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On the label of every bottle of Chateau Angelus is the picture of a bell. This Saint-Emilion Premiere Grand Cru Classe A estate is situated in a natural amphitheater, surrounded by three local churches. The property’s namesake is derived from the close proximity to these spiritual houses of worship. During the harvest, vineyard workers can hear the church bells toiling while they tend to the vines. But there’s a deeper meaning to the symbol of the bell: it also represents the spiritual and priestlike devotion the eight generations of the Bouard family have to the vines at this property.
The Bouard who currently runs the estate - Stephanie de Bouard-Rivoal - puts it best. She says, “We are only the guardians of a history that presided us and will survive us, so our role is to sustain it in the best conditions we are able to achieve.”
'Hommage a Elisabeth Bouchet' is a tiny-production cuvee that will only be released in the greatest vintages. It is made from old-vine Cabernet Franc (or Bouchet, as it has always been known on the right-bank) from two small parcels in the South-West corner of the Angelus vineyard on the famous pied de cote. The vines themselves are of 60-80 years of age, drawing the intense minerality that characterises the wine from the clay-limestone and clay-scree-limestone terroirs on which they are planted through their profound root-systems.
There are only 849 bottles and a few larger format bottlings of the 2018.
100 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
Only the second release of this cuvee (it was first produced in 2016 and will be produced in 2019 as well), the 2018 Chateau Angelus Hommage A Elisabeth Bouchet is 100% Cabernet Franc coming from a single parcel of vines averaging between 60-80 years in age. It was vinified in stainless steel and the aging spanned 18 months in new French oak.
It's another magical wine from this chateau that somehow manages to marry serious power and richness with a sense of purity and elegance, as well as complexity, that's something to behold. Deep purple-hued, it offers a sensational array of blackcurrant and cassis fruits intermixed with truffle, spring flowers, and a subtle meaty, baking spice character that develops with time in the glass. Full-bodied on the palate, it's flawlessly balanced, has ultra-fine tannins, and an expansive, seamless, heavenly mouthfeel. Everything is in the right place, and it has perfectly integrated oak along with a gorgeous finish. There are just 849 bottles produced, with a few larger formats, so I expect this to be just about impossible to find in the marketplace (nor will it be cheap), but it's as fine a Saint-Emilion as has ever been made. It needs a decade of cellaring, and I suspect it will have 40-50 years of overall longevity.
100 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This is the first release of this new 100% Cabernet Franc wine from Chateau Angelus. Deep garnet in colour, the 2016 Hommage à Elisabeth Bouchet hits the ground running with an intense, profound nose of blackberry preserves, boysenberries and redcurrant jelly, plus suggestions of beef drippings, black olives, damp soil and unsmoked cigars with wafts of pencil lead and truffles. The full-bodied palate bursts with vibrant, shimmery black and red fruits, inlaid with mineral accents and supported by firm, exquisitely ripe and finely grained tannins. Electric sparks of bright acidity course through the densely packed core, delivering incredible energy and freshness to the finish, leaving you wanting more. That this estate has managed to craft such a complete, jaw-dropping beauty entirely from Cabernet Franc is a triumph and, I hope, not the last of its kind. A masterpiece!
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