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ANGELUS AFFECTED BY FROST

Everything in the vineyard had been been in the best possible shape up till now. It gave us an early glimpse of the potential 2017 crop. After a normal bud-break, spring brought mild temperatures and vine vegetation growth accelerated, while the formation of bunches was 10 days early.  

Unfortunately, the wine region of Bordeaux was severely hit by frost during the nights of the 26th and 27th April, Angélus included. Although 80% of the vines at Angélus dedicated to the First Wine are undamaged, the impact is nevertheless quite significant.  

The 2017 harvest will therefore not be abundant. However we will muster all the necessary energy and all our resources to make the little wine we will produce in 2017 of outstanding quality.  

If we look back over the history of our region, we are reminded that if a spring frost affects the abundance of the harvest, it does not necessarily reduce quality. The glorious vintages of 1945 and 1961, when the initial weather conditions were similar to what we have just experienced, are two shining examples.  

"Unstinting efforts ensure the successful completion of all work." Virgil. 

 

Could Cabernet Franc be one of our oldest grape varieties?

 

In his ampelographical treatise of 1909, P. Viala stated that the etymology of its name and its synonyms go way back in history and referred to a scholar of the 17th century called Petit Lafitte, who appeared to claim that the Vidure (the Petite Vidure or the Grosse Vidure)-its Bordeaux name, was the ancestor of the Biturica. He bases his opinion on the hypothesis that the word Vidure may come from the word Bidure, then Biturica. It was from the 19th century that the Cabernet Franc could be found in written works.

In 1829, in his “Classification of the Wines of Bordeaux and Specific Grape Varieties”, the wine broker M. Paguierre found it to be “delicate with a bright deep colour and with superior flavour”. Then in 1855, in “Vine-growing, Vinification and Wine” by M. d’Armailhacq, an article by the Count Odart stated that the wine it produces is “fine, full of bouquet and long-ageing”. At this time already, specific reference was being made to the very notion of terroir and the nature of the soils. He also wrote that “according to the spot where it was planted, the results were different: on limestone soils the wine was outstanding; on gravel over clay subsoil it produced a wine that was rich in colour and long ageing; on light sands the wine was light and had limited ageing potential; in tuff the wines were of no interest, it was flat and colourless”. In other words, the place where it was planted and its supply of water were of great importance. We are also told that the wine of this variety “keeps for a very long time and gains in bouquet and delicacy over 12 to 15 years… and it can keep well up to 20 years”.

 

In 1868, Cocks et Ferret described it as having “ leaves which were comparable to those of the Cabernet Sauvignon, they are slightly less fine and less shiny, their indentations are a little less deep; its canes are long and covered with light brown-greyish bark, which led to its name Cabernet Gris. Its bunches are less long than those of the Cabernet Sauvignon, its fruit is very flavoursome”. In 1874, in his treatise on grape varieties, Count Odart said that the wine it produced in suitable terroir was “ fine, full of bouquet and long-ageing”. He added that “ it was one of the plants in Gironde that had the reputation of producing one of the most distinguished wines when the fruit reaches complete ripeness”.

In 1886, again in Cocks et Ferret, we can read that the wine is “light in colour when it leaves the vat and that it becomes darker after three or four months”, a fact that we witness today during each of our vinifications.

The Cabernet Franc has numerous synonyms. According to “Synonymy of Ampelography” by the INRA, it can correspond to different origins and types: Achéria –the Basque country, Arrouya – the Jurançon region, Bouchet or Gros Bouchet – around Libourne, Bouchey or Boubet – the Adour basin, Breton – the Loire valley, Capbreton rouge and Messange rouge – the Landes sands, Gouhaort – Madiran, Noir dur – Loiret, Grosse Vidure and Carmenet – the Bordeaux area, Véronais – Saumur, Cabernet Gris and Petit Fer – around Libourne, Carbouet – Bazas area.

