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Angélus to withdraw from Saint-Émilion classification

Château Angélus is to become the third Premier Grand Cru Classé A property to withdraw from the Saint-Émilion classification system, it has been reported. 

Angelus borne © Deepix

The château has been one of the four ‘first growths’ of Saint-Émilion, and classified as a Premier Grand Cru Classé A  since 2012. Before that it had been a Premier Grand Cru Classé  B since 1996.

However, this year it has decided to withdraw its candidacy, following the decision of a Bordeaux criminal court last month to fine the estates’s co-owner Hubert de Boüard, after finding him guilty of an illegal conflict of interest during the drawing up the classification of Saint-Émilion in 2012, according to a press report quoted in the French newspaper L’Express Style de Vie.  At the timem de Boüard held a senior position in the national appellation body, the INAO, as well as a senior figure in Saint-Émilion’s wine body, the ODG.

In an interview published yesterday with de Boüard’s daughter Stephanie de Boüard-Rivoal, the 8th generation of the family who took over running the estate in 2012, she was quoted as deploring “the current system, which was unsuited to the challenges of our domain and its appellation”.

As a result, the château would “stay focused on our primary task which is to take care of our terroir to produce great wines”, she was quoted as saying.

It follows the shock exit in August by Cheval Blanc and Ausone from the Saint-Émilion classification system, who argued that they were reluctant to leave, but that the evaluation criteria departed too much from the fundamentals aspects of the terroir, the wine, and the history. “Other secondary elements have taken too much importance in the final evaluation,” Pierre Lurton and Pierre-Olivier Clouet at Cheval Blanc told journal Terre de Vins in an exclusive article.

At the time, de Boüard-Rivoal said that the classification of Saint-Émilion had “the advantage of pulling everyone up, of creating an emulation”.

“It’s a shame to turn your back on meritocracy, it is a possibly penalizing and detrimental choice for all Bordeaux and for a ranking to which we owe so much,” she told French journal Terre de Vins.

At the time, she confirmed that Château Angélus has submitted a file for includion in 2022, and that “we have a solid and well-crafted ranking in 2022”.

The classificiation was created in 1955 as competitive classification, to be renewed every decade by an independent panel of experts based on pre-published criteria and giving a significant weight to the tasting of the wines themselves. However, over the years it has proved to be controversial.


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