Stephanie de Bouard stood in for her father Hubert, a veteran of Decanter Masterclasses, who was unavoidably detained in Bordeaux. Introducing Stephanie, Sarah Kemp said that she had ‘grown up in the Angelus vineyards’ – and this was amply proven in the hour and a half that followed. Stephanie de Bouard works in the financial sector in London, but her understanding of Angelus, her knowledge of the terroir and the history of this noble property, and her deep love of the wine, could only come from someone who had known Angelus from the cradle.
by Adam Lechmere
Stephanie treated the audience to an anecdote about her grandfather. He would routinely produce a vintage of 200,000 bottles (against today’s average of 90,000), and loathed the idea of green harvest.
‘He couldn’t understand how you could just discard grapes. During the war that would have been seen as very wasteful. He let my father do it with great reluctance – but now he sees the benefits.’
She also described the meticulous process of destemming and sorting that de Bouard has initiated, with two vats of Merlot now produced completely manually.
The masterclass consisted of 11 wines, starting with Fleur de Bouard from Lalande de Pomerol, St-Emilion’s Chateau Bellevue, and finishing with six splendid vintages of Chateau Angelus.
Fleur de Bouard 2006
The gravelly soil with big stones of Lalande de Pomerol gives the Fleur de Bouard its superb minerality. This 06 has a sweet, red fruit nose and delicate, elegant palate with good tannins
Fleur de Bouard 2005
Matthew de Bouard, Stephanie’s brother, runs this property – 07 is his first vintage. The Fleur 05 was highly lauded by Robert Parker – ‘he gave it the same score as Lafite’. The nose gives much less away than the 06. The palate has stronger, grippier tannins. This wine will last for eight to 10 years, Stephanie said. ‘You should buy two cases – open one soon, and one after eight years.’
Chateau Bellevue 2006
‘My grandfather wanted to acquire this property in 1938. It has a unique location because of its vegetation, which seems almost Mediterranean. With its huge proportion of Merlot, Bellevue is known as the Petrus of St Emilion’.
Merlot makes us 94% of this wine, the balance Cabernet Franc. Very nice sweet red fruit nose, very attractive minerality and a good tannic length.
Chateau Bellevue 2007
Very exotic nose with perfume and minerality. Dense blackberry palate, very tannic but with lots of fruit. Seems quite short in length.
Chateau Bellevue 2001
Less Merlot at 85%. The nose is perfumed, the initial palate lovely with nice juicy tannins, with flowers (violets) and minerality. Mouthfilling and round in the attack but perhaps a little hollow and short.
Chateau Angelus 2006
60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc
The audience was treated to a half-second shot of the publicity surrounding Casino Royale, the first Bond film to feature Daniel Craig, which also stars a bottle of 1982 Angelus. This has an opulent nose with lots of spice and spicy wood. Minerality and opulent fruit. Very elegant tannins with grip. 2006 was a difficult year, with extensive vineyard work – deleafing and green harvest – required.
Chateau Angelus 2005
Cedar, leather, fruit and minerality on the nose. Incredible palate – confident, complex, round and delicate with marvellous precision. This should never be spat out! Very elegant with great length.
Chateau Angelus 2004
So different to the 05 – very developed with earthy notes and some vegetal notes on the nose. Palate developed with good strong supple tannins.
Chateau Angelus 2003
Because of the clay soil underpinning Angelus the drought of 2003 had much less effect than across the rest of Bordeaux: the clay
A very discreet but developed nose. The palate is round, precise, quite earthy and very developed. Notes of black cherry, blackberry, and spices. But not what I was expecting from an 03 – the length is disappointing.
Chateau Angelus 2001
60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc
An intense bouquet, followed by an extraordinary palate with creaminess, roundness, wonderful opulence of black cherry and black fruits, strong grippy tannins. Delicious.
Chateau Angelus 2000
50% Merlot 50% Cabernet Franc
Very lovely opulent creamy nose. Deep blackcurrant notes, tannins very ripe and developed, palate with almost a roasted, smoky flavour. ‘My father says he is thinking of a super 1982 or 89 when he tastes this wine,’ Stephanie said.