The vineyard of Château Angélus is situated in a natural amphitheatre overlooked by the three Saint-Emilion churches. In the middle of this special site, the sounds were amplified and the angelus bells could be heard ringing in the morning, at midday and in the evening. They cadenced the working day in the vineyards and villages, calling the men and women to stop their labours for a few minutes and pray.
The great French impressionist painter, Jean-François Millet immortalised this moment of prayer in his magnificent work “The Angelus”, which is now on show in Paris’ Musée d’Orsay.
The Angelus devotion has a long history originating in 11th-century monastic custom, but the ringing of a noon bell is attributed to Pope Callistus III, who ordered a prayer for protection against the Turkish invasions of the 1400’s.
The bell on the Château Angélus label recalls the call to prayer and the moment of devotion.
Michel de Boüard de Laforest, historian, chartist and rector of the Academy of Caen explored the origins of his family. The earliest reference he found to his family tree was with Georges Boüard, born in 1544, a Bourgeois and Jurat of the city of Bordeaux.
At the end of the 18th century in 1782, Jean de Boüard de Laforest, a King’s bodyguard, settled in Saint-Emilion. His daughter, Catherine Sophie de Boüard de Laforest, married Charles Souffrain de Lavergne in 1795 and set up home on the Mazerat estate, which belonged to her husband.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Maurice de Boüard de Laforest inherited the estate. He extended it, adding in particular a 3-hectare (7½-acre) enclosure named Angélus in 1920. He left it to his sons in 1945. Jacques and Christian de Boüard de Laforest continued their father’s work and that of previous generations. The property was classified in 1954. They extended it further until by 1985 it exceeded 20 hectares (50 acres). At this time, Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, Jacques’ son, took over the management of the estate and was joined in 1987 by his cousin Jean-Bernard Grenié, Christian’s son-in-law and later by his daughter, Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal in 2012 and by his nephew Thierry Grenié de Boüard in 2016.
Angélus is henceforward helmed by Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal, joined by her cousin Thierry Grenié de Boüard. Both represent the eighth generation of the Boüard de Laforest family. After Catherine Sophie de Boüard de Laforest in 1800 and Eugénie Chatenet in 1900, Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal is the third woman to preside over the fortunes of this estate, where she was born and grew up. She has an almost physical relationship with Angélus, living with the land and drawing from it the courage and determination she needs to keep on course. It gives her emotional and spiritual strength, and she sees herself as an integral part of this ecosystemic whole.
She measures the full importance of the responsibilities that were entrusted to her in 2012 and the accountability involved. She strives to display how she embraces the founding values, which have guided and supported this family since the very beginning of the story that connects it with this estate: integrity, hard work, humility and a sense of duty.
Alongside her cousin, she will continue the work of their respective fathers, grand-fathers and ancestors, focussed on the sole purpose of serving the renown of Angélus, ensuring that the name which connotes excellence and timelessness, continues to shine over time.
The commitment for me is almost like a priestly vocation, which I take up with faith, passion and gratitude. We are only the guardians of a history that preceded us and will survive us, so our role is to sustain it in the best conditions we will be able to achieve.
We serve our family’s past, our present and most importantly the generations’ future, who will in turn become guardians of the history. It will be our responsibility to prepare them for these duties, so that they can do the best job possible, when the time comes.“ Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal
Born in 1987 in Libourne, Thierry Grenié-de Boüard grew up in Saint-Emilion on the family estate. Having studied management and marketing in UK, Australia and Germany, Thierry Grenié de Boüard continued to occupy international positions in the wine trade. At the same time, he also took part in the winemaking at Château Angélus and Klein Constantia.
Thierry Grenié-de Boüard has been a member of the supervisory board of Angélus since 2014. He now devotes his whole time to family business operations.
“What really counts is our unrelenting engagement in building the success of our family business. My cousin, Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal and I guarantee the future of the estate, where we were born and grew up. It is now our responsibility to nurture it for the generations to come.
We must write the next chapter of a history that started eight generations ago without being beholden to the past. We remember and respect what has been achieved. Being ready for what is to come means having both feet firmly in the present. As Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote: ‘Preparing the future is simply founding the present. […]’”“ Thierry Grenié de Boüard
Less than a kilometre from the famous Saint-Emilion bell tower, situated on the much-vaunted south-facing “foot of the hill”, Angélus has been the life work of eight generations of the Boüard de Laforest family.
In the first-ever classification of Saint-Emilion wines in 1954, Château Angélus was a Grand Cru Classé. Already at the time, it benefitted from a solid reputation, which helped it survive the Bordeaux wine crisis of 1973 and take part in the oenological renewal of the 1980’s. This was the context in which Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, a graduate oenologist from Bordeaux University, took advantage of this marvellous wine’s illustrious past, while being resolutely turned towards the future and launched and continued to implement an ambitious, innovative policy in favour of achieving excellence in wine growing and making.The portraits
“Here in Saint-Emilion at Angélus on our ancestors’ land, vines and wine are like a religion, a passion shared by the whole family. It is our fierce ambition to continue this passionate, family history by safeguarding at Angélus the identity of the great wines of the south-facing slopes of Saint-Emilion and favouring the Cabernet Franc variety. We also firmly intend to move this great estate into the third millennium and benefit from its rich technological innovation.”
The vintages roll by one after another, but are never the same. This is the appeal of a great estate, continuously changing and challenged by unpredictable weather. Every one of these years contributes to the history of Angélus.
“Our thoroughness makes us want to achieve excellence. That’s why our label is a symbol of dreams and trust.” Hubert de Boüard de Laforest.
Angélus likes to share its fine living by combining the flavoursome and refined cuisine of its chef, Alexandre Baumard from the Logis de la Cadène restaurant in Saint-Emilion with its wines.