Beychevelle's 1996 reveals an evolved, dark plum color. The nose offers toasty new oak in an open, charming style with berry fruit intermixed with spice. It is an uninspiring example, particularly for such a top-notch terroir, but the wine is medium-bodied and cleanly made, with moderate longevity. Anticipated maturity: 2001-2012.
Developed rim on ruby. Scented and full of minerals. Rather straight backed and upright. Lovely sweetness and delicacy with the tannins completely retreated. Not sickly sweet like some of the more made-up Margaux but a great classic claret that is only medium, even quite lightweight and finishes dry. This doesn't have that much more to give but it is utterly charming. 13% Drinking dates 2006-2016
Medium colour. Soft nose. Some oak. Thin and weedy on the palate though. Some fruit. But it tails off. Not bad plus. When is Château Beychevelle going to start producing serious wine again?
Château Beychevelle is the first famous property one stumbles upon coming north into St Julien. It boasts possibly the most colourful and glorious gardens in all of Bordeaux. There are two theories explaining its name and nautical label - both acknowledging the passing ships in the nearby Girondeand the Gascon language - "beychet velo" or "bêche velle" meaning "lowered sails" and "sailing vessel", respectively. Château Beychevelle has been particularly successful in the Asian markets.
St Julien is like the middle child of the Médoc - not as assertive as Pauillac or as coquettish as Margaux. It lies firmly between the two more outspoken communes and as a result produces a blend of them both. St Julien's wines have often been sought out by aficionados for their balance and consistency, particularly in the UK. Yet due to its middle child nature, it can occasionally be overlooked globally and as a result underrated by those markets outside the UK. Despite the fact that it has no first growths, it has several second growths including Léoville Las Cases, Léoville Barton, Léoville Poyferré and Ducru Beaucaillou as well as the celebrated châteaux such as Talbot and Beychevelle.