2004 Clos de l'Oratoire, St Emilion

2004 Clos de l'Oratoire, St Emilion

Red, Ready, but will keep   Red | Ready, but will keep | Clos de l'Oratoire | Code: 933551 | 2004 | France > Bordeaux > St-Emilion | Cab.Sauvignon Blend | Medium-Full Bodied, Dry | 13.5 % alcohol

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Scores and Reviews

PARKER

90/100

PARKER - I tasted this wine on multiple occasions and some of the samples were more impressive than even this note suggests! Two others were somewhat monolithic, but my instincts suggest the 2004 Clos de l'Oratoire is an outstanding wine. A blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc, it is extremely well-endowed for the vintage. A deep ruby/purple color is followed by aromas of espresso roast, chocolate, dried herbs, and plenty of sexy black currant and cherry fruit. Medium to full-bodied with silky tannin as well as an expressive, sensual style, it should drink beautifully for 10-12 years.
(Robert Parker - Wine Advocate - Jun-2007)

The Story

Clos de l'Oratoire

Producer

Clos de l'Oratoire

Clos de l'Oratoire was acquired by Comte de Neipperg in 1991 and he has resurrected this property, turning it into one of the finest in St-Emilion.

At Clos de l'Oratoire many traditional vineyard practices are used to keep production down, thus concentrating flavour in the wine. Grass is left to grow between the vine rows and pruning is quite severe. The vines are thinned out to keep yields down and to create the ideal natural equilibrium. Fertilizer is mostly organic, and used sparingly. The grapes are hand picked and any poor-quality ones are immediately sorted out and eliminated in the vineyard. The vintage takes place as late as possible to obtain maximum ripeness.

Clos de l'Oratoire is barrel-aged for an average of 13 to 22 months (between 50 and 70% new barrels). The Merlot-dominated wines have deep colour and are redolent of dark, ripe berry fruits, with fine texture and structure. Best with at least five to six years' age.

Grape

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cab.Sauvignon Blend

Cabernet Sauvignon lends itself particularly well in blends with Merlot. This is actually the archetypal Bordeaux blend, though in different proportions in the sub-regions and sometimes topped up with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

In the Médoc and Graves the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend can range from 95% (Mouton-Rothschild) to as low as 40%. It is particularly suited to the dry, warm, free- draining, gravel-rich soils and is responsible for the redolent cassis characteristics as well as the depth of colour, tannic structure and pronounced acidity of Médoc wines. However 100% Cabernet Sauvignon wines can be slightly hollow-tasting in the middle palate and Merlot with its generous, fleshy fruit flavours acts as a perfect foil by filling in this cavity.

In St-Emilion and Pomerol, the blends are Merlot dominated as Cabernet Sauvignon can struggle to ripen there - when it is included, it adds structure and body to the wine. Sassicaia is the most famous Bordeaux blend in Italy and has spawned many imitations, whereby the blend is now firmly established in the New World and particularly in California and  Australia.

Region

St-Emilion

St Emilion is one of Bordeaux's largest producing appellations, producing more wine than Listrac, Moulis, St Estèphe, Pauillac, St Julien and Margaux put together. St Emilion has been producing wine for longer than the Médoc but its lack of accessibility to Bordeaux's port and market-restricted exports to mainland Europe meant the region initially did not enjoy the commercial success that funded the great châteaux of the Left Bank. 

St Emilion itself is the prettiest of Bordeaux's wine towns, perched on top of the steep limestone slopes upon which many of the region's finest vineyards are situated. However, more than half of the appellation's vineyards lie on the plain between the town and the Dordogne River on sandy, alluvial soils with a sprinkling of gravel. 

Further diversity is added by a small, complex gravel bed to the north-east of the region on the border with Pomerol.  Atypically for St Emilion, this allows Cabernet Franc and, to a lesser extent, Cabernet Sauvignon to prosper and defines the personality of the great wines such as Ch. Cheval Blanc.  

In the early 1990s there was an explosion of experimentation and evolution, leading to the rise of the garagistes, producers of deeply-concentrated wines made in very small quantities and offered at high prices.  The appellation is also surrounded by four satellite appellations, Montagne, Lussac, Puisseguin and St. Georges, which enjoy a family similarity but not the complexity of the best wines.

St Emilion was first officially classified in 1954, and is the most meritocratic classification system in Bordeaux, as it is regularly amended. The most recent revision of the classification was in 2012

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