Under the leadership of Hubert de Bouard since the mid 1980's, Angélus has been one of the superstars of Saint Emilion, producing modern-style, deep, concentrated and ripe wines full of richness and fruit. In 2012 Angélus (along with Pavie) joined Ausone and Cheval Blanc in achieving first growth status and Hubert's daughter Stephanie began to manage the estate. The 42 hectare vineyard is planted 50:50 Cabernet Franc and Merlot but 15 hectares are used for the second wine "Carillon" with only 27 hectares of 60-80 year old vines being used for the grand vin. In 2018 the yield is 30 hl/ha with a blend of 65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and Stephanie states that her aim is to produce a wine that is more refined and poised than in the past.
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I loved the 2018 Château Angélus from barrel last year and it blew me away from bottle, epitomizing the new, fresher, more elegant style of the estate while still bringing classic Angélus richness and power. The 2018 is a blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc that was brought up in new oak, with a portion of the Cabernet Franc in foudre. A vivid purple color is followed by a vibrant bouquet of blackberries, crème de cassis, crushed violets, spring flowers, and cedar pencil. Beautifully concentrated, full-bodied, and flawlessly balanced on the palate, it has gorgeous tannins, remarkable purity of fruit, and awesome length. I followed this bottle for multiple days and it only improved, picking up additional depth and richness, while never showing a hint of oxidation. Pure perfection, it's going to benefit from 7-8 years of bottle age and keep for 3-4 decades. This is a sensational, magical wine from this talented team, led by winemaker Emmanuelle d'Aligny-Fulchi. Comparing this to the more opulent 2005 and 2009 over the coming decades will be an incredible experience.
The aromas are incredibly complex with dark berries, elderberries, bay leaves, cloves and tile, follow through to a full body with layers of creamy and lightly dusty tannins that deliver a lingering finish and great attention to detail. The flavors range from black fruit to earth and stones. It’s reserved and poised with great intensity and power, in a toned and formed mode. One for the cellar. Try after 2026.
As I mentioned in my tasting note from barrel, the 2018 Angélus is the first vintage aged in two new foudres. It is very perfumed on the nose, one of the most floral that I can recall at this early stage. Violet and incense aromas percolate through the precise blackberry and cassis fruit, all displaying fine delineation. The palate is medium-bodied with pliant tannins. This is a velvety-smooth Angélus that would drink young if there was not still some oak to be assimilated. Fine balance and focus on the finish, which seems to firm up with continued aeration. This is a charming and quite sophisticated Saint-Émilion that should give 20–30 years of drinking pleasure. 2023 - 2048.
The 2018 Angélus was picked from 24 September until 11 October and for the first time is aged in two new foudres (one more on the way) which are designed to limit the impact of wood and oxygen ingress. These are currently being used for the Cabernet Franc, then after a year, the juice is transferred into used oak barrel. Deep in colour, it has a dense bouquet with high-toned black cherry and cassis fruit, touches of dark chocolate and sandalwood. It feels a little unsettling although it has just been racked. The palate is medium-bodied with soft and supple tannins, rounded in the mouth with touches of sea salt and black pepper. It is an intense rather than powerful Angélus. There is a drive towards more elegance at the estate, though perhaps the warmth of the second part of the growing season did not allow them to fully realize this. Still, it is a very fine Angélus that will age with style. Drink 2023-2048.
The 2018 Angélus is blended of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc, aged mainly in oak barriques, 100% new, plus two new foudres. Deep garnet-purple in color, it struts flamboyantly out of the glass with stylish scents of black raspberries, boysenberries and Black Forest cake, plus nuances of rose oil, forest floor, dusty soil and cinnamon toast with a hint of cedar chest. The medium to full-bodied palate is carrying a little new oak at this youthful stage, framing the generous red and black fruits along with ripe, plush grape-skin tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and spicy. Give it 5-6 years in cellar for everything to marry, then drink it over the next 20+ years. 2026 - 2046.
“This year we have slightly less Cabernet Franc in the blend because we are only using the oldest vines, planted by my grandfather, as a tribute,” Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal said. “These are 60- to 80-year-old Cabernet Franc vines.” From 2018, 10% of the entire Angélus crop will be aged in large oak foudres. “These produce tighter, more perfumed, brighter wines from less oxygen exposure,” Stéphanie commented. The 2018 Angélus is blended of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc, to be aged 18-22 months in barriques, 100% new, plus two new foudres. Deep garnet-purple in color, it slips slowly, sensuously out of the glass with beautiful black raspberries, kirsch, warm plums and red roses scents, building in intensity to reveal chocolate-covered cherries, raspberry coulis, black tea, woodsmoke and powdered cinnamon notions with a waft of black olives and charcuterie. Medium to full-bodied, the palate delivers a wonderfully profound, multilayered, seamless experience of red and black fruits intertwined with earth, spice and floral notions and framed by exquisitely ripe, satiny tannins, finishing with amazing freshness and length. Incredibly, finely, expertly, seamlessly knit. Stunning.
