Château Beychevelle: A Timeless Elegance in Every Glass

Château Beychevelle: A Timeless Elegance in Every Glass.

Located within Bordeaux’s Saint-Julien appellation, Château Beychevelle stands as a testament to the region’s rich winemaking heritage. Recently, we had the pleasure of joining Erwan Le Brozec, Commercial Director of the château, Marie-Laure Decroix, Export Manager of Borie-Manoux (negociant), and Judith Poot, Director of Poot Agenturen (Dutch importer), for a tasting of various vintages at Restaurant Sinck in Amsterdam. The experience was extraordinary, offering a deep dive into the unique character and enduring appeal of Beychevelle wines.

The Legacy of Château Beychevelle

Situated in the prestigious Saint-Julien appellation, Château Beychevelle boasts a storied history dating back to the 16th century. The name “Beychevelle,” derived from the French “baissez la voile” or Gascon “bêcha vela” (lower the sail), pays homage to the maritime tradition of lowering sails in respect to the Admiral of France, who once owned the estate. This history is reflected in the emblematic griffon-adorned sailing ship that graces its labels.

Often referred to as the ‘Versailles of the Médoc,’ Château Beychevelle is renowned for its stunning castle and magnificent gardens. The estate spans 250 hectares, with 90 hectares dedicated to vineyards. The heart of the vineyard lies on two gravel plateaus of the Garonne, formed during the Güntz era—an ideal terroir for cultivating Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Château’s terroir is essential to its winemaking excellence. The gravelly soils, rich in minerals, combined with the moderating influence of the nearby Gironde estuary, create a unique microclimate perfect for growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. This terroir imparts a distinctive character to the wines, marked by elegance, complexity, and an ability to age gracefully over decades.

Embracing Tradition and Innovation

Erwan Le Brozec emphasized that while Beychevelle remains committed to its traditional style, recent advancements have refined winemaking methods. The new facilities at Beychevelle enable a more gentle and precise extraction process, preserving the fruit’s aromas and making the wines more accessible at a younger age without compromising their aging potential.

“We haven’t changed the style of Beychevelle,” Erwan explained. “What we’ve done is refine our methods. Our new facilities allow us to work with more gentle and precise extraction processes. This helps maintain the fruit’s aromas and makes our wines more accessible at a younger age, while still allowing them to age beautifully.”

Château Beychevelle , the ‘Versailles of the Médoc’.

The Wines

For this unique opportunity our hosts selected a number of vintages of their Grand Vin, Chateau Beychevelle, while starting with a wine from a neighbouring estate: Chateau Beaumont.

Château Beaumont 2016
Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois Superieur | 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot

We began with Château Beaumont, a neighboring estate under the same ownership. The 2016 vintage, composed of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 5% Petit Verdot, showcased a pure Médoc style. The wine was easy-drinking yet complex, with a balance of fruitiness, freshness, and silky tannins.

Erwan explained, “Château Beaumont is an estate next to Beychevelle, just 5 kilometers apart. It boasts a large plot of more than 100 hectares with sandy and deep gravel soils, perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. This vintage, with its pure Médoc style, offers a great balance of fruitiness, freshness, and silky tannins.”

Our rating: 88/100 DWA score.

The 1966-1996-2004-2014-2016 and 2021 vintages.

Château Beychevelle 2021

Saint-Julien, 4ème Grand Cru Classé | 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 3% Cabernet Franc

The 2021 vintage, a challenging year marked by a significant frost, demonstrated the resilience and skill of the Beychevelle team. With 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot, this young vintage is approachable now, offering juicy, fresh fruit flavors. Despite its youth, it promises greater complexity with age, reflecting the château’s commitment to producing wines that evolve beautifully over time.

“The 2021 vintage was particularly challenging due to the severe frost that affected Bordeaux,” Erwan noted. “However, the influence of the Gironde estuary helped us avoid significant losses. This vintage is young, juicy, and fresh, with great potential for aging.”

Our rating: 93/100 DWA score.

