Last month I got the chance to go to a vertical tasting (Upright bottles in a line!) at a fabulous members club in Pall Mall.
For those that don’t live in London. There is a street in London filled with members clubs – traditionally gentleman’s clubs. Some have been around for 200 years. Some as late as a few years ago- such as 67 Pall mall.
67 Pall Mall has now become firmly established as a wine only members club and is revered as such. It is not a stuffy club – nor sometimes dated like so many clubs “on the strip “. So when I got the chance to go – I naturally accepted.
If your ever in a room and feel your privileged to be there (and that happens very rarely for me in this industry). Then this was the time. Expecting a meeting room filled with plastic chairs, a few bottles on the side and maybe some out-of-date biscuits to dry the mouth – this was what I was expecting. This was not the case
“67” is a Georgian end of terraced town house(see above) and inside is a rabbit warren of corridors and secret doors. The basement reveals itself to to be a very grand affair.
Place sat for 20 people and a 2 course lunch. (notice Stephen Spurrier and Hubert Bouard )
This was serious ! MW’s littered the table, 2 producers and Steven Spurrier as well as a host of CEO’s and other people of influence. 8 years ago I never thought I would be in a select group of people tasting the finer characteristics of one of St Emillion’s top producer. I guess the boy had come a long way! I am still in the industry that i love and I’m still writing for a magazine . So this experience I was always going to be thankful for. 18 glasses in from of me this was going to be tough!
The tasting was organised by Hubert Bouard (pictured below)
and Klein Constantia ( of which he part owns and is in collaboration with KK) hence both of them were here. Half of the 18 glasses of wine were Klein Constantia’s the others were Hubert’s. On this day he was also highlighting his affordable range of £15-30 wines as well as Ch. Angelus.(see below)
The many faces of Hubert Bouard !
Huberts new range of wines (below) and Ch Angelus
- This 2017 Chardonnay has tropical fruits, pineapples and nectarines and a touch of baking bread and ginger on the nose and palate. Good finish on the palate. Around £28 Drink till 2020
- 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon notes of cassis, black plums and forest floor fruits , some savoury notes. Soft smooth tannins with a finish that resembles some sort of menthol. Drink till 2025
- 2017 Cabernet Franc shows potpourri together with red fruit, red currants, raspberries and the fabled pencil shavings of Bordeaux. As with Cabernet Franc i always refer to this humble varietal as the “smelly grape” and thus shows a gentle fragrance. Drink till 2025
- 2017 Merlot red and black plums the nose , savoury and forest floor fruits on the palate together with cigar box. Drink till 2025
- 1989 Ch. Angelus – Dark purple colour. Blueberry and Blackberry on the nose with hints of black olives, liquorice and cedar wood on the palate. Also shows Coffee beans and enticing chocolate characteristics. Drink till 2028
Ch. Angelus and the Classification system.
If you ever need to understand the importance of Ch. Angelus in the Bordeaux empire just look at the 1855 classification
Bordeaux introduced the classification in 1855 under Napoleon III, and it now serves as a measure of quality and prestige worldwide. Its aim was to highlight the soil’s typical characteristics. Some wines not included in the classification are sometimes more highly regarded than those in the classifications eg Petrus
There are several classifications in Gironde (Bordeaux) , listed in order of seniority:
If you want to read more about the subject of each classification, please click on one of the 5 links immediately below
Key points of the St Emillion classification
- 82 crus in the AOC classification
- Started in 1954
- The governing body (INAO) must revise the classification every ten years.
All of them contain varying degrees of producers. Some small. Some global. But one thing you should consider is that being in one group is not a disadvantage of not being in another. There are tables that showcase the best. But if you are looking for something that is not extortionate then there is a classification for you.
St Emillion differs from the rest as it has 3 categories – class A, class B (top tier and second tier) and then the rest of the producers. Currently Class A has 4 producers Class B has 14 producers. Then 63in the rest of the 3rd category.
