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Bordeaux 2019: Château Angélus et al

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

Hubert de Boüard de Laforest thinks their 2019 might just snip what he describes as their ‘baroque’ 2018 at Château Angélus. Certainly the wines are quite different. There is greater freshness in Angélus 2019, which has real focus on the palate and a suave quality to the tannins. It is fractionally lower in alcohol than 2018 [14.4% as opposed to 14.7%] and overall the impression is of a complete and classy grand vin. Carillon d’Angélus too looks super good. The emphasis is on the Merlot here and there is a terrific seam of black fruit running through the wine. The Number 3 is zappy and fresh with the accent on the fruit. Amongst the other proprietary wines that the de Boüards are behind, Château Bellevue is wonderful. Lashings of creamy black fruit hide a significant structure. In Lalande de Pomerol, Château La Fleur de Boüard is a delight, with plenty of fruit and zap, while sibling Le Plus is fantastically concentrated. Over in Montagne St Emilion I was particularly taken by a fine and savoury Dame de Boüard which impressed. It shows the beauty of the Cabernet, alongside the Merlot, in this vintage.

Angélus was tasted at a socially distanced event set up with professionalism at 67 Pall Mall in London. As the wines were poured, we ‘Zoom’ chatted to Hubert de Boüard de Laforest and Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal about the wines and the vintage. Hubert describes the vintage as ‘sexy, classic’ with ‘melted, elegant tannins.’ They both discussed the 2019 growing season, which was a drought year, but with important bouts of rain, particularly in late September which helped the final phenolic maturation of the grapes. Freshness was preserved with the alternation of hot days and cool nights as the growing season progressed, retaining aromatics and acidity. Overall this is shown in a pH in 2019 lower than 2018. Vintage comparisons are always tricky but Hubert discussed similarities with 2001 which was excellent on the Right Bank. For me 2019 is certainly closer to 2016 than 2018 in style.

Particularly impressive Château Bellevue in 2019

Given the run of vintages affected by drought and rising temperatures, we discussed the effects of climate change in Bordeaux. Stéphanie talked about how the number of extreme events had grown, with hail, frost and drought conditions being more frequent. Such events always happened in the past ‘but now it is every other year,’ Stéphanie said. In terms of creeping heat and drought in the region, they see a greater proportions of Cabernet Franc as, ‘part of the answer.’ Obviously, this decision is also affected by the specific nature of individual terroirs and soil types. Certainly, the Cabernet Franc succeeded extremely well in 2019. It forms the backbone of Angélus in what immediately appears to be another excellent vintage here.

Excellent de Boüard Lalande de Pomerols in 2019

The following notes were taken at the Pall Mall tasting in late May. These are augmented by notes taken on samples sent to me in early June. It is worth mentioning that I’m tasting all the wines this year with two months further barrel development than usual. It’s fascinating. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the wines are correspondingly more complete than usual. Hope you find the notes [and numbers] useful.

Château Angélus, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘A’, 2019

Vibrant and dense – looks glossy; black fruits on the nose; very focused; lots of depth; opens up well. This is classy; lovely entry – rather suave; saline notes – great polish here as usual and lovely purity; compact in the middle but with plenty of depth; long finish which echoes the strength of the Cabernet Franc. Works very well indeed. [27ha, 14.4% alc, 60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 28.5.20. Drink 2025-2045. 97-98+

Carillon d’Angélus, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2019

Vibrant in the glass; dark centre; rich seam of black fruit on the nose; very focused and layered; ripe black plums; lots of depth; good structure; this has stone fruit qualities; quite firm toward the finish; fresh palate; still needs to fill in; acidity is good and overall quite zappy. Moreish finish. [17ha 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted 28.5.20. Drink 2024-2037. 92-93+