Château Beychevelle 2014

Saint-Julien, 4ème Grand Cru Classé | 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 51% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc

The 2014 vintage exemplified the classic Beychevelle style, with a nose rich in complexity and a palate that balanced crunchy, fresh fruit with great acidity. This vintage, characterized by a hot harvest period, allowed for perfect ripeness across all varietals. For those with the patience to cellar, the 2014 will continue to develop, enhancing its already impressive profile.

Erwan shared, “The 2014 vintage had a very hot harvest time, which was ideal for ripening the grapes. This vintage offers a lot of complexity in the nose and a palate with crunchy, fresh fruit and great acidity. It’s a wine that will only get better with age.”

Our rating: 92/100 DWA score.

Château Beychevelle 2004

Saint-Julien, 4ème Grand Cru Classé | Cabernet Sauvignon 46%, Merlot 42%, Cabernet Franc 7%, Petit Verdot 5%

The 2004 vintage is a classic example of Beychevelle’s enduring appeal. With a blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, this wine showcases a beautiful balance of structure and elegance. The nose is complex with notes of blackberry, cedar, and a hint of spice, while the palate offers refined tannins and a long, harmonious finish.

Erwan remarked, “The 2004 vintage is an excellent representation of Beychevelle’s style. It combines the robustness of Cabernet Sauvignon with the softness of Merlot, resulting in a wine that is both powerful and graceful. This vintage is drinking beautifully now but will continue to develop further complexity with additional cellaring.”

Our rating: 91/100 DWA score.

Château Beychevelle 1996

Saint-Julien, 4ème Grand Cru Classé | 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot

The 1996 vintage of Château Beychevelle is often celebrated for its remarkable longevity and depth. Predominantly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine features a bouquet of dark fruits, leather, and earthy undertones. On the palate, it is rich and full-bodied with well-integrated tannins and a persistent finish, showcasing the exceptional aging potential of Beychevelle.

Erwan highlighted, “The 1996 vintage is a standout for its depth and complexity. It’s a wine that embodies the best of Beychevelle, with layers of flavor that continue to evolve. This vintage has aged gracefully and still has many years of potential ahead.”

Our rating: 88/100 DWA score.

We finished this tasting with a nice surprise, provided by one of the guests, a tasting of the 1966 vintage of Château Beychevelle. Back in time the wines were bottled upon arrival in the country of destination, providing a ‘Dutch touch’ to it! The wine performed remarkably well which shows excellent storage but even more great quality being produced by the Château, even back in the time.

A Culinary Affair

Accompanying the wines was a thoughtfully curated menu by the team of Restaurant Sinck, enhancing the tasting experience. Highlights included a gazpacho with cucumber and green tomato paired with the 2021 Beychevelle, and a dish featuring daikon and artichoke that complemented the 2014 vintage, allowing the wines’ nuanced flavors to shine.

The lunch concluded with a selection of cheeses, each chosen to highlight different aspects of the wines’ profiles. The creamy, tangy cheeses brought out the fruity notes of the 2016 Château Beaumont, while the harder, aged cheeses emphasized the 2014 Château Beychevelle’s structured tannins and lingering finish.

Excellent lunch by the ‘Sinck-team’ including an ‘extra dessert’ from 1966.

The Market and Future Prospects

The discussion also touched upon the evolving global wine market. Château Beychevelle’s strategic partnerships with various negociants allow it to meet diverse market demands, maintaining a balance between immediate availability and long-term aging potential.

Erwan highlighted the importance of these partnerships: “Our relationships with negociants are crucial. They help us navigate the market and ensure that our wines are available to both new and established markets. By working closely with them, we can manage our stock effectively and ensure that our wines reach the right consumers.”


Château Beychevelle remains a beacon of excellence in Bordeaux, seamlessly blending history, tradition, and modern innovation. Our tasting experience underscored why Beychevelle continues to be a beloved name among wine enthusiasts worldwide. Each bottle tells a story of dedication to the craft, respect for the terroir, and an unwavering commitment to quality.

For those fortunate enough to savor Beychevelle wines, each sip is a journey through centuries of winemaking mastery, encapsulating the essence of Bordeaux in every glass.

This article is written by our own Niels Aarts. We would like to thank Poot Agenturen for their invitation, Château Beychevelle and Borie-Manoux for the great wines and Restaurant Sinck for the excellent lunch.