Highest rated vintages for L'Evangile
An astonishing effort from the Rothschild family, the 2009 l’Evangile may be the reference point offering from this estate for decades to come. A blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc aged in 100% new oak, with 15% natural alcohol, it exhibits a sumptuous bouquet of caramels, black raspberry liqueur, blackberries, violets, graphite and truffles. Thick, viscous flavors are reminiscent of such super-ripe vintages as 1982, 1959, 1949 and 1947. The striking aromatics, massive, full-bodied mouthfeel and multilayered palate that resembles a skyscraper in the mouth offer an abject lesson in great winemaking, extraordinary terroir, and the ability to combine power with precision, elegance and freshness. This is unquestionably a huge wine, but it also possesses mindboggling complexity and finesse. Because of its sheer extract and velvety personality, it will be drinkable in 4-5 years, and will keep for four decades or more where well-stored. The most profound L’Evangile ever made?
A blockbuster, dark plum/garnet-colored wine, the 1982 L'Evangile reveals a decadent, extravagantly rich nose of caramelized fruit, plum, licorice, smoked meats, and toffee. This opulent, full-bodied Pomerol caresses the palate with layers and layers of glycerin and fruit. The tannin is barely noticeable in this massive, rich, gorgeous effort. The complexity of the nose alone is worth a special admission price. It is close to full maturity, and is capable of lasting another 20-25 years. Release price: ($210.00/case)
This is an absolutely spectacular L’Evangile. It remains to be seen whether 2009 will eclipse this great effort. Largely a Merlot-dominated blend with some Cabernet Franc in it, the greatness of this terroir is exhibited in the complexity of the nose, which offers up hints of subtle chocolate, blueberry, blackberry, truffle, barbecue smoke, and graphite. Dense, rich, and full-bodied, with an opulence and succulence that are prodigious, the tannins are present but extremely sweet, and the wine multi-dimensional and just emerging as a compellingly complex, head-turning beauty. Drink it now and over the next 20-25 years. Kudos to L’Evangile.
Another spectacular effort from L'Evangile, the 2010 is a close rival to the 2009 and should be fascinating to compare with that vintage over the next 30 or so years. Stunningly rich and black/purple in color, the 2010 L'Evangile offers up the tell-tale floral note as well as black raspberry jam intermixed with cassis and kirsch. There are also ethereal floral notes and a hint of background oak. The pH is slightly above average (3.7 versus the pH of 4.0 that the 2009 and 2000 possessed). This is a massive, rich, very impressive L'Evangile, and readers should take note of the “+” in my rating, which could certainly push this wine way up there. Remarkably, I was shocked when I learned that this wine was aged in 100% new oak, as the oak is a background element in this blockbuster l'Evangile. Forget it for 3-5 years, and drink it over the following 30-40. With an alcohol level hitting the scales at 14.8%, the 2,000 cases of 2010 L'Evangile come from a blend of 88% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc, which I assume is much less Cabernet Franc than what was used under the old administration of the Ducasse family versus what is being done now by Eric de Rothschild and his team. The new administrators have added some vineyard parcels from neighboring sites, particularly Le Croix de Gay, and they have also replanted part of this vineyard, which sits on the St.-Emilion border next to La Conseillante and facing Cheval Blanc and La Dominique.
L'Evangile's sublime 2005, a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, is the first wine made in their brand new cuverie. Sadly, there are fewer than 3,500 cases of this deep purple-colored offering. A gorgeous nose of meat juices, black raspberries, chocolate, espresso, and notions of truffle oil as well as smoke is followed by a full-bodied Pomerol displaying sweet tannin, a flawless texture, and stunning complexity. While surprisingly showy and forward for a l'Evangile, it will undoubtedly shut down over the next year or so. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2030.
A 2,700-case blend of 88% Merlot and 12% Cabernet Franc cropped at a low 27 hectoliters per hectare (compare that with 39 hectoliters per hectare in 2009 and 31 in 2010), this superb claret was aged 18 months in 75% new French oak. Mulberry, spring flower, black cherry and raspberry characteristics as well as hints of spice and coffee emerge from this full-bodied, opulent, structured beauty. It should age effortlessly for 15-20 years.
A stunning example of the vintage, the 2004 l'Evangile is not far off the pace of their brilliant 2005. A blend of 89% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Franc (3,000+ cases produced), it exhibits a deep ruby/plum color, superb ripeness, and sweet blackberry, truffle, acacia flower, licorice, and toasty oak aromas. This knock-out effort is surprisingly rich, opulent, and fruity with good glycerin, medium to full body, and a stunning finish. It should drink beautifully young yet age for 15 or more years.
The sexy, dark ruby/purple-tinged 2006 l'Evangile achieved 14% natural alcohol, as high as any of the great vintages at this estate. Abundant amounts of dark raspberry and black cherry fruit intertwined with sweet plums and hints of figs as well as spring flowers jump from the glass of this medium to full-bodied, fleshy, supple-textured, silky wine. Drink it now or cellar it for 15-20 years.
This wine is closed, backward, and marginally less impressive than I thought from cask. It is still an outstanding l'Evangile that may prove to be longer-lived than the sumptuous 1990, but perhaps not as opulently-styled. It remains one of the year's's top efforts. The dense ruby/purple color is accompanied by aromas of minerals, black raspberries, earth, and spice. The bottled wine seems toned down (too much fining and filtration?), compared with the pre-bottling samples, which had multiple layers of flesh and flavor dimension. High tannin in the finish and plenty of sweet fruit on the palate suggest this wine will turn out to be extra special. Could it have been even better if the filters had been junked in favor of a natural bottling? I think so, yet that being said, the wine's ferocious tannin level cannot conceal its outstanding ripeness, purity, and depth. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2020. Last tasted, 10/02.
The 2012 is an outstanding effort displaying copious quantities of black raspberry and blackberry fruit intermixed with hints of camphor, black truffles and subtle new oak. Opulent, round and generously endowed with impressive purity as well as a forward style, it should drink well young yet age for 12-15 years. Administrator Pascal Vazart told me the rain that occurred at the end of September broke the hydric stress and drought-like conditions that had existed in this vineyard since mid-July. During that period, there was no rain, but lots of sunshine, which was beginning to cause serious issues with vineyards planted on sand and gravelly soils. The fruit for the 2012 l'Evangile was harvested between September 20 and October 9. It is composed of 93% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc that achieved a lofty 14.3% alcohol level. The finished pH is 3.7, which no doubt accounts for the wine's smooth, velvety personality. No one will confuse the 2012 with their 2009 or 2010.