P. Galet, in “Grape Varieties and Vineyards of France” described it in 1962 as a “ small producer”. Jancis Robinson, in her1986 book on grape varieties wrote, “ it participates in Saint-Emilion in the production of absolutely superb wines. Its aromas are of raspberries, violets and pencil shavings”. She reminds us that a report dating from the 18th century, quoted by Professor Enjalbert, considered it particularly well adapted to the Libourne vineyards.

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History

Château Angelus is one of the largest and most prestigious St-Emilion estates and was promoted to1er grand cru classé status in the 1996 St-Emilion reclassification. Since 2012 ranked Premier grand cru classé (A) in the Classification of Saint-Émilion wine. Passionately managed for over four generations, Angelus is owned and run by two cousins, Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, andJean-Bernard Grenie and is located in the centre-west of the St-Emilion appellation, due west of St-Emilion town.

Angelus's vineyards, 57.8 acres, situated less than a kilometer away from the famous St Emilion steeple, enjoys a perfect southerly-exposed slope - Cabernet Franc (which makes up 48% of the blend) is grown at the bottom of the slope, where the soil is sandier and warmer, while the Merlot(50% of the blend) is grown in the limestone-rich clay soils at the top of the slope. The wine is matured in 100% new oak for 18 months. Rich, concentrated and complex, Angelus needs at least five years of bottle age before it should be approached.

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Vineyards

What makes a great “terroir”? It is much more complex than you might think. It is not just the land, the earth, its natural capacity to drain away water and retain humidity – limestone or clay – the proportion of different elements in it that make it warm or cold soil, rich or poor ground, well-balanced or lacking. It is also the way it is exposed at the head of a valley, on a slope or at the foot of a hill, which creates little places that can be absolutely outstanding.

 

The vineyard at AngОlus resides in a natural amphitheatre on a south-facing slope of Saint-Emilion and at its foot, where the summer temperatures are concentrated and where growth starts earlier. The soil is naturally drained by the slope. A good distribution of limestone and clay (between 8 and 20%) provides a regular supply of water and minerals. The vines’ rootstocks areideally suited to this “terroir” and the vine varieties are distributed according to the soil types: Merlot on the hill, where there is more clay and Cabernet Franc on the sandy clay-limestone soils at the foot of the hill.

 

Surface area : 23.4 hectares (58 acres) in one single block
Situation : On the south-facing slope of Saint-Emilion, on the famous “pied de côte” (foot of the slope)
Soils : Clay-limestone in the high part, clay-sand-limestone on the hillside slopes.
Density of plantation : 6,500 to 7,500 plants per hectare
Grape varieties : 50% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon
Average age of the vines : 30 years
Pruning technique : “Girondine”, leaving two canes
Vineyard management : Vines are grown in the traditional manner. Some of the rows are seeded with grass. Debudding, then crop thinning in summer
Harvesting : 100% by hand. The grapes are sorted on the vine and on three sorting tables at the cellar
De-stemming : 100%
Annual crop yield : 30 to 35 hectolitres per hectare

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Winemaking

Cabernet Franc is cultivated lovingly, defended, respected and admired. On some of the greatest Saint-Emilion estates, Cabernet Franc covers a large proportion of the vines grown. At Angelus, it is not the majority grape variety, but accounts for 47% of the total vineyard and the Cabernet Franc vines are on average more than 30 years old.

 

Balanced and long-keeping:  At Angelus, this variety has always been popular. It is strongly represented on the estate and makes an important contribution to the blends of the prestigious Saint-Emilion wines that grow on the south-facing slope and in the gravelly soils next door to Pomerol. In the Angelus vineyard, Cabernet Franc is grown on warm soils made up of sandy limestone scree lying on top of clay that benefit naturally from a regular water supply. Cabernet Franc vines reach their peak at 20 years old and the most spectacular results are achieved with fruit from vines older than 40 with low yields.

 

The wines are slow to open up, but they are amongst the most intriguing and the most refined. Their colour becomes more intense during ageing, the menthol, spicy aromas are impressively elegant and subtle. The tannins are dense, but silky and bring the necessary fresh notes to achieve overall balance. Cabernet Franc enhances the ageing of the greatest wines.

