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Chateau Angelus 2003

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
  • RP99
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

"Kudos to proprietor Hubert Bouard, who has been making brilliant wines at this estate since the mid- to late-1980s. A blend of 58% Cabernet Franc and 42% Merlot, the beautiful 2003 (14% alcohol; 6,500 cases produced) is somewhat tightly knit, but it reveals a perfumed nose of rose petals, blackberries, menthol, and cedar. This broad, sweet 2003's supple attack is followed by a tannic mid-section. The wine does not appear to be as dense or structured as the 2004. Given the high percentage of Cabernet Franc, it is likely to put on considerable weight in the bottle. This beauty is slightly different not only because of the torrid vintage conditions, but also because it incorporates the highest percentage of Cabernet Franc ever utilized at Angelus. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2023."

—Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

Critical Acclaim

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RP 99
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
One of the great successes in St. Emilion in 2003, this wine has actually gotten better over the last eleven years. Pushing perfection, this blend of 57% Cabernet Franc (the highest ever at Angelus) and 43% Merlot boasts a dense purple color as well as a sublime set of aromatics, including forest floor, blue, red and black fruits, charcoal and hints of licorice and wood spice. Long, opulent, voluptuously textured and incredibly youthful and fresh, this full-bodied, tour de force in winemaking is an absolute legend in the making. It is an incredible accomplishment for a Right Bank 2003. Kudos to Hubert de Bouard for his vision as well as his perfectionist personality. This beauty should age for 5-10 more years.
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Chateau Angelus

Chateau Angelus

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Chateau Angelus, St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
Video of winery

The vineyard of Château Angélus is situated in a natural amphitheatre overlooked by the three Saint-Emilion churches. In the middle of this special site, the sounds were amplified and the angelus bells could be heard ringing in the morning, at midday and in the evening. They cadenced the working day in the vineyards and villages, calling the men and women to stop their labours for a few minutes and pray.

Less than a kilometre from the famous Saint-Emilion bell tower, situated on the much-vaunted south-facing “foot of the hill”, Angélus has been the life work of eight generations of the Boüard de Laforest family.

In the first-ever classification of Saint-Emilion wines in 1954, Château Angélus was a Grand Cru Classé. Already at the time, it benefitted from a solid reputation, which helped it survive the Bordeaux wine crisis of 1973 and take part in the oenological renewal of the 1980’s. This was the context in which Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, a graduate oenologist from Bordeaux University, took advantage of this marvellous wine’s illustrious past, while being resolutely turned towards the future and launched and continued to implement an ambitious, innovative policy in favour of achieving excellence in wine growing and making.

St. Emilion

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Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.

St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.

Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.

The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Figeac, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vienyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.

Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

DOB86719_2003 Item# 86719