1) It has a long – and short – history
Chateau Angelus is both one of the oldest and youngest chateaux in the Saint Emilion appellation. It is managed by the winemaking de Bouard family, which has been in Bordeaux for over 700 years, having arrived in the area in 1782. However, the chateau as we know it today was only born in 1909, when Maurice de Bouard de La Forest purchased a parcel of vines known as L’Angelus, and named the estate as such.
2) The name was inspired by nearby churches
The parcel of vines responsible for the estate’s name was so-called because of its proximity to three local churches. Those working in their Bordeaux vineyards would hear bells throughout the day, and the sound inspired not only the name of the chateau, but its logo and the sculpture which appears on the property.
3) It had a name change in the 1980s
Shortly after Hubert de Bouard began running the property in 1988, he changed its name from Chateau L’Angelus to Chateau Angelus. Why? Because it meant the wine showed up first in alphabetised lists!
4) The 2012 Saint Emilion classification set it apart
The 2012 reclassification of Saint Emilio estates saw the chateau elevated to Premier Classe A – an honour it shares with just three other estates: Chateau Ausone, Chateau Cheval Blanc and Chateau Pavie.
5) It didn’t always have such an illustrious reputation
Chateau L’Angelus was well known for making exceptional wines during the 1950s, but come the 1960s its quality began to slip, and during so-called ‘great’ Bordeaux years, such as 1982, the chateau underperformed. But things turned around after Hubert took the reins from his father Jacques. He was one of the first Bordeaux winemakers to embrace fermenting in open top vats, and adopted other techniques such as aging on the lees, harvesting on a parcel-by-parcel basis and lowering yields – all standard practices today but at the time considered revolutionary.
6) It was one of the first chateau to expand into Asia
Hubert was a clever marketer and spent considerable time travelling around China to establish the culture of, and interest in, Bordeaux grand vins. Chateau Angelus remains a firm favourite with the Asian market today, helped along by the golden bell – considered a lucky symbol – on every bottle.
7) It’s James Bond’s favourite wine
Well, we can’t be completely sure of that, but Mr Bond is certainly a fan. The chateau appeared in Casino Royale, where Daniel Craig’s 007 is seen enjoying a glass. According to Hubert, this smart product placement led to a huge sales spike.
8) It boasts a unique blend
Chateau Angelus has a distinctive and particular style, thanks to its almost equal blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc, with just a hint of Cabernet Sauvignon. Its terroir of sand, clay and limestone also plays an important role in shaping its inimitable characteristics.
9) It has a second wine called Carillon de l’Angelus
Twelve hectares of vines are set aside for the estate’s second wine, Carillon de l’Angelus, which was first released in 1987 and is known for its pure fruit aromas, velvety tannins and elegant finish.
10) It’s now managed by Stephanie de Bouard-Rivoal
Stephanie is an eighth-generation Bouard and the third woman to run the estate, having taken over from her father Hubert in 2014. She has made it clear that Chateau Angelus will remain a family-run property, telling reporters that nothing could tempt her away from the estate, “Not even wealth beyond my wildest dreams.”