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Chateau L'Angelus 1983

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Chateau L'Angelus
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€ 159,00

Chateau L'Angelus 1983

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"Mid neck fill, no signs of seepage and cork intact. Light brick red color. After thirty minutes in the glass, the wine smelled of damp forest, tobacco, cedar, and dried herbs. On the palate, the forest floor and tobacco were most obvious with hints of graphite, leather, and dried oregano. Easily a thirty second finish. The wine opened up for about an hour before gradually declining after a few hours." 96 points 2012

 

Château Angélus: Vineyards

The vineyards of Château Angélus, which total 34 hectares, are situated on the famous côtes of St Emilion with the clay and limestone terroir typical of the region. It is planted with 51% Merlot and 47% Cabernet Franc, with just 2% Cabernet Sauvignon bringing up the rear. The vines have an average age of about 30 years, and are planted at a density of up to 7000 vines per hectare. The soils between the rows are planted to grass. The vines are pruned in the Girondine style, with two canes, and throughout the season they see debudding, crop-thinning and de-leafing, all done by hand. The vine canopies are handled so that leaf surface is maximised but grape bunches are not crowded, and the crop is managed with the aim of low yields without green harvesting if possible; a typical figure for Angélus is between 35 and 40 hl/ha.

The significant area committed to Cabernet Franc is perhaps a bigger component of the success here than is widely appreciated. Mention Cabernet Franc in terms of Bordeaux and most people will look to Château Cheval Blanc, or if really knowledgeable Le Dôme, which has a higher percentage of this variety than any other wine from the region. The percentage of the vineyard planted to this variety at Angélus is comparable to that at other leading estates (except for Le Dôme of course), and it also includes a 10-hectare plot of vines now more than 70 years old. Hubert de Boüard de Laforest states that the sandy-clay-limestone (the Angélus vineyard is up to 20% clay) where the Cabernet Franc is planted is ideal for this variety, and thus it does well here on the lower parts of the slopes of the plateau. This is in contrast to the more pure limestone soils up on the plateau, which Hubert feels are more suited to Merlot and not Cabernet Franc.

Hubert may well have a point here, and maybe this association between Cabernet Franc and terroir explains some of the modern-day successes of Château Angélus, as well as Château Pavie which is also located mostly on the slopes (although with a much more attractive position, south-facing, south of the town) rather than the plateau, as well as Le Dôme, which as I indicated in my introduction is a neighbour of Château Angélus. All these estates are pushing up the percentage of Cabernet Franc in the vineyard and wine, or are already at a high figure (Le Dôme is 80% Cabernet Franc). Nevertheless, I'm not sure how such Hubert's views would sit with those harvesting Cabernet Franc grown up on the plateau, such as Pauline Vauthier of Château Ausone. There is already quite some fall-out from the elevation of Château Angélus, as I detailed in 2012 St Emilion primeurs report; comments such as these probably don't help relations within the appellation either.

Of the 34 hectares planted up, when picked the fruit from approximately 27 hectares of identified vineyards is channelled into the grand vin, the remainder usually contributing towards the second wine.

Château Angélus: Wines

The fruit is picked by hand with an aggressive sorting in the vineyard, then destemmed at the chai, before going over another sorting table. Destemming is the norm in Bordeaux, as the stems of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot do not benefit the wine (because they don't ripen adequately, and bring green flavours) in the way that stems of other varieties such as Pinot Noir or Syrah are thought to do. The usual practice is to destem by machine, but from the 2009 vintage onwards Hubert de Boüard de Laforest has been destemming a large proportion of his harvest by hand. In 2009 a team of 60 workers destemmed about 20% of the harvest, a figure that rose to 50% in 2010, the task undertaken by an enlarged team of 150 people.

Producent Chateau L'Angelus
Jaar 1983
Appellation St Emilion
Climat Nee
Flesgrootte 0,75 L
Aantal flessen 1
Conditie Nee
Waardering Nee