 

OEnologist : Hubert de Boüard de Laforest

Fermentation : In temperature controlled stainless steel, concrete and oak vats at 28 to 32°C
Maceration : 2 to 4 weeks
Running off : The wine is run off the skins directly into 100% new oak barrels
Blending : Selection and blending of batches after the first summer of ageing
Annual production : Château Angélus – 1st Classified Growth: 90,000 bottles on average, i.e. 7,500 cases
Ageing : 18 to 24 months in new barrels
Fining : Generally no fining, otherwise traditional with egg white
Bottling : At the Château, 20 to 26 months after the harvest
Distribution : All over the world through the Bordeaux market

 

 

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Wine Moments

Here you can see wine moments from tastingbook users.    or    to see wine moments from your world.

 Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  6 wines  from  Château Angelus . In a tasting of  34 wines 

The Smith Haut Lafitte 2018 Blanc is composed of 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sémillon and 5% Sauvignon Gris, aging in 50% new oak barriques. It features intense scents of lime leaves, pink grapefruit, white peaches and green mango with hints of yuzu, lemon meringue pie, crushed rocks and coriander seed. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is laden with energetic citrus and stone fruit layers, with a satiny texture and bold freshness, finishing long and mineral laced.


“2018 was quite a difficult year because of the wetness, wetness, wetness,” Smith Haut Lafitte’s winemaker Fabien Teitgen sighed. “We are organic growers, so we lost a bit to mildew. May to mid-June, it was very depressing. But the abrupt change in the weather was amazing. The very dry, sunny conditions gave fantastic evolution of the grapes. The berries were very fresh and fruity with thick skins." "We are very focused on the sorting," Teitgen continued. "We pick by hand, do an initial sorting using a vibrating table and then finish the sorting by hand. There was more work to be done on sorting the Merlot. We used no stems this year. We had enough tannin in the skins this year, so we didn’t use the stems. Then, we had to take great care with the extraction. We just focused on extracting the round tannins, none of the harsh tannins. We had to stop fermentation as soon as we detected any bitterness.” Average yields for the vintage were 21 hectoliters per hectare for the reds and 28 hectoliters per hectare for the whites. Tiny quantities, but the wines—and the grand vin in particular—are simply stunning.

10d 10h ago

 Pekka Nuikki / Founder of the Fine Wine Magazines, Pro (Finland)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Angelus . In a tasting of  13 wines 

DRC La Tâche 1955 / Decanted for one hour. Deep colour, already mature at the edges. Immensely aromatic, wild meaty bouquet that reached all corners of the nose. Intensive and rich on the palate. Delicate flavours of coffee, truffles and violets. Not very robust or multi-dimensional wine but has a lovely sweetness of soft tannins and fruit at the end. A very satisfactory Burgundy from this ordinary vintage.

2m 14d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Angelus . In a tasting of  51 wines 

1998 Château Cheval Blanc; Ruby, pink rim, floral, violets, mint, layered, again impossible to describe fully. Close to perfect balance, playfull and stil relaxed acidity. tannins soft, stunning texture, mouthwatering, just ads and ads with air, incredible length, never ending, I keep raising the score on this as it keeps unlocking more and more secrets. I wish I had cases of this one. 98


Served blind, I was sure it was Petrus, as was most of the table. Wine of the evening!

2m 17d ago

 Neal Martin, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Angelus . In a tasting of  27 wines 

The 1985 Léoville Las Cases is not just one of the finest vintages from this Second Growth, but one of the high points for the entirety of Bordeaux in this decade. Here it eclipses the 1985 Lafite-Rothschild with ease. It has an exquisitely defined bouquet of red berry fruit infused with crushed stone and pressed rose petals, just like before. Ethereal. The palate is medium-bodied, a perfect marriage of structure and a degree of elegance that maybe the property has not matched before or since. It’s so, so harmonious on the finish. An absolute beauty. Tasted at Hameau de Barbaron in Burgundy.