This shows beautifully sensibility of generous fruit and soft and velvety tannins with an undertone of chocolate and cedar. Full-bodied, pure and supple with a direct delivery of vibrant fruit and real terroir expression. Savory at the end with hazelnut and crunchy-seed flavors. Reality check here. Incredible fruit quality.
The 2018 Angélus is striking. Cabernet Franc aromatics make a strong first impression. Vibrant and delineated, the 2018 is incredibly refined in every way. The move towards a bit less extraction really seems to let the purity of the fruit come through. The same is true of a reduction of oak. All the elements come together so effortlessly. The 2018 has all the richness readers expect of Angélus, with much more finesse and more overall vibrancy, a combination that works so well. 2028 - 2043
The 2018 Angélus is a fabulous wine from the de Boüard family. Often much more severe when it is young, the 2018 possesses stunning depth and remarkable finesse. I don't think I have tasted a young Angélus with this much finesse. In this vintage, Angélus is 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc, which is to say more Merlot and less Franc than in the past, which may or may not represent more of a longer term shift. To be sure, the 2018 is glorious, with generous, pliant fruit and silky tannins that add to its considerable allure. Crème de cassis, new leather, spice and licorice build into the striking finish. What a wine.
Inky core with purple rim. Refined aroma of restrained dark fruit and a mineral freshness even with the evident oak. More oaky on the palate, a touch of char, but much more restraint overall compared with earlier vintages, the restraint coming via the tannins. Power and freshness combined, with intensity and with a big charge of tannins but well handled to balance the whole in this powerful vintage. Needs a lot of time, to unfurl and for the oak to recede.
A bright purple colour in the glass, the nose exudes the ripe cassis that we have come to expect from Angelus, yet there are also floral overtones - dried violets and roses - with more subtle, savoury oak spices that show a move away from the richest elements of the past. The palate follows in the same vein; the fruit is ripe, juicy and dense, offering full bodied bramble fruits. However, there is lift, bright acidity and integrated, subtle spiciness to the oak. The tannins are more refined, giving a glossy texture and smooth, polished mouthfeel. This feels approachable, and the floral notes add to the sense of refreshment despite the warming, ripe fruit character that is still at the core. Finishing pure and long, this is a slight departure that we very much enjoy, while retaining the essence of the Chateau's style.
The grand vin, the 2018 Angélus, is magical juice in 2018 as well as possibly one of the wines of the vintage. While it shows a slightly more elegant style compared to past great vintages, it doesn’t lack for depth, density or richness. Thrilling notes of crème de cassis, toasted spice, graphite, incense, and tobacco leaf all flow to a full-bodied, powerful Saint-Émilion that has seamless tannins, a stacked mid-palate, no hard edges, and a finish that just won’t quit. Reminding me of an improved 2009, it’s going to be drinkable with just short-term cellaring and keep for 30 years or more. The blend of the 2018 is 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Franc that will spend 18-22 months in new barrels (and a small portion in foudre as well). Hats off to director Emmanuelle d’Aligny-Fulchi for keeping this estate at the top of the hierarchy in Saint-Émilion!
Very gutsy in feel, with lots of tobacco leaf, loam and espresso notes swirling around a core of steeped black currant and warm fig fruit flavors. The muscular finish is a jumble right now, but there's ample acidity coiled within. A wine that clearly wants to stand out from the pack.
This is rich and complex from the very first nose, showing dense brambled fruit with real precision of expression. After a few minutes the aromatics explode, leaping out of the glass and giving an extra level of enjoyment to the wine. In the mouth, lovely vibrant tannins grip without any sense of urgency, joined by curls of woodsmoke and salt taffy through the finish. It's gorgeous and will make you smile with its mouthwatering finish.
Only the oldest Cabernet Francs, aged between 60 and 80 years, went into the grand vin in 2018, meaning a little less Cabernet Franc in the blend than usual. But these old vines, planted by Stephanie de Boüard's grandfather, are rich in flavour and give saline emphasis to the finish. It's the first year that they have worked entirely organically, with a 32hl/ha yield from the harvest, which ran from 24 September to 11 October.
A cold soak before fermentation was used to extract the colour and fruit flavours without too much tannin. The wine is aged in 100% oak barrels and, for the first time, a few amphorae.
Drinking Window 2027 - 2042
This is a wonderful Angélus with masses of oak and fruit and it can handle this intensity with ease. The power is magnificent and the richness and weight is amazing, too. Considering how tannic and oaky a lot of the other wines are on this side of the river, they could all take a leaf out of this wine’s book because it shows you just how carefully balanced a big wine can be. There is some exoticism here as well as awesome length and this is certainly one of the finest Saint-Emilions of the vintage. I was delighted to taste this wine this year, because I missed my appointment late one afternoon and flew past the following day only to be confronted with monsoon conditions in the carpark and a looming, lengthy drive to Graves for my next tasting only 45 minutes after I pulled into Angélus. So, apologies for my brief tasting note and apologies to the Angélus representative who I almost knocked over on the stairs as I rushed, dripping wet, out of the tasting room. As karma would have it I earned a speeding ticket and a 90 euro fine, on the next leg of my itinerary, for my sins!