The Sommelier’s Corner: Château Angelus Saint-Emilion, one of the most popular Grand Cru in the Kingdom

“This is one of my favourite wines”, says Eden Gnean, manager of Topaz brand and president of the Cambodian Sommelier Association. In her opinion, this Grand Cru, which goes well with classic meat dishes but also with Khmer cuisine, is a perfectly balanced wine with many nuances, a fine quality of tannins and a certain freshness.

Eden is part of a generation eager to discover the subtleties of gastronomy and what goes best with it: a good wine, an excellent wine, a grand cru. A few years ago, she had the privilege of meeting Comte Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, owner of Château Angelus, at a workshop on the Grands Crus of Saint-Emilion. The legendary winemaker proudly explains:

“These young Cambodians probably like Château Angelus because of this tannic touch, which is perhaps a little bit special and which you can feel here in Asia”

Indeed, Hubert de Boüard de Laforest is a frequent visitor to Cambodia, and the Thalias Group’s Cambodge Mag magazine was lucky enough to meet him in December 2023 to ask him a few questions about the ‘unusual’ success of his grands crus in the Kingdom.

The success of Château Angelus in Cambodia 

“I’ve been coming to Asia a lot for a long time now, for over 30 years, because I’ve always thought and considered that this region is an enormous magnet for our great wines, especially those from the Right Bank, especially from Saint-Emilion“ he said, adding: “Château Angelus is one of the two or three biggest jewels in the region. I think it really is a magnet. In terms of the Cambodians’ taste for wine and curiosity, it’s quite incredible. The conversations we’re having with the younger generations – the older ones already had some knowledge – clearly show that it’s spreading and that there’s a real curiosity about wine. Young people want to come and visit, they want to understand why they love these Rive Droite wines”.  “I don’t know if I can say this, but our wine also has a hint of cashmere, a sensation that caresses the palate while retaining a certain density, but which is extremely elegant and reveals a great deal of finesse. The response in Cambodia has been very strong. We’ve found that there’s not just curiosity, but an appetite to drink these wines, especially Château Angelus, which has become one of the strongest, best known and most recognised brands in Cambodia today”. “I think Cambodians are very attentive and very curious about the quality of the wine, but also about the family history behind the wines. There really is a human side to our vineyards and they’re very interested in that”.

Eden Gnean, manager of Topaz brand and president of the Cambodian Sommelier Association

Does Château Angelus go well with Khmer food? 

“Our wines go well with Khmer food. It’s a cuisine that I know very well now that I’ve been here in Cambodia more than a dozen times. With a few exceptions – when we really go overboard with the spices, for example – our wines go extremely well with Khmer food, thanks to the softness of our tannins. With the authentic softness of Saint-Emilion wines, we have both a texture and a slightly rounded, enveloping flavour, with a hint of spice, which goes very well with Khmer cuisine, which I really like. In fact, some time ago we met a young chef who showed us what great Khmer cuisine could be, with a touch of tradition but also a certain modernity. It really was worthy of a Michelin star. It is all the easier for me to say this because our family has two Michelin-starred restaurants, one in Saint-Émilion and one in Bordeaux. For us, the food is very important, it goes with the wines. It’s a vertical axis for our production”.  

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Author: Christophe Gargiulo 




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