En Primeur Releases: 18 May 2021
18 May 2021
A wine which has continually wowed us over the last 5 vintages or so is Angelus and the 2020 is released today at GBP 3048/12.
Angelus continues to benefit from its shift in stylistic development since Stephanie de Bouard has taken the reins. Along with Pavie, Angelus could rightly have once been considered the poster boy for the high-octane days of the late 'noughties' in St Emilion; however the times they are a-changin' and certainly at Angelus we have seen a significant step back in terms of ripening, extraction and oak treatment – and evidence suggests that this new track is proving extremely successful.
"This is a sleek, poised, and confidently-constructed Angélus" Jane Anson, Decanter
The 2020 is a superb vintage for Angelus, with the natural ripeness of the vintage producing the power for which the estate has become famous, and yet the deftness of Stephanie de Bouard's touch is also very much in evidence. There is great precision, freshness and a remarkable spherical quality to the tannins which pack plenty of punch but which are polished and fine. As James Lawther MW puts it "Classic Angélus with a little more precision and polish."
Angelus 2020 tasting notes and prices
98-99pts James Suckling "This is wonderfully refined and balanced with such pretty depth. Full-bodied and so polished and pure. Subtle at first, then it takes off and keeps coming. Sophisticated. 60% merlot and 40% cabernet franc."
18/20pts JL, jancisrobinson.com "Deep purple-black colour. As in 2019 the power inherent but an extra edge of refinement. Ripe but aromatically engaging with floral, dark-fruit and chocolate notes. Beautiful texture with depth of fruit and the tannins velvety and fresh providing solid structure and drive on the finish. Classic Angélus with a little more precision and polish."
97pts Jane Anson, Decanter "Supple damson fruits, I love the aromatics on this and the striking fruits. Silky in texture, balanced and elegant, there are big tannins that slowly but surely creep up on you through the palate. This is a sleek, poised, and confidently-constructed Angélus, with depth to the olive, chocolate, cassis body and a crushed mint leaf kiss on the finish. As often with this vintage it is not an exuberant hug, it is more about discreet power and gorgeous stealing-up of flavours and textures giving depth and subtle power."
GBP 1524 per case/6 IB
Other formats are available:
Halves – GBP 1540 per case/12 IB
Magnums – GBP 1530 per case/3 IB
Double magnums – GBP 3138 per case/3 IB
Imperials – GBP 2077 each IB
This morning we have the release of a very successful Langoa Barton at GBP 358/12. This vintage is replete with the glossy, fresh tannins for which 2020 will undoubtedly become renowned.
Lilian Barton and her team have dramatically improved the quality at Langoa Barton, using more precision in the vineyard and a lighter touch in the winery to express more terroir; notably, the naturally cooler temperatures at Langoa (the vineyards are located closer to the centre of St Julien and receive less intense direct sunlight) have helped keep a classicism and restraint in the wine despite the drought and heat of the vintage. Unlike some of the 2020 wines we have tasted which feel open and expressive already, Langoa seems likely to follow a more traditional path and is in quite a closed phase. However the tannins are beautifully fresh and polished and the underlying fruit is pure and aromatic.
Jane Anson praises its "life and lift through the palate" and James Lawther agrees that it "Promises well for the future".
This is the epitome of 'classic claret', in the most authentic and positive sense. One for drinkers to take in the classic Bordeaux Index selection: halves, bots and mags please.
Langoa Barton 2020 tasting notes and prices
93-94pts James Suckling "Very pretty blackberry and blueberry character with blackcurrants and mint. It's medium-to full-bodied with linear, tight tannins that are polished and fine."
17/20pts JL, jancisrobinson.com "Healthy deep purplish crimson. High-toned, fully ripe nose that is rather seductive before a glossy, polished-tannin dry finish. Promises well for the future while being relatively charming even now. Not the most concentrated 2020 but everything is in balance. Well done. Sappy, dry finish. Very St-Julien. Some restraint despite the initial seduction."
92pts Jane Anson, Decanter "Not quite as generous as Léoville Barton, replaced with classicism and subdued tannins, as we see the impact of a slightly cooler terroir. Juicy finish, black fruits, plenty of life and lift through the palate. Enjoyable, but closed in with clove spice that is very clear on the finish. Tasted twice."
GBP 358 per case/12 IB
Other formats are available:
Halves – GBP 378 per case/24 IB
Magnums – GBP 368 per case/6 IB
Double magnums – GBP 448 per case/3 IB
Imperials – GBP 284 each IB
Hot on the heels of its GCC 'A' neighbour Angelus comes the 2020 Pavie at GBP 2890. James Suckling considers this a potentially perfect wine: "The intensity and verve of this wine promises true greatness." (99-100pts)
"Power and elegance combined" (JL) has long been the intention here, but we are convinced that recipe of the past 5 years is the most successful for showing both the generous, ambitious style favoured by Gerard Perse whilst still paying great reverence to the stunning limestone terroir on which the estate sits. Jane Anson (97pts) certainly thinks so too: "This shows the limestone terroir in a way that... the more concentrated style of Pavie just didn't do." She goes on to praise its "density and glamour" and considers it "pretty disarming overall". Sounds like love to me...
"Absolute precision. More than highlights the change in style. One of the best yet." James Lawther, jancisrobinson.com
Until its sale over twenty years ago for USD 31m by the Valette family to Gerard Perse, the quality of Chateau Pavie was, to be diplomatic, unremarkable. Its long history, despite fame and pedigree was marked with inconsistency. The turnaround in fortunes under Gerard Perse has thus been all the more extraordinary. It began with a bang with the release of the blockbuster 1998 and since then the estate has never looked back: two major renovations of the winery, absorbing the much-fabled vineyards of La Clusiere into Pavie, no less than 12 vintages receiving 95 points or more from RP and elevation to the top of the St. Emilion hierarchy, the ascent of Chateau Pavie has been one of Bordeaux's best stories of the past 25 years.
Pavie 2020 tasting notes and prices
99-100pts James Suckling "The aromas are already exceptional, showing crushed-stone, limestone and salt character to the dark fruit and bark. It's full-bodied, yet agile. Floats on the palate, then kicks in with loads of ultra fine tannins. The intensity and verve of this wine promises true greatness."
97pts Jane Anson, Decanter "The Cabernets dominate the blend on the aromatics, and you can really see they are moving the needle on the architecture and sculpting of this wine. A ton of concentration on the nose and upfront, but it is well balanced by damson and blackberry, and has a sense of energy, uplift and clear minerality. This shows the limestone terroir in a way that, with the best will in the world, the more concentrated style of Pavie just didn't do. There is density and glamour, with layers of black chocolate, graphite and liquorice. It is pretty disarming overall, and will age extremely well."
18/20pts JL, jancisrobinson.com "Power and elegance combined. Deep purple-black colour. Intensity and complexity on the nose with dark fruit, cassis, mint and floral notes. Beautifully poised on the palate with smooth attack and persistent fruit and freshness. Powerful tannic frame but tannins really fine and no extraction. Long, persistent finish. Absolute precision. More than highlights the change in style. One of the best yet."
GBP 1445 per case/6 IB
Other formats are available:
Halves – GBP 1460 per case/12 IB
Magnums – GBP 1451 per case/3 IB
Double magnums – GBP 2980 per case/3 IB
Imperials – GBP 1972 each IB