Angelus Makes `Classical' 2015 Vintage as Saint Emilion Shines

  • Wines benefited from summer heat, optimal harvest conditions
  • De Bouard consulting business has expanded internationally

Chateau Angelus, a Bordeaux wine estate whose origins date back to 1782, produced a 2015 vintage that Managing Director Stephanie de Bouard-Rivoal described as “classical” as it consolidated its status among the top four ranked producers of the Saint Emilion appellation.

Interviewed at the estate during tastings in Bordeaux last month, she said the wine showed “complexity, and at the same time a lot of fruit,” with “a big aromatic palate, and freshness.” Wine critics including the Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin have highlighted the overall quality of Saint Emilion wines in 2015, with the upper end of his 95-97 point score for Angelus representing the estate’s highest Wine Advocate rating since 2010.

Chateau Angelus, a wine estate in Bordeaux’s Saint-Emilion region.

Photographer: Guy Collins/Bloomberg

Chateau Angelus originated when Jean de Bouard de Laforest settled in Saint Emilion in the years just prior to the French Revolution. The current property took shape during the 20th century, when the family’s Chateau Mazerat estate absorbed a neighboring plot of vines known as L’Angelus. It was run for the past three decades by Hubert de Bouard de Laforest, with his daughter Stephanie returning in 2012 to take charge.

The 2015 vintage “can be compared to 2001 for the extremely fine tannins, 1998 for the delicate structure and perhaps 2005 for the explosive aromatic palate,” she said. “The merlot brings a lot of fruit freshness.”

A hot June and July was followed by rain in August that helped the vines, and then favorable weather throughout the harvest gave flexibility to pick grapes at the optimum time.

Martin described the 2015 Angelus as “compelling” in a tasting note published on the website. “The palate is medium-bodied but powerful,” he wrote, with “svelte tannins and a keen thread of acidity.” Martin has taken over from Robert Parker as the Wine Advocate’s Bordeaux critic.

Premier Cru

Angelus was promoted to the top status of Premier Grand Cru Classe A in the Saint Emilion classification of 2012, elevating it with Chateau Pavie alongside Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc to recognize it as one of the top four producers in the appellation. The new rankings replaced a classification in force since 1996.

Angelus’s 2012 wine, marketed in a specially-designed black and gold bottle to mark the promotion, sells for 2,640 pounds ($3,850) per 12-bottle case, according to data from the London-based Liv-ex wine market, while its 2010 is priced at 2,591 pounds and its 2009 at 2,800 pounds. More recent vintages sell for less, such as the 2014, priced at 1,728 pounds, and the 2013, available for 1,696 pounds.

De Bouard said that he is now devoting an increasing amount of time to the consulting business, Hubert de Bouard Consulting, which spans about 80 wineries. “I have South Africa, Lebanon, Spain, Portugal,” he said during the tastings. “Twice a year each. It’s a big schedule.”

The vineyards covered by his consultancy, while focused originally around Saint Emilion and its satellites, now span other Bordeaux appellations including Saint Estephe, Pauillac and Margaux as well as international parts of the business. “It’s my passion,” he said.

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