The good-natured proprietor of the Château de Bellevue, André Chatenoud, seems more at home in his cellars than anywhere else. Though he and his family have owned the property since 1971, the history of the château dates back to at least the 18th Century. One needs only to explore the incredible limestone caves and see the rich range of old graffiti engravings to be impressed: from harvest workers of the 1700s to American G.I.’s of the 1940s, so many of its visitors have been eager to mark their place in time through the walls of this small yet refined estate. Like other châteaux of the region, the winery is adorned with the elegant architecture of the era - the “chartreuse bordelaise.” This typical 18th century edifice is built in a U-shape, using quarried stone from under the vineyard. It is very practical: you make a living from the upper layers of soil and build your house from the deeper limestone.
Lussac St-Émilion is found on the Right Bank of the Bordelais, and is often regarded as a “satellite” appellation of St-Émilion. The terroir here is characterized by exceptional quality – only surprising because the great, low prices here at Bellevue stand to shift the perceptions of what good Bordeaux should cost. All twelve hectares of the clay and limestone vineyards are farmed organically and were certified through the French agency, Ecocert in 2002. All grapes are de-stemmed and only native yeasts are used. Wines are aged in the subterranean cellars for two years before bottling. There is a beautiful mineral components and freshness to all three wines: The Sauvignon Gris (a local, white, heirloom varietal), the Lussac St-Émilion “Les Griottes” (a fresh, easy-drinking cuvée of 100% Merlot), and finally their classic Lussac St-Émilion (comprised of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc). Recent tastings of Bellevue’s 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2005 vintages prove that one need not pay a high premium for age-worthy, elegant Bordeaux. With such lushness and mineral backbone, this small estate’s offerings only stand to impress.
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