Château Angélus, Saint-Emilion

I had the opportunity to go to Château Angélus in Saint-Emilion a few times over the last months and wasn’t disappointed.

A family owned vineyard since the end of the 18th century (8 generations), Château Angélus is one of the best wines in the appellation. Located on the south hill of Saint-Emilion, the 23 hectares (57 acres) estate has been promoted to Premier Grand Cru Classé A in 2012 along with Ausone, Cheval Blanc and Pavie, to form the top 4 wines in the appellation.

The vines are planted on clay-limestone soils on the upper part while it gets more sandy on the hillside. There are 3 kinds of grape varieties in Angélus : Merlot (50%), Cabernet-Franc (47%) and Cabernet-Sauvignon (3%).

I was reading recently on a newspaper that a journalist contests and criticizes the vineyard’s promotion to Premier Grand Cru Classé A in 2012. I don’t know much about that story, however there is one thing that I do know : when it comes to the taste, Angélus is a high quality wine (although it is probably a step below the two “legends” of the appellation Cheval-Blanc and Ausone with their classic and refined style-style that I absolutely love).

Back in November 2013, I took part in a great vertical tasting at the Château, which really helped me understand a little more the characteristics of this wine. The main one is the flesh and structure of its body, something you will find in this bottle year after year with a lot of consistency. Broad shoulders are the main characteristic of Angélus. There is also a pronounced ripe fruit character in this wine, which comes partly from its warm terroir and partly from the owner’s vision. I believe the big proportion of Cabernet-Franc in the blend is also one of the main reasons I appreciate this wine that much. The Cabernet Franc also helps the wine age gracefully.

Tasting review :

The tasting started with Le Carillon d’Angélus, the second wine of the Château from the 2011 vintage. Thereafter, I tasted Château Angélus 2011, followed by the amazing vintages 2009 and 2010.

– Le Carillon d’Angélus 2011 : A dark wine with a fruit dominant nose complemented by some animal notes. Very fruity, energetic and pleasant in the mouth. Better than many second labels in Bordeaux.

– Angélus 2009 : Fresh and elegant nose. Structured and fleshy, this wine is very elegant, with silky and refined tannins and a lot of taste. The finish is long and powerful. HIGH quality wine.

– Angélus 2010 : Fine and fresh nose, with floral notes absent in the previous one. On the palate, it is incredibly complex, voluptuous, with a lot of power and a silky flesh. Ends on a long finish and beautiful ripe aftertaste. A splendid wine. Might be superior to the 2009.

– Angélus 2011 : Although not as powerful as the 2 other ones, it is a very sophisticated wine with beautiful tannins, structure and balance. The finish is extremely refined and the long aftertaste is delicious. I actually love this style.

Does Angélus deserve to be among the top wines of the appellation? I believe so. Did it deserve to move up to the “A” category while Château Canon or Clos Fourtet remained with the “B”? That’s another question and I’m not sure yes is the right answer.