What an astonishing year with, in six months, more rainfall than normally in a whole year!
Except for a good flowering, the weather conditions made life difficult in the vines up till mid-July.
After a very favourable start to the growing season with a very early bud-break, the vine cycle was delayed at the end of April by a frost which hit the Bordeaux region very severely. At Angélus, where nature was kind, we were mostly spared this sad episode.
However, over the small area affected by the frost, substantial selection work was carried out.
2017: bursting with stunning fruit flavour
The growing season started with a bang with the vines budding very early.
At the end of April, frost struck the Bordeaux vineyard hard, sadly dashing some growers’ prospects of producing any crop at all. At Angélus, where nature was kinder, we were scarcely affected by this sad episode.
There on, everything went wonderfully well with excellent flowering followed by a very hot month of June, which provided the vines with the necessary energy and strength to grow superb grapes.
Summer was quite cool but dry, which favoured the preservation of fresh fruit aromatics and slow ripening.
As the end of summer approached, with its occasional showers, the harvest got underway -beginning on September 13th!
Everything in the vineyard had been been in the best possible shape up till now.
It gave us an early glimpse of the potential 2017 crop. After a normal bud-break, spring brought mild temperatures and vine vegetation growth accelerated, while the formation of bunches was 10 days early.
Unfortunately, the wine region of Bordeaux was severely hit by frost during the nights of the 26th and 27th April, Angélus included. Although 80% of the vines at Angélus dedicated to the First Wine are undamaged, the impact is nevertheless quite significant.
The 2017 harvest will therefore not be abundant. However we will muster all the necessary energy and all our resources to make the little wine we will produce in 2017 of outstanding quality.
If we look back over the history of our region, we are reminded that if a spring frost affects the abundance of the harvest, it does not necessarily reduce quality. The glorious vintages of 1945 and 1961, when the initial weather conditions were similar to what we have just experienced, are two shining examples.
"Unstinting efforts ensure the successful completion of all work." Virgil.
With the 2014 vintage, Angélus is celebrating Hubert de Boüard’s 30th vintage and will be presenting for the occasion a unique bottle, decorated with a special strip label featuring intricate detail centring round the figure 30.
Since 1782, the De Boüard de Laforest family has passionately written the chapters of Angélus’s history. Hubert de Boüard, representing the family’s 7th generation alongside Jean-Bernard Grenié, has taken the wine estate to the very top of Saint-Emilion’s hierarchy of great wines. He today accompanies Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal and Thierry Grenié de Boüard, who are the 8th generation of the family to preside over the destiny of Angélus.
In his ampelographical treatise of 1909, P. Viala stated that the etymology of its name and its synonyms go way back in history and referred to a scholar of the 17th century called Petit Lafitte, who appeared to claim that the Vidure (the Petite Vidure or the Grosse Vidure)- its Bordeaux name, was the ancestor of the Biturica. He bases his opinion on the hypothesis that the word Vidure may come from the word Bidure, then Biturica. It was from the 19th century that the Cabernet Franc could be found in written works.
2016, the Radiant One
3 months of summer without water: never before seen in the living memory of winegrowers! This surprising weather, and these incredible conditions, promise us a great, unpredictable and unexpected vintage. Until 20 June, the weather did not spare us, inflicting very heavy rainfall of about 750 mm, which corresponds to the total annual rainfall for a dry year in Bordeaux... In spite of these conditions, flowering went well. Fine weather set in from the last week of June and, which is rare, remained right up to the harvest. We had a sunny but rather cool July, with cold nights. By the end of July, the sea temperature was much lower than usual for this period. And not a drop of rain. August saw temperatures climb, with heatwaves of over 35 degrees some days. Nevertheless, the day / night temperature ratio was 2 to 1 throughout the month, highly favourable for aromatic expression in our grapes and maintaining freshness in the fruit. To this can be added the almost complete absence of rain, 5 to 8 mm which is nothing, or the strict minimum to allow the vine to rehydrate. And that is why the very young vines began to suffer. The oldest vines, especially on clay and/or limestone soils, resisted magnificently (the limestone and clay work like sponges, absorbing water when it rains and redistributing it during drought).
In more than 35 years of observing the vineyard, I have always been accustomed to storms on 14 July and 15 August. This year, not a bit! The summer continued through September, and with it the heat: daily temperatures of 28, 30 degrees. A severe storm was forecast for mid-September. We were all quaking in our boots. But the menacing white and grey clouds finally turned into beneficial rain. 19 then 4 mm of rain. This rain fallen from the heavens gave back energy, strength and breath to our vineyard. Then the good weather quickly returned. The tannins are ripening slowly and picking begins at the start of October for the grands vins. The cool nights have preserved the aromas and the acidity. The weather forecast for the coming two weeks lets us look forward to a calm harvest, picking as we wish, and allowing us to hope for and expect another great vintage at Angélus! A radiant vintage in the image of this three-month summer that fixed its destiny and shaped its identity.
That’s it! Angélus’ magnificent Merlot has been picked. Ripe, but not excessively so, crunchy, fruity and very fresh.
When we tasted the first tanks, they confirmed the potential we expected of the fruit: good honest aromas, lots of tannins of good quality.
Now the team has started picking the Cabernet Franc grapes, which are Angélus’ crown jewels. Even though the variety does not dominate completely, it covers almost half the area planted with vines. Cabernet Franc contributes elegance, subtlety and density with a silky feel.
They too are magnificent this year and will contribute significantly to the enrichment of this new vintage.