A Grand Journey Through Château Angélus: A Comparative Tasting Experience

Nestled in the heart of Saint-Émilion on the right bank in Bordeaux, Château Angélus is not just a winery; it’s a legend. This prestigious château, dating back to the 18th century, stands as a beacon of unrivaled winemaking tradition in the Bordeaux region of France.

It was elevated to highest level Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) status in 2012, but has in 2022 decided to withdraw from the ranking system, which only adds to its mystique, underscoring a confidence in quality that transcends conventional accolades.

Château Angélus symbolizes the pinnacle of quality and excellence in the Saint-Émilion appellation. The estate is famed for its iconic bell, which rings to mark the start and end of the grape harvest, and this tradition has become a symbol of the winery’s deep connection to the land and its heritage.

I had the immense privilege of attending a tasting at Château Angélus, guided by Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal, the estate’s President and CEO, and Jane Anson, Decanter’s Bordeaux correspondent. This experience unfolded as a revelation of history, terroir, and grape varieties that define this illustrious estate. Six exceptional wines were featured, each providing a comprehensive insight into the soul of Château Angélus. 

A Tasting Journey of Distinction

Under the guidance of Stéphanie and Jane, we tasted six remarkable wines, each revealing a different facet of the château’s character.

The Vineyards: A Blend of Nature and Mastery

The south-facing slopes of the Château Angélus vineyards bask in optimal sunlight, playing a pivotal role in the creation of its rich and complex wines. Primarily cultivating Merlot and Cabernet Franc, the estate’s expert blending results in wines known for their depth, elegance, and potential for aging. The unique terroir, characterized by a rich clay and limestone soil composition, imparts a distinctive depth and complexity, allowing the grapes to flourish.

The tasting commenced with two vintages of Carillon d’Angélus, offering a prelude to the estate’s mastery.

2015 Carillon d’Angélus : This vintage charmed with its vibrant expression of fruit. The palate was greeted with flavors of ripe cherries and blackberries, interwoven with a subtle hint of spice. The tannins were supple, lending a smooth texture that made this wine both approachable and sophisticated.

My Rating: 4.2/5.0

2016 Carillon d’Angélus: A step up in complexity, the 2016 vintage presented a more structured character. It boasted a deeper concentration of flavors, with dark fruits like plum and cassis taking center stage, supported by a firmer tannic backbone. This wine promised a bright future with potential for further development in the cellar.

My Rating: 4.3/5.0

The core of the tasting featured four exceptional vintages of Château Angélus’ Grand Cru, each a narrative of its own.

2012 Château Angélus: A highlight of the evening, this wine was a masterpiece of balance and complexity. Its bouquet was a lush array of dark berries, complemented by hints of truffle and leather, indicative of its maturation. The palate was treated to layers of flavor, where velvety tannins danced with notes of blackberry, tobacco, and a touch of oak, culminating in a finish that was both long and memorable.

My Rating: 4.6/5.0

2007 Château Angélus: The 2007 vintage showcased the château’s ability to create elegance even in less celebrated years. It offered a lighter, more nuanced profile with vibrant red fruits like strawberries and raspberries, accented by subtle notes of cinnamon and vanilla. The wine was gracefully balanced, with a silky texture and a refined finish.

My Rating: 4.4/5.0

2011 Château Angélus: This vintage was a testament to the art of blending, striking a beautiful harmony between power and finesse. It opened with aromas of dark cherries and plums, underscored by a delicate earthiness. On the palate, the integration of oak was impeccable, adding depth without overshadowing the fruit. The finish was smooth and lingering, highlighting the wine’s well-crafted structure.

My Rating: 4.4/5.0

2009 Château Angélus : The 2009 vintage was a celebration of an exceptional year. It exuded richness and opulence, with a dense profile of dark fruits like blackcurrant and blueberry, enriched by exotic spices. The palate was enveloped in luxurious textures, with layers of flavor unfolding to reveal hints of chocolate and coffee. The finish was long and indulgent, a fitting tribute to a remarkable vintage.

My Rating: 4.3/5.0

The Enduring Legacy of Château Angélus

This tasting at Château Angélus was more than a showcase of vintages; it was an immersion into a legacy where history, terroir, and unwavering passion converge. Each wine narrated its own story, offering a unique window into the essence of this Premier Grand Cru Classé estate.

Wine, in its most sublime form, transcends mere taste; it becomes an experience. At Château Angélus, every bottle is a testament to this philosophy. As I reflect on this extraordinary journey, it’s evident that Château Angélus is not just a winery but a custodian of history, crafting not just wine, but legacies in each bottle.

Written by

Bernard Marr has a deep passion for wine. He has written hundreds of articles on wine, including features for Forbes, covering wine-making and industry trends. Away from the world of wine, Bernard is a world-renown business and technology futurist. He is the award winning author of over 20 best-selling books and has a combined audience of nearly 4 million people across his social media channels and newsletters.

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