2004 Château La Vieille Cure from #Fronsac. Fronsac is an appellation just west of Saint-Emilion and Pomerol that produces a number of wines that offer great value. Very dark ruby color. A bit shy on the nose, with dark fruits, sous bois, violets, tobacco, and some pepper. Did seem to shut down a bit after some aeration. Nothing really stands out on the palate, but it does have some charm. Good concentration. Tannins still a bit drying. Low/medium acidity. Overall a good value wine ($25), as many from Fronsac are. With a bit more age, this should improve a bit as the tannins soften and the aromatics evolve. This wine is fairly easy to find right now from a number of merchants. – 90pts Mar 2016
April 20, 2016
Recently we were contacted by Victoire Touton from Château Angélus, who informed us that proprietor Hubert de Boüard was scheduled to visit South Florida. When she asked if we would be interested in helping coordinating a tasting, obviously we agreed without hesitation. Monsieur de Boüard is one of the most iconic and recognizable figures from Saint-Émilion, also serving as a winemaking consultant to numerous producers throughout Bordeaux (such as Château Siran and Château de Fieuzal). Tasting multiple vintages of Château Angélus, while discussing the wines with him, would certainly be an opportunity not to miss.
The event was held at Café Maxx in Pompano Beach, and was coordinated by Wine Watch. There were eight vintages of Angélus included in the tasting: 1994, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2011. Two vintages of the second wine Carillon d’Angélus, 2009 and 2012, were also included. Elevated to Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) in 2012, Château Angélus has consistently produced some of the best wines in Saint-Émilion over the past twenty-five years. After Hubert de Boüard took the reigns at Angélus in 1985, the vintages of 1988, 1989, and 1990 brought life back into the château and placed it back into the Bordeaux elite. And over the next couple of decades, Angélus produced wines that were consistently among the best in the right bank of Bordeaux. Angélus is known for its appearances in James Bond films, which certainly helped raise global awareness of their wines.
Humility and passion. This is how I would sum up Hubert de Boüard after speaking with him about his wines. He was extremely nice and forthcoming, engaging every person throughout the evening. But what is most striking is his unyielding passion for winemaking and his wines. He considers himself a farmer, who is quite proud of his family heritage. The legacy of the Angélus estate spans eight generations, which is quite a rare feat among the top properties in Bordeaux. M. de Boüard emphatically stated that he considers his greatest success to be the love and knowledge of winemaking that he passes on to the next generation, rather than his own successes in winemaking. While he still serves as the technical director at Angélus, his daughter Stéphanie has assumed more responsibilities in running the estate. This is a man who puts his heart and soul into producing the best wines possible every vintage.
What truly makes nights like this special is the opportunity to get to know the personal side of the winemaker. Certainly we talked about wine, such as the underrated reputation of the 2001 vintage for the right bank. When I asked to name one of his favorite wines (other than his own), he mentioned the 1989 Haut-Brion without hesitation. We discussed the 2015 vintage at length; he drew similarities to 1998, but suggested the character of 2015 is somewhere in the middle of 1998 and 2005 (perhaps structurally as well). When discussing his wines, he commonly reminded me how important the Cabernet Franc is in the blend, and how it gives the wine longevity. His goal is to produce a wine that can span three decades, if not more, and the Cabernet Franc is the key. You will know what he is referring to if you have ever tasted the 1990 Angélus. And finally, he had an interesting anecdote about his dogs. Apparently, his labrador only likes to eat grapes in the vineyard when they are ripe; he joked that the dog knows when the right time is to harvest.
Regarding the wines themselves, this was clearly a night of consistent excellence. All of the nights showed well, but perhaps the surprise of the evening were the two vintages of Carillon d’Angélus (2009 and 2012). These showed great complexity and drinkability, especially considering Carillon is the second wine of Angélus. Most of the vintages of Château Angélus were quite young, but there was great potential shown in most of the wines. It is always a good sign when no one can agree of their favorite vintages, and on this night, everyone seemed to indicate a different vintage to be their favorite. But on the this night, it certainly appeared that vintages like 2001, 2004, and 2010 stood out. The 2010 is an impressive effort, and should evolve into one of the greatest wines in the history of the estate; the complexity and mouthfeel are stunning. And despite the 15.5% alcohol level, there is no detection of heat at all. The 2001 and 2004 continue to show why they are among the best Bordeaux wines of their respective vintages. The 2005, on the other hand, appeared to be in a shy, shut-down phase on this evening. But the conclusion drawn from this tasting is that Angélus has produced impressive wines throughout the past 15 years, irrespective of vintage. Much of this could be attributed to advances in modern winemaking, but you cannot deny the influence of terroir and a passionate winemaker as well.
Overall, this was an evening of great company and great wines. We learned not only about the wines, but about the history of Saint-Émilion and Angélus. And as the night was closing, M. de Boüard told a story of his young grandson who is already learning to taste the grapes in the vineyard. The ninth generation is already learning to become a winemaker, which should ensure that the family lineage continues.
1994 Château Angélus. Medium ruby color, mild bricking at edges. A very complex nose, with bright red fruits, tobacco, herbs, cedar, Asian spices, and violets. Lacks the charming earthiness of the 1989 and 1990, but has more of a spice element to it. Medium weight. Still has very fine tannins to resolve. This beauty is still in its drinking window, and there is enough fruit and remaining structure to take this at this five more years. In comparison to other vintages, this is not not as round and structured as the 1995; it is much more evolved than the still youthful 1995. This is more of an understated charmer than the bigger and more complex 1989, 1990, and 1990. For a so-so vintage, this is a success.
2001 Château Angélus. Deep, dark purple color. One of the more open and intoxicating noses of the night, with ripe plum, damson, licorice, mineral, barnyard, and espresso. Caressing on the palate, with soft, round tannins. Impressively structured. A long, lingering finish. There is always a lot of life with this wine. This is a vintage to follow. This wine showed extremely well tonight.
2004 Château Angélus. Dark purple color. Another fragrant, open nose of dark and red fruits, violets, sous bois, and chocolate. Impressive concentration. The palate seems to have layers, with a very pleasant mouthfeel. Tannins a bit firm and in need of more integration. Nice acidity on the medium-plus length finish. Optimistic of a long future.
2005 Château Angélus. A shy nose. Not really showing its stuff right now. The nose is still quite primary, with dark fruits, spice, and vanilla. Dense and concentrated. A full-bodied mouthfeel, with serious backbone and structure. Fairly tannic right now. Lengthy finish. This is obviously an excellent wine, but this is nowhere near maturation. That said, with enough air, this is still very enjoyable and should start to nudge at its drinking window in the near future. This should easily eclipse three decades.
2006 Château Angélus. Dark purple color. This one is pretty tight right now. Probably needs a lot of aeration. Nice is fairly open, with black cherry, blackberry, herbs, and dark chocolate. Tannic and not quite balanced right now. Lots of acidity on the finish. Hasn’t quite entered its drinking window. If you’re planning to open this now, I would probably save most of it for the next day.
2008 Château Angélus. Nose somewhat subdued, but very floral. Lots of plum, black cherry, truffle, licorice, and violets. Really like the complexity on the nose and palate. A really silky mouthfeel, with nicely integrated tannins. A long, smooth finish with lots of balanced acidity.
2010 Château Angélus. Deep inky purple, almost black in color. A seriously densely aromatic nose of black fruits, licorice, truffle, and dark chocolate. Incredible concentration. Very tannic at this stage, but they are still surprisingly soft. A full-bodied affair, with so much intensity on the palate. Very impressive length on the finish. While this wine clocks in at 15.5% alcohol, there was absolutely no detection of heat at all. The most impressive wine of the evening. This wine deserves cellaring for at least 10 years, though it may become more approachable sooner.
2011 Château Angélus. Deep purple color. A bright, lively nose of red fruits, cherry, herbs, and vanilla. Full-bodied mouthfeel. Good concentration. Has that tannic edge that is characteristic of so many wines from ’11. Average acidity on the finish. This wine needs more time to come together and integrate. Still, this is a smooth drinker that just needs lots of aeration right now. I was able to try this on the following day, and it had shed some of its sharp edges and was even smoother on the palate. The nose was a bit shy, however. Should reach its prime drinking window within five years but expect nice longevity.
2009 Le Carillon de l’Angélus. The second wines were quite good. This had lots of ripe red fruits, black cherry, spice, and vanilla. Soft tannins with no astringency. Smooth finish. While lacking the concentration of the Château Angélus wines, this is so drinkable right now. A really great food wine, but could stand on its own as well.
2012 Le Carillon d’Angélus. Initially, this seemed to be pretty simple. Red currant, cherry, with a bit of licorice and spice. It was pretty straightforward on the palate, but with a nice medium weight and smooth delivery. I was fortunate enough to save some and drink it over the next two days. The improvement was quite impressive, with a much more open, lively nose. The balance was better. There was some earthiness that wasn’t apparent on the first day. This wine obviously has a pretty nice future, especially for a second wine. It’s a testament to the fact that the top producers take their second wines quite seriously.
Dark ruby/purple color. Bursting with fruit, with ripe plum, blackberry, oak, espresso, licorice, pepper, and violets. Lush and round, tannins surprisingly fine and silky at this stage. Acidity perhaps a bit low. Fine finish with medium length. Great value. Good daily drinker. 92pts – Oct. 2015
11-11-2015 Château Angélus tasting at Pistache, West Palm Beach, Florida
One of the four Premier Grand Cru Classé (A) properties in Saint-Émilion, Château Angélus consistently produces some of the most desired and exceptional wines in the appellation. Since Hubert de Boüard de Laforest took over in 1988, Angélus has established itself as a wine that is worthy of its classification status (which was elevated to its current status in 2012). Angélus owes much of its uniqueness to its proportion of Cabernet Franc, which adds an additional level of complexity to the wines. The wines are also known for their structure, and while they certainly have the ability to age for decades, this tasting confirmed that even the younger wines can be quite enjoyable in their youth. The tasting also showed that in less heralded vintages such as 2004 and 2008, Angélus rose to the occasion to produce excellent wines that outperformed many of their peers.
2011 La Fleur de Boüard (Lalande-de-Pomerol). Very fresh. As approachable as the ’06 and ’07. Light and fresh. Actually has really dark fruits, with blueberry and blackberry. Some oak spice, chocolate, and crushed rocks. Medium length finish. A really dinner wine. Always a good value. Medium weight. Very dark color. 91/100
2004 Château Angélus. Still inky purple color. Fantastic nose of plum, black cherry, licorice, bacon, truffle, and mocha. Tannins round. Excellent balance. A wine with finesse. A wine that makes you think. Long, long finish. No bitterness. Not at peak, but a great wine to try now. 96/100
2008 Château Angélus. Again dark inky color. Dark fruits, chocolate, earth, violets, and licorice. Has what I would call a pretty nose, but is still quite shy. Nice concentration. Medium plus finish with a touch of bitterness. Tannins seem to be in the background right now, surprisingly. A little concerned about the tannins seeming a little advanced. 93/100
2009 Château Angélus. Very deep and concentrated. Young. Lots of licorice, black cherry, blackberry, starting to show truffle, chocolate, and Asian spices. Full bodied, high density. Very long finish. Tannic but not overbearing. A very impressive wine. This one is gong to be great but hold this for at least 5 years. 95/100
2012 Carillon d’Angélus. Quite approachable at this youthful stage. Strawberry, raspberry, musk, vanilla. Really smooth on the palate, with soft tannins. Medium length finish. 89/100
11-12-2015 Château Palmer vertical tasting at Stripsteak restaurant, Fontainebleau Hotel, Miami Beach
Château Palmer vertical with 14 vintages and 2 from Alter Ego. Michael Mina restaurant. That’s all I needed to know to attend this once-in-a-lifetime tasting event. It was hosted by Wine Watch in Ft. Lauderdale. Now, Château Palmer is one of our favorite wines, and I honestly can’t remember ever tasting a bad Palmer. In fact, most of them have been excellent. Jean-Louis Carbonnier, the Palmer representative, was in attendance and provided educational background of the wines. On this night, there were really no bad wines. And while some do not like this format of tasting so many wines at once, it really helps to understand a château’s wines by tasting them through the decades. On this night, the 1966 and 1990 Palmers shined above the rest. And while much was learned by tasting 14 vintages, it was also so interesting to taste the 1966 and 1975 again, having recently tasted these. It was surprising to see how different these wines were from the previously tasted bottles. One has to wonder how much bottle variation existed decades ago. This was likely due to how the wines were blended and aged; these days, all of the wine is blended together in one large batch prior to bottling, which serves to eliminate most bottle variation. All in all, this was a fantastic tasting, and I can safely say that I will likely never taste so many vintages of Palmer in one evening again.
2012 Alter Ego. Inky purple color. Plum, blackberry, and blueberry. Medium body. A bit more tannic than the Palmer ’12. While some say this is an earlier drinking wine, I wouldn’t touch this for several years. 91
2009 Alter Ego. Lots of dark fruits, smoke, and tobacco. Velvety texture. Tannic grip similar to the ’12 Alter Ego. A little drying on the finish. 90
2012 Château Palmer. Deep ruby/purple color. An interesting, expressive nose of dark and red fruits, violets, and rich chocolate. Does have some grip, but is surprisingly not overly tannic. Medium acidity on the finish. 92
2010 Château Palmer. More floral than the 2012, and more concentration overall. Notable oak influence. Though subdued, a layered nose, with lots of ripe fruits and some truffle and earth. Full-bodied and a wonderful mouthfeel. Grippy. A long finish. Not a stunner yet, but has the makeup. 94
2005 Château Palmer. Has lost its purple hue, with edges starting to show some lightening. Nice complex aromatics, with profile similar to the ’10. Fantastic on the palate. Excellent concentration and balance. Silky tannins. One of the favorites of the night. 96
2000 Château Palmer. A bit less powerful than the ’05 and ’10, exuding more elegance. A darker nose, with dark fruits, tobacco, cigar, and sous bois. Elegant reservation on the palate. Very fresh finish, with good length. I may ultimately prefer this style to the ’05. 94
1996 Château Palmer. Medium ruby color. Starting to show some signs of age. Red fruits, brown spice, tobacco. Can’t fault the balance and concentration. Not one of the best ’96 from the Left Bank, but a solid performer. Likable and charming. 93
1995 Château Palmer. More Merlot in the ’95 than the ’96, but more tannic on this evening. Similar aromatics to the ‘96, but more in your face. A bit more spiciness as well. Full-bodied and weighty. Still some formidable tannins. Probably not yet at peak. 94
1990 Château Palmer. Just a beautiful nose, with sweet red fruits, mint, leather, and flowers. Pure elegance, a lovely mouthfeel. Ultra-long finish that leaves you wanting more. One of the best Palmers I have tried. 98
1988 Château Palmer. More tannic than the ’90. Some described it as strange. Had a unique nose, with some dried fruits, tobacco, mushroom, and green peppers. A finish with formidable tannins and a hint of bitterness. Still had some aged Bordeaux charm. 92
1986 Château Palmer. Layers on the nose, with nice fruit, musk, and spice. Silky mouthfeel. Quite structured and tannic, but nicely balanced. A great finish that is its best attribute, very fresh. Would give this a few more years, but seemingly lots of potential. 95
1983 Château Palmer. Another fantastic nose, with lots of black cherry, cassis, and violets. Lots of complexity on the nose and palate. Not as memorable as a few others, but a very, very good wine. Another great finish. I should note that some at the tasting felt that this ’83 seemed different from recently tasted bottles. 96
1978 Château Palmer. Showing very well. Perhaps the surprise of the night. Not as much depth as some of the younger wines, but still had excellent balance and concentration. Lots of cherry and tobacco. Great finish, with lots of length. 95
1975 Château Palmer. Tried this one week ago, and this bottle was quite different. Much more tannic than the ’78 and ’83 (and the ’75 from one week ago). Some funkiness to the nose, with truffle, tobacco, and red fruits. Amazing how different two bottles can be from the same vintage. 93
