Château Angelus 2019
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.
"The 2019 Angélus bursts from the glass with a rich, dramatic nose of cherries, licorice, sweet spices and dark chocolate. Full-bodied, layered and vibrant, its broad and velvety attack segues into a layered, concentrated mid-palate that's underpinned by tangy acids and fine, powdery tannins, concluding with a long, penetrating finish. It's a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc. Its seamless, pure profile reflects the subtle shift chez Angélus away from the rich, toasty style of the 1990s and 2000s toward greater elegance and precision." - William Kelley, The Wine Advocate (4/7/2022), Ratings: 96, Drink: 2026-2055
"Composed of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc, the 2019 Angélus was harvested from the 13th of September until the 4th of October. Deep garnet-purple colored, it sashays out of the glass with gregarious scents of Morello cherries, lilacs, chocolate box and potpourri with a core of Black Forest cake, blueberry crumble, fragrant soil and menthol. Medium to full-bodied, the intensity on the palate builds from delicate, beguiling nuances with ethereal weight to a full-on fireworks display of flavor sparks, framed by fantastic freshness and very finely pixilated tannins, finishing long, layered and invigorating." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate (6/9/2020), Ratings: (97-99)
"Grilled oak notes, this is bursting with rich damson, blueberry and blackberry fruits. Stretches out slowly in the palate, showing nudges of liquorice, fennel, bitter chocolate and olive paste, coming in waves but each one taking its time. Great definition and purity of expression, with tannins that are confident but tender. This is less exuberant than the 2018, but it's built to age, and is a total knockout. 100% new oak, some in 30hl oak casks. Harvest September 24th til October 11th. As of 2018 part of the Cabernet Franc has been aged in 30hl oak casks, with the rest in barrel, 100% new oak. Penultimate vintage for technical director Emmanuelle Fulchi." - Jane Anson, Decanter, Ratings: 97, Drink: 2029-2048
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