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Château Angélus destems grapes by hand

Top St-Emilion estate Château Angélus has become the first classed growth in St-Emilion to destem its grapes manually, starting with the 2009 vintage.

Two vats of Merlot, equivalent to 15,000 bottles, have been destemmed by hand, with Angélus owner Hubert de Boüard claiming that the absence of stems will create ‘silky tannins, with a touch of cashmere’.

Speaking to decanter.com, De Boüard said manual destemming was ‘the ultimate way to ensure perfection in this stage of wine production as we aim to make the greatest wine.’

‘This really is the haute couture of winemaking.’

The price of Angélus will increase by €2 a bottle as a result, but second wine Carillon d’Angélus will not be made with manually destemmed grapes.

De Boüard also ruled out destemming his entire crop manually, due to ‘cost and logistical reasons’, adding that he chose Merlot ahead of Cabernet Franc because the grape is ‘more sensitive and delicate’.

The family’s other Bordeaux estate, Le Plus de la Fleur de Boüard in Lalande-de-Pomerol, has been manually destemming since 2000 – and De Boüard admitted that he had been considering doing the same at Angélus since then.

De Boüard praised the quality of the current Bordeaux crop, saying 2009 ‘will certainly be a fantastic vintage – the best in my life as a winemaker.’

Written by Stuart Peskett

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