Chateau Bellevue owner Olivier Decelle made a name for himself running Picard Surgeles, one of France's largest frozen food companies. In 1999, Olivier purchased Mas Amiel, a once-great estate in Maury that he planned to restore to glory. The locals didn't hesitate to share their opinions: they thought he was crazy. But Olivier had a plan: to trade quality over quantity. He looked at his neighbor's plots ("literally black due to overfertilization") and knew he had to try something different. So he converted the estate to biodynamic farming, reduced its yields, and hired winemaking prodigy Stephane Gallet.
Almost overnight, Mas Amiel skyrocketed to international fame, and people began regarding Olivier as a genius. Now his Maury neighbors are racing to follow his lead. After his success in Roussillon, Olivier was determined to replicate it in Right Bank Bordeaux, where he purchased Chateau Jean Faure (St. Emilion), Chateau Haut-Ballet (Canon-Fronsac), and Chateau Bellevue (Fronsac).
Bellevue's vineyards are situated on the limestone- and sandstone-laden soils near Saint-Michel de Fronsac, just west of Libourne. As with Mas Amiel, Olivier farms this estate biodynamically, and to tiny yields--he harvests about one-third to half the Merlot per acre compared to neighboring estates.
Bellevue's Merlot vines were planted in 1970, and Bellevue is a superb example of how elegant Merlot can be. This wine has a smoky, meaty bouquet with silky smooth black fruit. It's classically structured, with mature tannins and gorgeous red fruit. Drink now-2012.
Suggested Food Pairings:
Lamb chops, simply grilled with a side dish of polenta and a dollop of Taleggio on top. A Pyrenees sheep's milk cheese like Ossau Iraty or a Spanish mountain cheese like Ros would be great as well.