The 2021 Bélair-Monange was picked September 28 to October 2. It has an atypically ostentatious bouquet for the vintage – kirsch, blue fruit, a touch of violet petals – that needs to muster a little more delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with slightly chewy tannins, fine acidity and good substance, yet it clamps down toward the strict, linear finish. This does not have the persistence of the 2019 or 2020, and tasting the bottle twice (returning later on in the day for a different take), I cannot help but feel this top-ranking Saint-Émilion is struggling to nail down its identity this season. It’s definitely one I wish to revisit in the future to see whether I caught it at an inopportune moment.
Anticipated maturity: 2029-2052