About this WINE
Château Clos Fourtet is a St. Emilion 1er Grand Cru Classé property located just outside the entrance to the town. It is distinguished by its beautiful ivy-covered manor house and some of the most extensive underground cellars in the region.
Clos Fourtet has had several owners over the years and underwent a mini-renaissance under the stewardship of the Lurtons in the latter half of the last century. Pierre Lurton was the winemaker who really established the property`s reputation as one of the finest on the St. Martin plateau. He left to become winemaker at Cheval Blanc and was replaced by Daniel Alard. In January 2001, Clos Fourtet was bought by Paris businessman Phillipe Cuvelier.
Clos Fourtet has 19 hectares of vineyards planted with Merlot (72%), Cabernet Franc (22%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (6%). The wine is vinified traditionally and is aged in oak barriques (60-70% new) for 18 months. It is bottled unfiltered.
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
The most widely planted grape in Bordeaux and a grape that has been on a relentless expansion drive throughout the world in the last decade. Merlot is adaptable to most soils and is relatively simple to cultivate. It is a vigorous naturally high yielding grape that requires savage pruning - over-cropped Merlot-based wines are dilute and bland. It is also vital to pick at optimum ripeness as Merlot can quickly lose its varietal characteristics if harvested overripe.
In St.Emilion and Pomerol it withstands the moist clay rich soils far better than Cabernet grapes, and at it best produces opulently rich, plummy clarets with succulent fruitcake-like nuances. Le Pin, Pétrus and Clinet are examples of hedonistically rich Merlot wines at their very best. It also plays a key supporting role in filling out the middle palate of the Cabernet-dominated wines of the Médoc and Graves.
Lisa Perrotti-Brown - 14/03/2019
Jancis Robinson MW - jancisrobinson.com - January 2013
Very dark purple. Meaty, interesting nose with hints of treacle and liquorice. Thick and sweet at the start and then some real texture kicks in but it doesn’t seem overdone – just ambitious. The alcohol is, just, kept in check. If purple had a taste, this would be it. Quite racy and sinewy. Though you need to wait quite a while for this one...Sweet and juicy and round. Lots of body and fat here. Long. Pretty impressive. Very suave. Lots of glamour.
Jancis Robinson MW - jancisrobinson.com - April 2010
James Suckling - Wine Spectator - Apr 2010
It is certainly the finest Clos Fourtet ever produced. Give it 5-7 years of cellaring to allow some of its baby fat to fall away. There is certainly enough structure underneath to keep for 30-50 years. Bravo!
From my barrel score of 95-98, I suppose I should have seen this perfect score coming, particularly considering what proprietor Philippe Cuvelier and estate manager Tony Ballu have accomplished over the last decade.
This is one of the great terroirs of St.-Emilion, nearly 50 acres high on the clay beds and deep limestone plateau of the region, just a stone’s throw from the luxury hotel and restaurant Hostellerie de Plaisance. Yields were moderate at 34 hectoliters per hectare, and the final blend is 88% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon (somewhat unusual) and the rest Cabernet Franc, aged 18 months in 80% new oak.
Robert Parker - Wine Advocate - Feb 2012