5m 11d ago

 Stuart Pigott, Wine Writer (United Kingdom)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Angelus . In a tasting of  22 wines 

Château Haut Brion 2009 / Extravagant and exotic, but still lively, this is a super-concentrated and elegant wine that's already breathtaking, yet has enormous aging potential. Plenty of wet earth and mushroom character alongside the cassis and blackberry aromas. Super-long, perfectly balanced finish. Drink or hold. (Horizontal Tasting, London, 2019) 100 points

5m 13d ago

 Christer Byklum , Wine Writer (Norway)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Angelus . In a tasting of  28 wines 

2000 Bouchard Pere et Fils La Romanée / Bright ruby, garnet rim. Fruity nose, red berries, vanilla, some sous bois and leather, elegant nose, evolving. Fresh acidity, ripe tannins, slightly leaner palate, refreshing, could be more nuanced, long. 93

6m 13d ago

 Izak Litwar , Wine Writer (Denmark)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Angelus . In a tasting of  23 wines 

1971 Bordeaux vertical tasting - 1971 vintage in Bordeaux followed after highly acclaimed 1970 vintage. Spring was rather cold and damp. Good sunny and warm weather arrived in June and stayed until harvest was finished. Small yields compared with big harvest in 1970. Wines on Right Bank did better than in 1970, while Left Bank did more or less opposite thing.
Generally, wines tasted below (except white D.D.Chevalier) did very well despite age certificate saying 48 years old, with some real surprises. Several wines have still at least 10 years more of eventful life.
Tasting was semi-blind, meaning we didn’t know in which order wines showed up in flights and there were 3 additional wines served blind (Giscours, Charmes Chambertin and Filhot).  Tasting started with white D.d.Chevalier 1971.It had a touch of madeira over it, otherwise it tasted OK. Quick consumption strongly recommended! 86p.

6m 22d ago

 Jeb Dunnuck, Wine Writer (United States)  tasted  3 wines  from  Château Angelus . In a tasting of  20 wines 

Château Palmer 2016 / The finest vintage I’ve ever tasted from this estate, surpassing the 2009 and 2010, the 2016 Château Palmer is a blend of 47% each of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, with the balance Petit Verdot, all of which was brought up in 65% new French oak. This magical effort reveals a saturated purple color as well as a huge nose of crème de cassis, graphite, crushed rocks, and spring flowers, and it develops beautifully with time in the glass. Full-bodied, deep, incredibly concentrated and powerful, it nevertheless just glides over the palate with flawless purity and balance, present, ripe tannins, and a finish that just won’t quit. This is Bordeaux at its most regal and classic. It will be drinkable with just 4-5 years of bottle age and keep for half a century.

7m 14d ago

 Laila Warner, Sommelier (United States)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Angelus . In a tasting of  20 wines 

The 2018 L'Evangile is composed of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. The Merlot was harvested September 19 to October 2, and the Cabernet Franc was harvested September 25 to October 1.


This is a dense, generous wine with fine fruit and concentrated tannins. I find lots of acidity here but also a solid base of tannins. It has a good, long-term future.

8m 5d ago

 Christoffer Wahlberg, Wine Producer (France)  tasted  2 wines  from  Château Angelus . In a tasting of  16 wines 

Château Trotanoy 1961 / Very deep, clear red colour. Intensive complex nose with some development.
Fresh mint, dark chocolate, cassis and roasted coffee beans.
Full-bodied taste with vividly pronounced acidity, meaty rich and ripe tannins and intense fruit of blackcurrants.
Very long finish with a robust and muscular edge.
Very youthful and energic wine that will last well over ten years from now. 95 Points

9m 15d ago

 Sho-Chieh Tsiang / Sommelier, Pro (China)  tasted  1 wines  from  Château Angelus . In a tasting of  18 wines 

Château Lafite 2009 from Bordeaux 2009 vintage tasting: Nicely open nose, with an alluring whiff of cocoa that lures you in before disappearing into the core of steeped plum, roasted fig and blackberry coulis notes. Black tea and loam elements fill in on the long and expansive finish. This seems to be lying in wait for what could be a very long time in the cellar before unfurling fully. But already very enjoyable!

10m 2d ago

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