Dinner with Jean Bernard Grenie of Chateau Angelus organized by Kahns Fine Wines

Seasons 52, Indianapolis

Tasted January 26, 2013 by Prof B with 802 views


This dinner was organized by Kahns Fine Wines, having the opportunity to host Jean Bernard Grenie. Jean Bernard offered some introductory remarks mainly focusing on the recent reclassification of St. Emilion that elevated Chateau Angelus to Grand Cru Classe A.

Flight 1 - Starter Course (1 note)

A medley of Artichoke Parmesan Crostinis, Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms, and Pork Medallions with Shallot Dijon Glaze Reduction.

White - Sparkling
N.V. Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
The night began with this workhorse sparkler paired with the appetizers. I always enjoy this wine, though I barely touched my glass as I was more interested in what followed.

Flight 2 - Second Course (1 note)

Wild arugula salad with seasoned cranberries, truffle parmesan creme, and a creamy thyme vinaigrette also served with wild mushroom crositini.

2007 Château Angélus France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
92 points
~60% cabernet franc with the remainder merlot. A much more feminine style than the other vintages of Angelus, perhaps to be expected from an 07. In the glass, this wine offered light aromas of charcoal, balsawood, and dry tobacco leaf. A very smooth wine on the palate, showing tart cherry, tobacco leaf, bell pepper along with a rather pleasant pleasant earthiness. The acidity was quite nice in this wine and the finish was moderate to long. Jean Bernard was clearly proud of the wine Angelus produced in 2007. While this wine will not have the longevity of the other vintages, it is a very delicious and drinkable wine.

Flight 3 - Entree Course (2 notes)

Grilled Lamb Chops with a bordeaux glaze served with garlic tourned potatoes and green beans

2009 Château Bellevue St. Émilion Grand Cru France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
91 points
Of the wines tasted this evening, this was both the youngest and had the highest amount of merlot (98%). A deep inky purple wine whose nose is offers a mixed of dark fruits and moderate oak influences. At such an early stage in its evolution, the wines shows little more than this while tasted. I detected plum and black raspberry followed by dense, slightly bitter tannins that linger. The oak was also noticeable on the palate. Jean Bernard suggested this wine should be drunk within ten years since it is predominantly merlot. The structure and and big fruit on this wine suggest I would enjoy drinking this wine at about that age and later.
2006 Château Angélus France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
93 points
The 2006 is a more typical blend for Angelus, being ~60% merlot and ~40% cf. It was decanted for about ninety minutes before serving. I detected burnt tobacco, sandalwood, and a bit of heat on the nose. The palate offered hints of green pepper, mild oak, and black fruits but was dominated by massive and somewhat harsh tannins. It had an exceptionally long finish that may not have ended had this not been paired with the lamb. I liked this wine, though more for the future I saw in it than anything else. I'd love to check in on this wine in a decade to see if the tannins fade enough to let the fruit and other characters shine through.

Flight 4 - Cheese course (2 notes)

Port Salut, smoked gouda, and amber valley red leicester

2003 Château Angélus France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
88 points
This was served along side the 96 as the other vintage made predominantly of cabernet franc. On the nose this wine revealed plenty of big red fruits (as opposed to the darker fruits of the 96). I detected none of the charcoal, leather, or tobacco I had noticed in the other three vintages of Angelus. The vegetal elements from the cabernet franc were quite clear. A very dry wine with only a moderate finish. It seemed most at my table enjoyed this wine quite a bit, but it was not to my tastes. The hot vintage clearly showed here, and not in the way I'd prefer. Jean Bernard stated the hot vintage was very difficult on the merlot in 2003 while the smaller cabernet franc fruit did not suffer as much, hence the blend for this vintage being mostly cf. He described this as "The California Wine" (which was clearly not a compliment). When pressed he offered that most cannot identify the region this wine hails from when tasted blind and that most guess California. I offered that while it was indeed a fruit-forward wine, it was clearly a quality cabernet franc driven wine with plenty of structure. In my experience, the relative rarity of quality cf wines in California made this an odd blind-tasting guess. St. Emilion seemed a much more likely point of origin to me, though I'd not have been able to distinguish it further.
1996 Château Angélus France, Bordeaux, Libournais, St. Émilion Grand Cru
95 points
The oldest and most enjoyable of the Angelus we tried this evening. This was easily the wine of the night. According to Jean Bernard, the 1996 (along with the 03) are unusual for the Chateau in that they are predominantly cabernet franc. In the glass, the wine was a deep purple with no sign of bricking yet there was a fair bit of sediment despite being decanted prior to serving. Jim and I both detected tobacco leaf on the nose as well as hints of new leather. The black fruits remained strong on the palate, though they had given way enough to allow the tobacco and leather to show. The cabernet franc was also noticeable, which presented itself for me as hints of bell pepper. The finish on this wine was quite long, and immensely enjoyable. Everyone at the table other than I agreed this wine was at its peak and should be drunk now. I still wondered whether a few more years might let the fruit yield to allow some tertiary flavors to show. My comment prompted Jean Bernard to ask if I was British, suggesting that the British often wait until their wine is too old. The point was moot though, as I'm not fortunate enough to own any of the 96.

Flight 5 - Trio of Sweet Mini Indulgences (1 note)

Pecan Pie, Vanilla Creme Brulee, and Old Fashioned Carrot Cake

White - Sweet/Dessert
2007 Château Doisy-Védrines France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes
93 points
Though my palate had become a bit fatigued at this stage, it was awoken by this little gem. A harmony of marmalade, apricots, and candied peaches with an exceptionally long finish. Smooth and mouth-coating, what isn't to like? A phenomenal pairing with the creme brulee.
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A wonderful opportunity to taste a top Chateau of St. Emilion along with the co-owner. My thanks to the team at Kahns Fine Wines for making this happen, and especially for seating me along side Jean Bernard Grenie.

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