92-95/100 Andrew Caillard MW. Deep colour. Medium deep colour. Fresh red cherry/ liquorice/ chocolate aromas. Lovely structure. Red cherry/ red plum flavours, fine plentiful graphite tannins and underlying vanilla oak. Finishes muscular firm but long and sweet.
92-95/100 Robert Parker Jr. A great success for proprietor Hubert de Bouard, the 2011 Angelus came in at 14.5% natural alcohol (keep in mind that this is supposedly a challenging vintage – and it was), and 75% of the production made it into the top label. The remainder was declassified into a second label or was sold off in bulk. Yields were a low 30 hectoliters per hectare, and the final blend was 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc. The color is a typical dense blue/purple, and the nose offers up wonderful notes of black raspberries, blueberries, flowers, vanillin and spice box. With authority, velvety tannin, good extract and glycerin, this rich, pure, beautifully textured St.-Emilion should drink well for 20+ years.
18/20 James Lawther MW, Decanter. Hallmark purple-black colour. Impressively concentrated for the vintage, offering dense, dark, vibrant fruit. Aromatically complex with cassis, spice, chocolate and orange zest notes. Full-bodied with a powerful tannic frame. Drink 2018-2035.
91-94/100 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator. Polished and direct, with warm raspberry coulis, blueberry preserves and plum flavors pumping along, while a pain d'épices note fills out the finish. There's a loamy echo on the finish that adds depth and length, so this should be putting on weight
16/20 Julia Harding MW, Jancis Robinson. Deep cherry crimson, black core. Very toasty, oaky on the nose. Oak overrules the fruit. Dense but dry and just so aggressive with the wood. Wait for it to die back
St.-Émilion is the star of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, north of the Dordogne River. The rich red wines produced in St.-Émilion, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are less tannic and generally more fruit-driven in flavour than the Cabernet-based wines of Left Bank. Merlot thrives on the plateaus high above the Dordogne, where the soil is filled with sand and clay, a perfect medium for creating opulent, fruit-forward wines. With a typically savoury character, St.-Émilion wines are sometimes called the “Burgundies of Bordeaux.” These refined reds, with loads of finesse, are elegant companions to beef, chicken, pork and duck.
The wines of St.-Émilion were not included in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, which ranked wines of the Left Bank. In 1955, St.-Émilion published its own classification, based on soil analysis, wine quality and reputation of the properties. Unlike the 1855 classification, St.-Emilion’s system requires properties to continuously prove themselves. The list is revised regularly, most recently in 2012. There are two tiers within the classification, Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé. There are currently just 18 Premier Grand Cru properties and 64 Grand Cru Classé properties.
The St.-Émilion appellation is home to hundreds of individual producers, enhancing the variety of wines made there. Many of the properties remain small, family-run enterprises, unlike the large châteaux of the Left Bank. The area is also the base of France’s controversial micro-châteaux or garagiste wine movement; these innovative winemakers operate outside the traditional classification system, making very high quality (and very expensive) highly extracted wines.