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Bordeaux Primeurs 2013: Château Angélus

Written by JW. Posted in Bordeaux

IMG_5674Château Angélus has particularly fine terroir in St Emilion with south facing sun exposure. It looks to have produced a very good wine in 2013. There’s composure and depth to Angélus and seductive violet tinged aromatics. There’s some weight and density here too and it all adds up to a pretty complete effort.

There’s been a somewhat perfunctory drop in price this year. Angélus released at 165 euros a bottle, 8% down, but that comes off the back of a gravity-defying price rise in 2013. This reflected desire of the property to stake its price to its recent promotion in late 2012 to join the ranks of Château Ausone and Château Cheval Blanc, along with Château Pavie in the Premier Grand Cru Classé ‘A’ category. Pavie and Angélus now appear to price in tandem. Quite what you make of all this depends on your point-of-view and the size of your wallet. With smaller volumes on the right bank too, the laws of supply and demand are perhaps more in the favour of the producer and luxury pricing. Still, I’d be interested to find out how much Angélus 2013 really does get sold through to the consumer this year.

Prices aside, there’s no doubting the brilliance of the wines here at Angélus in recent years or of the abilities of its leading architect Hubert de Boüard de Laforest. There’s also no doubting the stunning quality of the terroir here or the beauty of the new cellar and property additions either if you get a chance to visit the chateau itself.

The 2013 Angélus was made from low-ish yields [26/27 hl/ha]. The wet and cool weather during the early part of the growing cycle caused flower shatter that led to partial crop failure [coulure] and mixed size berries [millerandage] as elsewhere. The property reports that July and August were particularly sunny and dry, providing good conditions for the now small harvest to develop properly. They also practiced a green harvest in August, trimming off grapes unlikely to make it to full maturity, so as to speed up the phenolic ripening of the remaining fruit. Vintage conditions were humid the property had three sorting tables lined up to reject those berries that were unripe or botrytis affected.

The results speak for themselves. Angélus is an impressive effort in the circumstances. There is still some new oak to resolve on the end palate but there seems to be a more than sufficient volume of fruit in the wine. Carillon is considerably lighter, made in a pretty, delicate style. The wines were tasted at Château Angélus on Wednesday April 2, 2014.

Château Angélus, St Emilion, Premier Grand Cru Classé A

Dark and deep looking; purple at edge; very seductive aromatics; black fruits, violet lift; very focused and composed; spice and plum tones; very focused and tight knit; palate quite full with plenty of material; some plum tones and fresh fruit characters; plenty of material; touch of wood on the palate at the end with chew at the back. Promising effort.[62% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Franc, 26-27hl/ha yields]. Drink 2020-2030. 91-93+

Carillon D’Angélus, St Emilion Grand Cru

Deepish, earthy purple at edge; attractive spicy aromatics; pretty nose; perfumed; soft entry, very easy palate and not at all forced; emphasis on the prettiness here; spicy qualities. Lightness of touch. Drink 2018-2024. [75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc]. 85-87

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