Château Angelus 2015
On the label of every bottle of Château Angélus is the picture of a bell. This Saint-Émilion Premiere Grand Cru Classé A estate is situated in a natural amphitheater, surrounded by three local churches. The property’s namesake is derived from the close proximity to these spiritual houses of worship. During the harvest, vineyard workers can hear the church bells toiling while they tend to the vines. But there’s a deeper meaning to the symbol of the bell: it also represents the spiritual and priestlike devotion the eight generations of the Boüard family have to the vines at this property. The Boüard who currently runs the estate - Stephanie de Boüard-Rivoal - puts it best. She says, “We are only the guardians of a history that presided us and will survive us, so our role is to sustain it in the best conditions we are able to achieve.”
Château Angélus is one of the few estates in Bordeaux that has been run by the same family since its inception. The Boüard family has an even longer history than Château Angélus, as their legacy spans 700 years. Château Angélus was always a respectable property in Saint-Émilion, but once Hubert de Boüard took over after graduating from Bordeaux University and studying under the famed professor Émile Peynaud, quality skyrocketed. Throughout the generations, the Boüard family business was always deeply entrenched in the wine trade. So much, in fact, that one of the original names of Cabernet Franc was Bouchet, the maiden name of Hubert de Boüard’s Grandmother, Elizabeth Bouchet.
Admittedly, the quality of the wines at Château Angélus were underperforming in the early 1980s. But once Hubert de Boüard brought forth some revolutionary techniques from Burgundy, things started to change. Hubert made adjustments to the fermentation process, choosing to ferment whole berry in open top vats and conduct malolactic fermentation in small barrels instead. He made sure the estate would harvest parcel by parcel – like the vignerons of Burgundy did – and encouraged periods of ageing their wines on the lees. This would mean the wines would have more exposure to the yeast cells, yielding a creamier mouthfeel. Many estates have emulated Château Angélus’ viticultural techniques, and though these practices may seem commonplace today they were revolutionary at the time of introduction at the estate.
Stephanie de Boüard-Rivoal took over managing the Château Angélus in 2012, which was a very big year for the property. In 2012, Château Angélus was promoted to Saint-Émilion Premiere Grand Cru Classés A – the highest honor an estate can obtain in that part of the Right Bank. Since then, Stephanie has championed the transition of Château Angélus to organic viticulture. She is the third woman in the long line of Boüards to run the estate and has managed to move the property to 100% organic farming as of 2018. As of 2021, Château Angélus received its organic certification. Stephanie says the vineyards give her emotional and spiritual strength. She shares her ancestors’ devotion to crafting some of the most profound wines on the Right Bank.
“'Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2015 Angélus is a little closed to begin, soon blossoming into a wonderfully fragrant perfume of raspberry preserves, ripe black plums and chocolate-covered cherries with suggestions of Darjeeling tea, candied violets, spice cake and cinnamon stick with a touch of aniseed. Full-bodied, the palate is fabulously opulent, delivering mouth-coating black and red fruit layers with loads of floral sparkles and a seductively velvety texture, finishing with great length and tension." - Lisa Perotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate (10/22/2020), Ratings: 97, Drink: 2023-2050
"The 2015 Angelus is a blend of 62% Merlot and 38% Cabernet Franc, picked from 22 September finishing on 14 October. "We found a nice homogeneity with the Merlot lots," I was told when I visited. "The old Cabernet Franc was very nice, but the younger vines were blended into the second label. This year, it is especially the Merlot that lends a lot of harmony to the wine. This year, the Merlot have some of the qualities of the Cabernet Franc, the precision and freshness. They give the generosity and sweetness." The wine was aged in 100% new oak at 11 degrees Celsius so they could add less sulfur to keep the freshness of the aromas and maintain the elegance of the wine. It offers a complex array of aromas such as black cherry, camphor, oyster shells and Japanese nori, beautifully defined and very focused. The palate is medium-bodied but powerful with layer of svelte tannins and a keen thread of acidity; layers of black fruit laced with spices, baking powder, mint and white pepper. It feels long in the mouth, insistently clinging for a minute after the wine has departed. Oh là là. This is a sexy, but compelling Angelus, fit for "007" and wine-lovers everywhere." - Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate (4/27/2016, Issue 224), Ratings: 95-97, Drink: 2025-2060
"A vintage that favoured St-Émilion, and they have made the most of it at Angélus. There are signals of a hot year in the black cherry, cinnamon and fresh fig notes, given depth and complexity with cassis, cigar box, crushed stone and a freshly-crushed mint leaf finish, along with a tingling minerality that cuts through the exuberance and concentration of the vintage. Harvest September 22 to October 14. New cellar as of 2014 also." - Jane Anson, Decanter (9/29/2020), Ratings: 96, Drink: 2024-2045
"A total blockbuster is the 2015 Angelus and it’s reminiscent of a slightly more elegant 2009. Made from 62% Merlot and 38% Cabernet Franc brought up in new barrels, this rich, opulent beauty boast killer notes of blackcurrants, blackberry liqueur, truffle, chocolate and scorched earth. With full-bodied richness, building, ripe tannin and a stacked profile on the palate, this hedonistic Bomb of a wine from Hubert de Boüard needs 4-5 years of cellaring and will keep for three decades or more." - Jeb Dunnuck (11/30/2017) Rating: 97+, Drink: 2022-2052
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