Château Bel-Air Marquis d’Aligre is emblematic of old-school Bordeaux. A far cry from the region’s increasingly identikit, modern style, these wines offer a taste of a bygone era.
Octogenarian Jean-Pierre Boyer farms 5ha of traditional Bordeaux varieties – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec – in Vire-Fougasse, two kilometres west of the village of Margaux. These meticulously farmed, low-yielding vines preserve some of the appellation’s oldest parcels, as well as ancient strains and forgotten varieties.
Little has changed in Jean-Pierre’s 72 vintages. Finding contemporary Bordeaux to be showy and superficial, he has proudly stuck to his artisanal approach to produce gloriously fragrant and exceptionally long-lived wines. With pure fruit and complex tertiary notes, these are some of the ultimate expressions of unadulterated Left Bank terroir.
Jean-Pierre eschews the en primeur market, preferring to hold back bottles in his own cellar until they are ready to drink. As such, the château has been a reliable source of well-priced, mature wine to those in the know. However, with no one to take over the estate, its future is uncertain.
With Bordeaux’s increasingly uncompromising prices and corporate affectations, Bel-Air Marquis d’Aligre represents one of the last of its kind – Margaux as it should be.
Bel-Air Marquis d’Aligre 2001 Sold out
Pure and open, with sweet redcurrant, tobacco and black pepper notes. Mid-weight and poised. From a vintage that was neither too hot nor too cold, 2001 is an often overlooked, ‘classic Claret’ vintage.
Bel-Air Marquis d’Aligre 1996 Sold out
Beautifully evolved, showing smoke and leather, mushroom and game alongside some supple autumnal fruit. A first-rate vintage for Cabernet, showing equal parts drinking pleasure and longevity.
Bel-Air Marquis d’Aligre 1995 Sold out
Expressive and charming, with savoury nuances not dissimilar to fine mature Burgundy. 1995 offers succulent red cherry and suave, earthy complexity that will certainly reward further ageing.
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