Producer profile: Château L’Evangile
It might be the perfect example of the Pomerol Exception – the one where Pomerol takes all the usual rules of Bordeaux and turns them on their head. Jane Anson explores this Right Bank individualist
Expect the unexpected from this top Pomerol estate. Jane Anson explains why
IT’s AN Appellation that manages to embody all that is small-scale and artisan in a region that is often accused of being overly interested in corporate gloss. pomerol is also a part of Bordeaux that was little known until after World War II, yet today produces many of its most sought-after and highly priced wines, leapfrogging neighbouring areas that have been making wine since Roman times and have been famed globally since the Middle Ages. And it’s a place that takes the Merlot grape, dismissed for being fruity, easydrinking and not quite serious, and turns it into stubbornly long-lasting liquid poetry.
look into l’Evangile’s history and you start to see why all of these things are true. For a start, although it’s one of the oldest châteaux in the appellation, with a mention in the land rolls of 1741, it has only been permanently known under its current name (meaning ‘the gospel’ in French) since the mid-19th century. At that time, then-owner paul Chaperon selected that title over the decidedly less sexy former name of Domaine de Fazilleau – for the previous 50 years it had switched between the two. The estate remained in his family for the next 130 years, until Baron Eric de Rothschild of Domaines Barons de Rothschild (lafite) bought a majority stake in 1990 from the formidable simone Ducasse.
And okay, maybe having the Rothschild name attached discounts l’Evangile from being truly small-scale, but even their arrival happened in a decidedly pomerol way.
‘There was no way that Madame Ducasse was going to be impressed by the idea of a fancy name coming all the way over to pomerol from pauillac,’ is how Baron Eric puts it, as he describes the early discussions for coownership. ‘I knew that it was a sensitive subject, because although her husband had died several years earlier she was an extremely proud and capable woman and was still overseeing every aspect of running
‘Maybe having the Rothschild name attached discounts L’ Evangile from being truly small-scale’
Left: Château L’Evangile is one of the oldest estates in Pomerol, dating back to 1741