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After Renovation And Reclassification, Château Angélus Promotes Its Elevated Status

June 13, 2014

Following completion of a two-year renovation project and a classification upgrade, Bordeaux winemaker Château Angélus is asserting its role in the global market as one of Saint-Emilion’s premier players.

In the Saint-Emilion reclassification of September 2012, Angélus was elevated to Premier Grand Cru Classé A—the region’s most elite ranking. Angélus was promoted along with Château Pavie, and both joined Château Ausone and Château Cheval-Blanc as the only four wineries with Premier Grand Cru Classé A status.

The new ranking has given Angélus an edge as it courts consumers in what has become a more challenging global market for Bordeaux. For the 2012 vintage—the winery’s first since its elevation to the top tier—Angélus has dispensed with its traditional look and is instead packaged in a black bottle with labeling embossed in 21.7-carat gold. Angélus managing director Jean-Bernard Grenié says the special packaging for the 2012 adds value and could allow for higher retail margins. The one-off look, which will arrive in markets this fall, will likely attract collectors as well.

Angélus’ average annual production is 90,000 bottles, with the U.S., Europe and Asia each garnering 30% of sales and other markets comprising the remaining 10%. That balance is intentional, as Angélus has been careful not to rely on a single region—even as thirst for Bordeaux soared in China over the past decade. While Angélus was among Bordeaux’s pioneers in China, “we’ve never stopped working in the traditional markets,” says technical and communication director Emmanuelle d’Aligny-Fulchi.

The 2012 production for Angélus was 80,000 bottles, a bit lower than normal. According to data compiled by Wine Spectator, the initial futures offering at retail for the Angélus 2012 was $278 a bottle, a nearly 30% jump from 2011. The difficult 2013 vintage carried a futures price of $268, down 4% from 2012, and production was lower still at 75,000 bottles, of which Angélus has sold about 60,000 bottles.

By comparison, Ausone’s 2013 futures price at retail was down 14% to $498, while Cheval-Blanc’s was down 8% to $478. Château Pavie’s 2013 futures price at retail was $268, down 3% from the previous year.

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