If you want to visit chateaux and wineries in the department of Gironde (The Bordeaux-area) you are on the right spot. From small too big or luxurious wineries, you can find them in this region.
But there are so many and if you are a wine-lover and you know a little bit more, about wine which are you going to choose? And not all properties are open to public and even for journalists.
Before I went on vacation to the city of Bordeaux I choose some I really wanted to see.
For my first chateau I went to the village of Saint- Emilion. This small town is famous for its three churches. It’s very beautiful and, like other famous sights, touristic.
The classification for Saint-Emilion wines was first invented in 1955. It was modified in 2012. There are now 82 properties in this classification. And there are only four of them with the highest gradation ‘Premier Grand Cru Classé A’. In 2012 Château Angélus became a member of this high ranking classification. Did they deserve it? In my humble opinion: ‘Yes’. The Angelus (full name Angelus Domini) is a Catholic prayer.
I was so lucky to visit this family-business for the first many years ago during a party on the property itself. Even then I was very impressed.
In 2012 after the hard work of Hubert de Boüard de Laforest (former general manager and part owner) Château Angélus became illuster and immortal. It moved up to the highest rank. Not only Hubert de Boüard de Laforest is a brilliant business-man, he is also an oenologist. Hubert got educated by one of the most famous and best French oenologist, Emiel Peynaud. Emiel Peynaud was known all over the world because he was considered as the father of modern oenology. Oenology is coming from the Greek word ‘Oenos’ that means wine. It’s the science or study of wines and wine-making.
The first traces of the family de Boüard de Laforest in Saint-Emilion were traced back to1782. Nowadays Stephanie de Boüard-Rivoal (general manager), daughter of Hubert and her cousin Thierry Grenié de Boüard are managing the business. They are the 8th generation.
Since 2013 the family de Boüard de Laforest also went into the restaurant business. They bought their first restaurant in Saint Emilion ‘La Logis de la Cadène’. In 2017 it got rewarded with a Michelin-star. Not so long ago they bought ‘restaurant Gabriel’ in Bordeaux.
The most impressive thing is that this chateau has a small mechanical bell-tower. It can play 160 different tunes.
After they played our national anthem for us, we were shown all the modifications; after today’s standard and the vision of the family. And believe me every winery has his own idea and twist of making wine.
Their wines are mainly made of Merlot with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.
We got the best Angélus from 2011 and a Saint Emilion Grand Cu Classé Château Bellevue from 2012 to taste.
I don’t have to say and explain that it are magnificent wines.
To be in a tasting-room of a chateau, even for me, is something sacred. From this room on the first floor I could see the vineyards. At the end of the visit, as a huge surprise, I got a big book about the history of Chateau Angelus with the signature of Stephanie de Boüard-Rivoal. I was speechless.
On to the next winery…..