Chateau Angelus, a Saint-Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classe `A' wine estate, used a relatively high proportion of merlot and only cabernet franc from old vines aged between 60 and 80 years in the blend for its main 2018 wine, opting for a mix of 65 percent merlot and 35 percent cabernet franc, according to owner Stephanie de Bouard-Rivoal.
Angelus 2018 tasting. Photo: Guy Collins
That compares with the planted grape composition of 53 percent merlot, 46 percent cabernet franc and 1 percent petit verdot. ``We've been very selective,'' she said, noting that the old-vine cabernet came from just 1.5 hectares of vines.
Tough growing conditions gave way to highly favorable weather at harvest, leading to a wine she said was defined by ``purity, finesse and elegance.'' She said in an interview at the estate April 4 that ``I consider Angelus '18 is probably the purest, most complete wine we've made.''
The highly unusual climatic conditions of the vintage, characterized by a wet spring followed by a hot dry summer, caused mildew in the vineyard similar to that across much of Bordeaux, reducing yields and forcing vineyard management teams to intervene intensively.
``2018 started in very challenging conditions,'' de Bouard-Rivoal said. ``We had the team in the vineyard, they managed to contain the mildew.'' The introduction of organic methods at Angelus during the year meant vines had to be treated with copper every six days, around double the dosage for non-organic vineyards. ``When you have an epidemic, you can't treat it with aspirin,'' she said.
The yield for the main Chateau Angelus wine was 30 hectares per hectoliter, which was down from normal but which she described as ``not too bad.'' The yield for all three of its wines, including second wine Carillon d'Angelus and third wine No. 3 d'Angelus, was 38 hectoliters per hectare.
The Angelus vineyard covers 27 hectares for the main wine and a further 15 hectares for Carillon, with a planted density of between 6,500 and 8,500 vines per hectare. The main wine is fermented in stainless steel, concrete and oak vats and then aged for between 18 and 22 months in new 225-liter oak barrels and also two larger barrels, each containing 3,000 liters.
The larger barrels reduce direct contact between the wine and the oak and also lower the oxygen content.
De Bouard-Rivoal confirmed that the new winery for Carillon is on track to be completed in July this year, in time for the 2019 harvest.