Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Visiting a “Holy” Construction Site: Château Angélus in Saint-Emilion, France

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller at Château Angélus

One of the highlights of the 2013 Bordeaux Wine Tour by ombiasy was the visit of Château Angélus. It was a very unusual visit.

See here:
Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France
Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy
Ombiasy Wine Tours: Bordeaux Trip Coming up in September 2013

When Annette Schiller from ombiasy had discussed the visit with Jean-Bernard Grenié, the possibility that the estate might be a construction site during the visit of the group was not even considered. But when the time of the visit came closer, it became evident that there might be a problem and cancellation of the visit was considered. But in the end, Jean-Bernard Grenié decided to pull it through. Good decision. And we had a very interesting tour.

Pictures: Jean-Bernard Grenié, Ivanhoe Johnston (Negociant), Annette Schiller, Panos Kakaviatos  and Christian G.E. Schiller in Washington DC

Owner Jean-Bernard Grenié and Wine Journalist Panos Kakaviatos Presented the Wines of Chateau Angélus and Chateau Daugay at Black Salt Restaurant in Washington DC, USA

Laurent Benoit was our host. We also bumped into Jean-Bernard Grenié’s son, Thierry Grenié.

Château Angélus

Château Angélus is one of the only four (Angelus, Ausonne, Cheval Blanc, Pavie) wine producing estates classified as premier grand cru classé A in the Saint-Emilion appellation.

It sits in the middle of a natural amphitheatre on the south-facing hillside of the famous footslope „pieds de côtes“, just half a mile from the village of Saint-Emilion.

Pictures: Starting the Visit

Château Angélus has been owned by the de Boüard de Laforest family since 1909, when the Domaine de Mazaret was bequeathed to Comte Maurice de Boüard de Laforest.

The name refers to the three Angelus bells audible from the vineyards, coming from the chapel at Mazerat, the church in Saint-Martin de Mazeret and Saint-Émilion.

Château Angélus consists of 23.4 hectares with a grape variety of 51% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.

Pictures: In the Vineyard

The estate also produces a second wine, Le Carillon de l’Angelus. The annual production averages 10,000 cases of the Grand Vin and 1,000 cases of the second wine.

Pictures: In the Cellar

In June 2012, Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal, was named Executive Manager. The family of Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal has been making wine in Saint Emilion for nine generations.

Pictures: In the Cellar and in the Reception Hall

Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, Jean-Bernard Grenié and Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal

Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal is the daughter of Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, who joined the family business at Angélus in 1976. Until she took over, Château Angélus had been run - for several decades - by Stephanie’s father Hubert de Boüard de Laforest and her uncle Jean-Bernard Grenié, who we met in Washington DC. Initially, Hubert de Boüard de Laforest worked under his uncle, but he became the #1 in 1985.

Starting with the 1988 vintage, Hubert de Boüard de Laforest rapidly changed things at Château Angélus. He was one of the first Bordeaux wine makers to embrace fermenting in open top vats and conducting malolactic in small barrels. In the vineyard, he lowered yields. He began aging wines in new oak barrels.

Pictures: Christian G.E. Schiller and Thierry Grenié

Today, fermentation takes place in a combination of temperature controlled stainless steel vats, concrete and open top, oak vats at 28 to 32° degrees Celsius. Everything in the cellar moves by gravity flow. After malolactic fermentation in barrel is completed, the wine is aged in 100% new, French oak barrels for between 18-24 months.

In addition to progressive winemaking, Hubert de Boüard de Laforest also has embraced new kinds of marketing, including movie product placement. Angélus has made appearances in three dozen films, including “Casino Royale” in 2006 and “Passion” last year.

This has helped the chateau reach new consumers in Asia, who now account for 55 percent of sales, up from 15 percent in 2005.

The de Boüard de Laforest family also owns other estates in the Right Bank including Chateau Bellevue and Chateau Daugay in St. Emilion and La Fleur de Bouard in Lalande Pomerol. In fact, the tasting took place at Chateau Bellevue, which is in walking distance from Chateau Angélus.

For more information, Jeff Leve of The Wine Cellar Insider has an excellent write up about Château Angélus on his website.


Wine-searcher average prices in US$ per 0.75 liter bottle:

2012 216
2011 219
2010 390
2009 406
2005 419
2000 493


We went over to Chateau Bellevue and tasted 3 wines:

2007 Chateau Bellevue
2010 Chateau Angélus
2010 Le Carillon d’Angélus

Pictures: Leaving Chateau Angélus and Walking over to Chateau Bellevue for some Tasting

schiller-wine - Related Postings

Bordeaux Trip September 2012, France 

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy

Ombiasy Wine Tours: Bordeaux Trip Coming up in September 2013

Saint Emilion Wines and their Classification, Bordeaux, France

The Saint Emilion 2012–2022 Classification, Bordeaux

Schiller's Favorite Wine Bars in Bordeaux (City), France

Owner Jean-Bernard Grenié and Wine Journalist Panos Kakaviatos Presented the Wines of Chateau Angélus and Chateau Daugay at Black Salt Restaurant in Washington DC, USA

The Wine Empire of the von Neipperg Family in France, Bulgaria and Germany

A Morning at Château Canon La Gaffeliere in Saint Emilion with Owner Count Stefan von Neipperg, Bordeaux

Vin Bio de Bordeaux - At Château Beauséjour in AOC Puisseguin-St.Emilion, France

Château Figeac, Saint-Émilion - A Profile, France

An Afternoon with François Mitjavile at his Tertre Rôtebeouf - A Saint Emilion Cult Wine Producer

Lunch at Place de L’Eglise Monolithe in Saint Emilion and Visits of 3 Châteaux: Tertre Roteboeuf, Figeac and Beausejour

Schiller’s Favorite Wine Bars in St. Emilion, France


  1. Hi
    Thank you so much for giving us such kind of handy content which will be most useful to me as well.... I will follow your blog always. Thanks!!!

  2. You have such wonderful trips. I enjoy reading about them and wish I could be experiencing them as well some day! Karl @mywinepal

  3. I enjoy reading about your travels and getting details. I hope to one day get to travel to these wineries and destinations too. Karl @mywinepal.