.
Fermentation takes place in concrete tanks with liberal pumping-over. The Grand Vin will spend 18 months in Barriques (70% new). The second label, Blason de l`Evangile is a similar blend, 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc (although the 2008 was 100% Merlot!), but ages in 2 year old barriques for 15 months.
Pomerol’s Merlot-dominated wines at their best are rich, seductive and silky. For hundreds of years Pomerol was considered as nothing but a satellite district of neighbouring St-Émilion to the east, and it was not really until not until the 1950s that Pomerol started its meteoric rise led by Château Petrus. By far the most dominant merchants in the region are Jean-Pierre Moueix who own or distribute the majority of the finest properties in Pomerol, the most renowned being Petrus.
Pomerol's finest wines originate from the highest parts of the plateau, which is predominantly gravel and clay, with an iron rich subsoil called crasse de fer.
Apparently as important in fashioning wines that are plump, voluptuous, and richly Merlot dominates plantings dramatically, though the notable exception is Vieux Château Certan, nearly half of their estate is devoted Cabernet Franc. Pomerol has no no official classification, but its small scale wines fetch some of the greatest prices for wine in the world. The regions greatest names are Pétrus, Lafleur, Certan de May, Hosanna, La Fleur de Gay, L'Église-Clinet, Le Pin, La Conseillante, Trotanoy, , L'Évangile, Latour-à-Pomerol, and Vieux-Ch-Certan