An emblematic Saint-Emilion vineyard overlooking the Dordogne river valley, Château Bélair-Monange has been renowned for its traditional Bordeaux wines for centuries. As a 23.5 hectare vineyard of contiguous parcels, the vines are grown on some of the most exceptional terroirs of Saint-Emilion, and its remarkable moments of viticultural rejuvenation date back to 1691. Owned by the Canolle de Lescours family for over 200 years, Bélair-Monange blossomed under the influence of Jacques François Joseph Canolle de Lescours, and his son, François Antoine Joseph. Bottling was done within the Chateau from as early as 1802, a rare practice so early in the century.
As the distribution of Bordeaux wines began to become formalised in the 19th century, in 1850 Bélair was unofficially named the crown of Premier Crus of Saint-Emilion in the first edition of the Cocks & Férêt guide.
At the turn of the century, the Dubois-Challon family acquired the Chateau in 1916, ensuring they maintained the wine’s natural elegance and pedigree. Almost a century later, 2008, the Chateau was acquired by Christian and Edouard Moueix, fulfilling the ambition of their ancestor, Jean-Pierre Moueix. Their first act was to rename it to Bélair-Monange, honouring Anne-Adèle Monange, mother of Jean-Pierre Moueix.
From there, there was only restoration and expansion on the table, with the addition of parcels from Château Magdelaine, a contiguous Premier Grand Cru Classé, owned by the Moueix family, in 2012. A precise study of the soil and genetic history of the vineyard was also conducted in order to best prepare the replantation of age-worn vineyard parcels.
Culminating at an altitude of 88 meters, the historical plateau is of limestone soils with topsoil of clay. Home to the original first classified growths of Saint-Emilion, the plateau brings freshness, minerality, and a unique elegance to the wine. The terraces below are south-facing with soils of blue clay over limestone offering great depth, length and intensity. Then, upon the southern slopes, the thin layer of sandy clay over a subsoil of thick clay, allows the Moueix family to produce rich, supple wines that contribute roundness and generosity to the whole.
Promoting a healthy vineyard with rich microbiological activity, Arnaud de Lamy and Michel Falquier, viticulture managers, are dedicated to encouraging this natural activity. Some of their practices include:
- Leaving the earth fallow for extended periods of time (5 to 7 years) to allow the soil to rest and fully regenerate;
- Maintaining uncultivated land and hedges around and within the parcels;
- Planting cover crops adapted to the specific organic composition of each parcel to secure the minerals required for soil health, and
- Adapting their ploughing and vineyard work to each micro-parcel based on the season, water supply and the strength and age of the vines.
Harvesting each micro-terroir at ideal ripeness, the grapes are then meticulously sorted and de-stemmed. Vinified in small lots to preserve the expression and characteristics of each parcel, the grapes undergo gentle and controlled fermentation in thermo-regulated vats. The whole cellar team tastes every vat on a daily basis, applying their combined experience of more than 100 vintages.
Following fermentation, the wine is aged in French oak barrels sourced from a small group of coopers based on the characteristics of the particular vintage, with only 50% new. The barrel ageing period (14 to 18 months) is adapted to the characteristics of the vintage in order to maintain soft, silky tannins. The wine is bottled in the spring of the second year following its harvest.
Annonce de Belair-Monange is only made in very small quantities so don't delay in your purchase.
Annonce de Belair-Monange - Saint-Émilion Grand Cru
The “second wine” of Chateau Belair Monange—has a medium to deep garnet-purple color and compelling notions of Morello cherries, black raspberries and baked plums, with hints of pencil lead, bay leaves, damp soil and spice cake. The full-bodied palate delivers seriously impressive freshness with a fine-grained texture and bags of juicy red and black fruits, finishing long and spicy. Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker.