The 2020 Angélus has turned out superbly and underlines this estate's continuing shift to a more elegant, integrated style that offers a purer expression of its terroir. A blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc, it unwinds in the glass with aromas of cherries, wild berries, rose petals, mint and subtle hints of licorice, followed by a medium to full-bodied, beautifully layered and vibrant palate that's deep, precise and penetrating, concluding with a mouthwateringly chalky finish. Some 120 hectoliters of Cabernet Franc, amounting to around 20% of the blend, were matured in foudre this year, which no doubt helps to account for the significantly reduced oak impact in the 2020.
Since taking the help at Angélus, Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal and her team, inspired by the terroir transparency of the wines of the 1950s, have been boldly evolving toward less impactful winemaking. What does that mean in practice? Cooler macerations, élevage that now incorporates foudres for the grand vin and tanks for Tempo, No. 3 and Carillon, reducing the impact of new barriques without the loss in precision that often comes from repeatedly reused barrels—along with, I'm sure, a host of other smaller changes that cumulatively mean that Angélus today is a very different beast from the rich, toasty wine of the 1990s and early 2000s. The 2020 has turned out brilliantly, and I'm sure it only hints at what's to come from this dynamic estate.
“This is a vintage we like a lot,” said Hubert de Boüard. “It’s like a super 2001. There are wild flowers—like violets—in the wine. It is a very harmonious vintage.” “The first part of the season was very wet with high mildew pressure,” Hubert’s daughter, Stephanie de Boüard-Rivoal, CEO and co-owner of Château Angélus, added. “We are still in organic conversion, so this was challenging. The second part of the year, we were in drought. But we have clay across the vineyard. It worked like a tank of water. After two months with no rain, we were worried, so we dug in the ground in the vineyard. The clay two meters down was still wet and fresh!” “The style of 2020 is—well, maybe some people pushed it too much,” Hubert said. “The skins were very thick. The risk was too much. A few wines have a little bit too much extraction. We kept the fermentation temperature low and were very gentle. We are getting more precision with the tannins. We wanted the least intervention.” “We are looking to bring more pixels to the image of the wine,” Stephanie said. “The introduction of large oak foudres allows us to limit the oak impact and dissolved oxygen. We are aiming to age 60% in the foudres in the future. We don’t want anything filtering or hiding the fruit.” Then, I asked Stephanie about the Cabernet Franc, which provides a remarkable kind of shimmer to the blend this year. “We were very surprised to have a revelation with the Cabernet Franc when we were doing the blends. The Merlot we called ‘sublime,’ but we thought the Cabernet Franc a little shy to begin. Then it came through. Yes, the Cabernet Franc truly shines through this year!”
Robert Parker 97/100
Drink Date:2027 - 2060