No 3 Angélus, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2019

Mid depth; lighter at core than Carillon; very pretty aromatics with elegant stone fruits; Stéphanie says they ferment cooler [23C v 27-28C for the grand vin] with gentle extraction to emphasize the fruit; also no new oak [50% one year and the remainder in steel]. This results in a lively wine with plenty of life and freshness; refreshing and zappy finish. [5ha, 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted 28.5.20. Drink 2023-2028. 90-91+

Château Bellevue, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2019

Deep; purple red at edge; legs; lovely fragrant Merlot on the nose; such joy; has freshness; depth; enticing; creamy black cherry fruit; a beauty; lovely stuff aromatically; sweet entry on the palate which has structure and is oak influenced; full; ripe fruit; cherry and black fruits again; not over dense and has delicacy; length; not remotely tiring; lovely texture to the tannins on the finish. Impressive. [6.82 ha 100% Merlot]. Tasted 5/6/20. Drink 2024-2040. 93-95+

Château Daugay, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2019

Deep black/red; purple at edge; legs; more on the red fruit spectrum for me; ripe raspberry and redcurrants; some spices and undergrowth notes [23% Cabernets]; lovely entry; red fruits; some lift; quite easy on the mid palate; caressing; soft tannin; perhaps lacks some definition in the mid palate and has an easy, soft finish. Feels ready to drink almost. [9.69 ha, 77% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 8% Cabernet Franc]. Drink 2023-2035. 90-92+

Château La Fleur de Boüard, Lalande de Pomerol, 2019

Deeply coloured; dark at centre; glossy; bright and jolly Merlot on the nose; perfume; juicy; stylish and vibrant aromatically; lovely fresh black cherry notes; little liquorice; lovely sweet entry; fruit and texture is quite delicious – I love this ‘straight’ bottling; more savoury tones on the palate [13% Cabernets]; structure too; but this is very nicely judged and has super finesse; at the top of the Lalande de Pomerol tree for me. Lovely finish with fine texture to the tannins. Espresso notes on the finish. [33ha, 85% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot] Tasted 5/6/20. Drink 2023-2035. 91-92+

Le Plus de la Fleur de Boüard, Lalande de Pomerol, 2019

Deeper still than La Fleur; fraction more purple at the edge; deeper aromatics; powerful; layers here; substantial wine [as ever] fruit is beautiful; little more tar and liquorice notes; creamy black cherry notes open up on aeration; some spice from the oak though this all feels soaked up by the fruit; integrated and powerful palate; lovely fruit; really caressing; loads of it; not in the slightest bit over extracted but this has fab depth; nicely integrated; this is epic Le Plus for me; has nice tightness on the finish which adds a note of [comparative] restraint and the story comes together. Super length. I really ‘get’ Le Plus this year. [2ha, 100% Merlot]. Tasted 5/6/20. Drink 2025-2040. 94-95+

Château Clos de Boüard, Montagne St Emilion, 2019

Deep and saturated looking; opaque at core; colour tight to rim; purple edge; fresh sweet fruit; perfumed and lifted; black cherry, some spice; lovely joyful merlot [85% of the blend] super juicy; fleshy; plenty of matter on the palate; super juicy fruit; some zap to it too; lots of matter; tannins ripe; has been worked but not over extracted; warm finish suggests alcohol; juicy finish with some oak on the end. [30ha, 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted 2/6/20. Drink 2023-2028. 90-91+

Dame de Boüard, Montagne St Emilion, 2019

Similar depth; deep and saturated looking; little firmer aromatics; tighter, more restraint but there is a lot of fruit here; creamy cabernet aromatics open up [40% of the blend]; slightly savoury, saline edge but with the black cherry and dark chocolate notes behind; some new wood to integrate but plenty of fruit enveloping it; sweet entry; lovely texture on the entry; plenty of oomph but this is nicely handled on the palate; nice chew to the tannins on the end; quite a bit of chew; savoury finish. Again, impressively serious and quite long. Looks like a lovely vintage here. [30ha, 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted 2/6/20. Drink 2023-2032 91-92+

Dame de Boüard really impressed

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