1966 Château Palmer. Easily the WOTN, edging out the ’90. A pure beauty. Had the most earthy notes of the tasting. Cherry, fig, leather, mushroom, and sous-bois. Near perfect balance. Silky mouthfeel, reminiscent of the ’90. A long, long finish, with balanced acidity. Perhaps the best Palmer I have ever tasted, and significantly better than the ’66 I tasted from two weeks ago. 98
The beautiful bright purple color on the bottles makes Château La Conseillante stand out from the rest. This color is used to brand and to decorate their facilities, but the purple is not what makes this place so special, as it is all about location. Situated in Pomerol, La Conseillante is next to the famed Pétrus. La Conseillante has a special quality all its own, and is another of the very unique Pomerol properties to visit.
Pulling up to La Conseillante, the building is very simple and fairly understated. Upon entering, you will find purple motifs everywhere, from the flowers to the walls. There has been a lot of work done at La Conseillante, with a new vat room completed in 2012 with the installation of 22 concrete vats.
It is always great when a tour includes a visit to the vineyards. Our guide Audrey explained about the viticulture, and allowed a tasting of a sweet, ripe Merlot grape. The visit continued to the new and impressive vat room, where we met the new winemaker Marielle Cazaux, who previously worked at Château Petit-Village. She was very pleasant, and it was enlightening to hear speak about the current vintage and future of La Conseillante. The visit continued to the barrel room and then to the cellar, which had a bottle from 1912.
The tasting was in a room surrounded by natural light with windows overlooking the vineyards. The tasting included one wine from the recent 2014 vintage. But the view of the vineyards from the tasting room really enhanced the tasting experience.
Château La Conseillante is a great place to visit in Pomerol. It is a château that splits the middle of a traditional Pomerol property and a state-of-the-art, modern winemaking facility. Here you get the sense that while the technology may evolve, the soul of the château always stays the same.
Still drinking well and likely at its peak. Nice ruby color with faint orange at the edges. Nose was aromatic with no decant, though maintained over 2 hours. Noted blackberry, plum, chocolate, earth, fennel, spice, and hints of eucalyptus. Medium weight, velvety mouthfeel. Tannins soft and round. Medium-plus finish. This is a nice high-quality Pomerol that offers great value.
About Château Le Bon Pasteur:
The initial Le Bon Pasteur estate pre-dated the appellation system, which then split the estate into three parts: Pomerol, Lalande-de-Pomerol, and St. Emilion. Two new chateaux were then formed, Chateau Bertineau-St.- Vincent (Lalande-de-Pomerol) and Chateau Rolland-Maillet (St. Emilion); all three wines are made in the Le Bon Pasteur facilities. Harvesting is done manually, plot-by-plot. The grapes are then double sorted before and after de-stemming.
Three Interesting Facts:
- The name Le Bon Pasteur, meaning ‘The Good Shepherd,’ was chosen by previous owner Hermine Dupuy on Good Shepherd Sunday of the Catholic calendar.
- Joseph Dupuy was the initial owner, purchasing the land in 1920. His grandson, the famed oenology consultant Michel Rolland, ran the estate from 1978 until it was sold in 2013.
- Le Bon Pasteur was sold to a Chinese businessman in 2013, due to Michel Rolland’s brother Jean-Daniel’s desire to sell the estate.
Blend: 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc