About this WINE
Clos Manou is an 18-hectare estate in the northern reaches of the Médoc peninsula. Own and run by husband-and-wife Stéphane and Françoise Dief, the first vintage here was 1998. They follow organic and biodynamic principles, though have not sought certification.
In the northern reaches of the Médoc peninsula, husband-and-wife team Stéphane and Françoise Dief own and run Clos Manou. Their first vintage in 1998 was just 600 bottles; they have built the estate up over time to reach 18 hectares, broken into 55 distinct plots. In her book Inside Bordeaux, Jane Anson calls Clos Manou “very much an insider’s wine, not widely known outside of a few loyal followers.”
The Clos Manou vineyard is notable for its low-trained vines planted at high density, with grasses growing in between vines. This is a hands-on operation; harvest is entirely manual.
In the cellar, the Diefs make use of a vast range of fermentation and ageing vessels: there are concrete eggs, terracotta amphoras, concrete tanks of varying sizes and oak barrels from nine different coopers. Stéphane and Françoise do everything themselves; there is no external consultant here. There is minimal intervention in the cellar, and very little added sulphur.
The Diefs farm Clos Manou following organic and biodynamic practices, though they have not sought certification. They plan to have HVE-3 certification from the 2021 vintage.
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.