Only the second time this cuvée has been released, Château Angélus’s Hommage à Elisabeth Bouchet comes from the oldest Cabernet Franc (or Bouchet, which is a common name for the variety on the Right Bank) vines of the Château and is named after the great-grandmother of Stéphanie de Boüard-Rivoal, who is the co-owner and general manager of the Château today. The vines average between 60-80 years in age and are planted in thin, broken limestone on top of blue clay soils. While they had previously vinified these old vines separately, this special cuvée has only previously been released in 2016. Going forward, it will be produced in exceptional years, with releases coming from 2019 and 2020. It will not be released in 2021.
The 2018 was completely destemmed and vinified in concrete tanks, with the elevage spanning 22 months in new French oak. Roughly 20% of the 2018 was brought up in foudre, which is a change from 100% barrel age 2016. Hitting a little over 14% alcohol with a pH of 3.65, this is a powerful, concentrated expression of Cabernet Franc that nevertheless has incredible purity and precision, with integrated oak, lots of mid-palate depth, and building structure. Reminding me a little of a hypothetical blend of the Château Angélus 2003 and 2005 given its concentration and richness, as well as sunny character, this utterly brilliant wine needs lots of air to show at its best today. It will ideally be given at least a decade of bottle age and should be long-lived. There are a scant 849 bottles and 150 magnums produced.