Hubert de Bouard has been producing some wonderful wines recently, both as a consultant (see Meyney) and at his own estates. We had high hopes for the 2014 Angelus, given the quality of Cabernet Franc we had already tasted, but this didn't quite work for us. Produced from equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc and harvested later than most of its peers (2nd-20th of October), this just seems too extracted for our liking. This is very brooding and noir, with deeply mineral notes of graphite and coal dust. No doubt, it will find favour with some, but we feel that the extractions rather suck the life from this wine.
Château Angélus, on its renowned south facing "pied de côte" (foot of the hill) site, has been looked after over four generations by the Boüard de Laforest family. The estate’s name derives from a particularly ancient plot of vineyard, from which the men tending the vines were able to hear the angelus ringing out from all three of the village churches, chapelle de Mazerat the church of Saint Martin de Mazerat and the church of Saint Emilion. At the turn of the century Maurice de Boüard de Laforest acquired this three hectare plot, adding it to the adjacent vineyard - Château Mazerat - which had been in the family since 1850. His sons Jacques and Christian expanded the holding by buying adjoining plots of land, until stopping in the 1970s. Today the property is run by Hubert de Boüard de Laforest and his cousin Jean-Bernard Grenié. Angelus, a 1er Grand Cru St Emilion, is now one of the region’s great names, known particular for producing wines with a high Cabernet Franc content.
St-Émilion is a very different region to those of the Médoc, dominated by small-holding farmers and estates rather than grand Châteaux. Merlot is widely planted as is Cabernet Franc in some parts. The wines are enormously variable in style depending on the terroir, the grape variety make-up and winemaking style. Loosely the region is divided between the limestone Côtes, Graves or gravelly limestone plateau or the sandy alluvial soils nearer the Dordogne. Traditionally Médoc wines were trade from Bordeaux and St Emilions from Libourne so they have their own classification system separate to that of 1855. The classification is revised every ten years and falls into four categories, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé and St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Most of the district's best properties are either on the steep, clay-limestone hillsides immediately below the town or on a gravelly section of the plateau west of St Emilion itself abutting Pomerol. There are several high profile estates in the region, including Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Figeac, Le Dôme, Valandraud and Pavie.