Château Quinault L'Enclos 2020
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• Domaine: Château Quinault L'Enclos
• Appellation: Saint-Émilion
• Classification: Grand Cru Classé
• Origin: Right Bank, Bordeaux, France
Château Quinault l’Enclos is a property that has undergone a bit of a transformation since 2008. Though the wines were perfectly respectable in the late ‘90s and highly ranked by critics, much of the changes stem from the transition of leadership at the property. Earlier wines were crafted by the well-respected Alain Reynaud, who worked at legendary Left Bank properties such as Château Lascombes. Once Alain Reynaud sold Château Quinault l’Enclos to the owners of Château Cheval Blanc, Bernard Arnault and Albert Frere, the style shifted. The modern wines of Château Quinault l’Enclos are not the fruit-forward wines of the past. Instead, they are distinctively fresh with a pulsing minerality and loads of complexity. With pricing in the $30.00 range, these wines are a tremendous value for those who want an updated, lively wine that expresses what Saint-Émilion terroir has to offer.
Château Quinault l’Enclos is located in Saint-Émilion, near the city of Libourne. Interestingly enough, the property was not considered to be within the Saint-Émilion appellation, rather within the satellite appellation of Sables Saint-Émilion. In 1973 it was considered to be part of the Right Bank appellation, just a couple decades prior to it being purchased by Alain Reynaud. Alain Reynaud made some sweeping changes to the vineyard, such changing mechanical harvesting to harvesting the property by hand. The vintages of Château Quinault l’Enclos began to climb slowly up the ranks in terms of critical acclaim and scores. Eventually, it attracted the attention of the second-to-none Right Bank producer Château Cheval Blanc. Once the team of Château Cheval Blanc took over managing the estate in 2008, other changes were made such as removing the Malbec growing there. The focus of the viticultural team at Château Cheval Blanc is to ensure the wine has a level of unparalleled purity and freshness. Pierre Lurton, famous for running esteemed properties like Château d’Yquem in addition to Château Cheval Blanc, oversees much of the operations on the vineyard.
Under Lurton’s leadership, the property switched over to Organic farming. In 2012, they earned their certification for being completely 100% Organic in terms of their farming practices. In 2014, Château Quinault l’Enclos also began to include Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend for the first time. The property is planted in one single parcel, which is unusual considering the vineyard is approximately 20-hectares. Château Quinault l’Enclos has a warmer microclimate than a lot of the Right Bank region, and in accordance with that they often harvest a bit earlier than other properties. The reason they do this is to avoid producing a jammy, overripe sort of wine. The grapes are vinified in wood vats, and the wine is aged in 50% new French oak barrels for up to 18 months.
Château Quinault l’Enclos is best enjoyed within the first 10 to 12 years after it is bottled. In its earlier years, the wine is pure, fresh, and light on oak. Younger vintages should be decanted for an hour - give or take - in order for the wine to express its subtle aromatic qualities.
"Managing tannins is one of the lines that needed walking in 2020, and the warmer soils of Quinault compared to Cheval needed particular care. You find some traces of the solar nature of the summer on the nose, with eucalyptus, black pepper and rosemary spice, but there is freshness on the palate, well balanced and with density to the blackberry and black cherry fruits, finishing up with again the eucalyptus that is found in the aromatics, and a generous kick of spice. This is tightly structured, it is expertly handled but I would suggest looking to the 2019. Harvest September 3 to 23. 10 days over 30°C during that time." Jane Anson, Decanter, Bordeaux Primeurs Week (04/30/2021) Rating: 92
"The 2020 Quinault L’Enclos contains no Cabernet Sauvignon this year due to mildew. It has an intense bouquet of black cherries, blueberry and crushed iris flower. The oak is neatly enmeshed and feels delineated and tensile. The palate is medium-bodied with fine but firm tannins, and lightly spiced, with white pepper and sage seasoning the black fruit. Quite structured and powerful on the finish, this is a long-term Saint-Émilion that will benefit from several years in the cellar." Neal Martin, Vinous (June 2021) Rating: 92-94
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