Assessment : 63 Producers-good producers. Class B Very good producers.Class A – exceptional producers
For this reason, as you can understand, it was a good and rare experience to accept the invitation to the tasting.
Château Angelus, until 1990 was known as Château L’angelus, or simply L’angelus, is a Bordeaux wine from the appellation Saint-Émilion, since 2012 ranked Premier grand cru classé (A) in the Classification of Saint-Émilion wine. The winery is located on the Right Bank of the Bordeaux wine region, in the commune of Saint-Émilion in the department Gironde. (see map on right)
Key historic points of Ch. Angelus
- The estate has been owned by the Boüard de Laforest family since 1909.
- The name refers to the three Angelus bells audible from the chapel at Mazerat, the church in Saint-Martin de Mazeret and Saint-Émilion.
- Hubert de Boüard de Laforest joined the family business at Angelus in 1976
- The estate has been classified as a Premier grand cru cru classé (A) since 2012.
- The estate consists of 23.4 hectares (23 Twickenham rugby pitches)
- Grape variety of 51% Merlot, 47% Cabernet Franc and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon.
- The annual production averages 10,000 cases of the Grand vin and 1,000 cases of the second wine.
In the last thirty years, Hubert de Boüard de Laforest has constantly challenged practices and techniques for the benefit of his land and the unique characteristics of the wines grown on it, enabling Château Angelus to be recognised as one of the foremost properties in its appellation area. This recognition has been documented in one classification after another, the last of which awarded Château Angelus the status of Premier Grand Cru Classé “A”. (See above)
From the very beginning, the Château Angelus wine label has always featured a bell on a light background as a reminder of the devotion of the same name. Over the years the bell has become the emblem of the property and has been depicted in many different styles
3 wines of Ch. Angelus
Carillon d’Angélus was first released in the 1987 vintage. Over the years it has acquired its very own identity. The wine is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon selected from different Saint-Emillion terroirs. The vinification and ageing techniques are adapted with precision to its particular style. It is highly appreciated for the purity of its fruit aromas, its velvety tannins and elegant finish.
Expect to pay £75-85 per bottle ($110-130)
When the Château Angelus philosophy of excellence is applied to a selection of different Saint-Emillion terroirs, No. 3 d’Angélus results. Blended with 85 to 90% Merlot, this wine is made for instant enjoyment as soon as it is delivered from the winery. It is a refined version of its illustrious parents, which provides enjoyment while waiting the necessary years for the First Wine and Carillon d’Angélus to reach their full maturities. The vines used to grow No. 3 d’Angélus are cultivated with the same care as those used to make its elders and their fruit is vinified with the same precision. The yields are larger and the wine is aged for a shorter period with no recourse to new wood: only one- or two-year-old barrels are used. No. 3 d’Angélus is an easy-going, attractive wine, which gives its all when very young and can yet benefit from being kept for five to eight years.
Expect to pay approx £44 ($55)
50% Cabernet Franc and 50%. Dark plum/purple in colour. Notes of blueberry and blackberry the nose together with olive, liquorice and cedar wood. In the mouth the sensations are more espresso roast and chocolate. Drink now to 2030.
Expect to pay £450-550 Magnum $800-950 (tried in this tasting)
Ch. Angelus has even appeared in James Bond’s Casino Royale
Wine paired with Music
As with all articles i like to add a song , an album or just a piece of music. Angelus is steeped in tradition and thats its attraction. Sometimes music pairing just feels right. In this instance Tyler Childers song of Whitehouse Road shows a melodic uplifting beat that gradually improves over the length of the song. It is thoughtful, insightful and above all allows the listener to take their time and listen and enrich the listening experience.
In the same token Angelus should be enjoyed over time , no rush , no stress and the individual should enjoy the moment. So linking the two I’m trying to nudge the attraction of the wine not just to its traditional consumers but perhaps a more diverse audience.
Don’t worry ill never pair any wine with Justin Bieber. Life is too short !