A Signature of Terroir and Vintage: Vignoble Angst
Céline and Antoine Angst want their wines to show their respective terroirs and vintages. They’d just like to have some wine to do that with. Along with so many of their colleagues in Chablis and the greater Yonne area, their harvest sizes dramatically dipped in 2016 and 2017. In 2016, their average yield was a puny 20 hectoliters per hectare; they pulled in one-third of their usual volume. In 2017, they had only half a typical harvest.
But, the couple is young, so time is on their side. They began their commercial wine production in 2009 with less than 3,000 bottles of Bourgogne Chitry (Chardonnay). Today, they are (theoretically, when nature allows) making about 15,000 bottles. Céline’s background is in pharmacy, so it easily followed for her pursue a university degree as a wine technician. Antoine previously worked at Louis Michel, overseeing the care of the vineyards. Their skill sets are very yin and yang.
P.S. If you do (or even if you don’t) visit the Angsts, don’t miss the Pontigny Abbey, the largest Cistercian abbey still standing in Europe. It is stunning from afar and on the inside. There are no vines around Pontigny today, but the monks did plant there. The office of the BIVB-Chablis (the marketing and promotions board of Chablis) is in a lovely building in the center of Chablis called The Petit Pontingy, and it previously served as the abbey’s vinification site.
NOTES FROM JULY 2017
Bourgogne Blanc Chasse Margotte 2016
Usually called Bourgogne Chitry, this vintage’s cuvée includes fruit from Serrigny, near the town of Tonnerre, as well as purchased fruit from the greater Auxerrois. It is a brisk, chiseled Chardonnay with a nice mid-palate pop of glycerol. Pristine clean citrus flavors dominate the palate and modest finish.
Drink: Through 2018
Petit Chablis 2016
This is the largest cuvée chez Angst, accounting for six of the domaine’s eight hectares. It comes from plots to the north (Maligny) and west (Courgis) of Chablis. Its sharply chalky aromas turn into a surprisingly open, rounded of roasted golden apples. Straight-forward and pleasant, this would be a nice alfresco sipper.
Drink: Through 2018
Coming from the southeast-facing Les Chétillons vineyard near Courgis, there’s nice flesh in this harmonious wine. It has a classic Chablis nose of chalk and oyster shell then turns toward the more exotic on the palate with pineapple, Mandarin orange and baking spices.
Bourgogne Chitry 2015
My final pen strokes note, “I could drink this all day!” This is a dynamic, polished and medium-bodied wine with a lovely array of mineral tones, straw, white flowers, yellow apple and a touch of smokiness. Vividly fresh on the moderate finish, this is very well-proportioned. It’s a shame there wasn’t any fruit on the Angsts’ Chitry vines in 2016.
Smelling of sea salt, water crackers and crushed chalk, this mid-weight wine has excellent tension. The palate echoes the aromas, and the flavors converge into a medium finish. Given the fiery acidity, this should hold well, but it’s too charming to resist now.
Chablis Côte de Jouan Premier Cru 2016
Blended from three parcels – one in the center and two toward the bottom of the slope – this wine has nice acidic cut, solid fruit concentration and a nicely long finish of yellow plums and nectarines. The step up in charisma here is impressive!
Bourgogne Rosé 2015
This is the second vintage of this wine, hailing from a vineyard the couple planted as Bourgogne Rouge in 2011. It’s a shame there is no 2016 (zero clusters on the vine due to hail), because this is a vinous and engaging rosé with strawberries, red plums, rose petals and a touch of earthiness.
Drink: Through 2018
What a great way to end this tasting! Made from purchased grapes, the couple will make this wine from their own vines starting in 2022. The soft, silky attack shows classic Pinot Noir elegance. The palate is teeming with black plums, black currants and blueberries that turn minerally on the medium finish. This has invigorating freshness!