Clos Fourtet 2018
Château Clos Fourtet is a Saint-Émilion Grand Crus Classé estate that bases its entire philosophy on using the least intervention possible to express the fullest intricacies of its terroir. Limestone is what dominates the rich soils of the sprawling grounds here, and it is an integral facet of the winemaking process. If one is fortunate enough to visit the estate, they will notice a vast sprawling network of underground caves made of the very limestone that provides nutrients to the vines. These caves are the perfect natural cellar, ageing the grand vin to perfection. There is a distinctive mineral quality and subtle finesse that is a signature characteristic of this Right Bank region. Without a doubt, Château Clos Fourtet produces classic and fresh expressions of Saint-Émilion, perfect for any oenophile looking for a true treasure of the region.
Though this peaceful estate is a thriving winery now, that wasn’t always the case. Château Clos Fourtet was initially a defensive fort named Camfourtet. Vines only appeared at the estate in the mid to late 1600s. The property passed through the hands of some of the most influential families in the winemaking industry throughout the ages. The Ginstets who owned Château Margaux, and even the Lurton family who ran Château Cheval Blanc owned the estate. Eventually the estate passed down to the Cuvellier family. The Cuvellier family hired Stephan Derenoncourt and Jean Claude Berrouet to consult at the property. Stephan Derenoncourt and Jean Claude Berrouet could not be more different. Derenoncourt is self-taught and associated with Domaine de l’A. Jean Claude Berrouet studied at the University of Bordeaux and was the winemaker at Château Pétrus. One man operates based off instinct, and the other based off his extensive technical prowess. What both share is a profound respect for the terroir here, which drives them to create beautiful wine.
Merlot is the star of the show at Château Clos Fourtet. It thrives in the mixture of limestone and clay soils. The vines are on the younger side here – around 30 years old. In addition to Merlot, there are smaller percentages of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon planted at the property. The winemaking team is willing to spare no expense to ensure they create the best wine possible. At Château Clos Fourtet, they implement a mixture of biodynamic and organic viticultural techniques, allowing the vineyards to do the majority of the work. The vines are harvested and then vinified in very special stainless steel tanks that are perfectly sized to match the plots from which they came from. They are aged with just a kiss of new French oak to help the wine have a bit more structure and body. The resulting wine is flawlessly integrated, mineral-laced and fresh. Château Clos Fourtet is a rich and flamboyant wine, that does require a bit of time prior to being enjoyed. One can expect the wine to unfold beautifully after 10-15 years of bottle ageing in good vintages and should decant younger vintages for 2-3 hours.
"One of the wines of the vintage, the 2018 Clos Fourtet is positively stunning. In the glass, the 2018 sizzles with tension and energy. A whole range of floral, mineral and red berry notes develop, but it is the wine's exceptional sense of harmony that leaves the deepest impression. Consulting winemakers Stéphane Derenoncourt and Jean-Claude Berrouet turned out a glorious Clos Fourtet in 2018. Don't miss it. The blend is 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc. Tasted three times." - Antonio Galloni, vinous.com, (April, 2019), Ratings: 94-97
"Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2018 Clos Fourtet is a little youthfully mute to begin. With coaxing, it opens out to notes of crushed blackberries, warm black plums and wild blueberries plus suggestions of forest floor, lavender, baking spices and potpourri. Full-bodied, the palate has an amazing texture of soft, plush tannins and oodles of freshness supporting the layer upon layer of berries and spices, finishing long and fragrant. Total time in barrel should run 16 months in 60% new and 40% one-year old barriques. The blend is 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Sauvignon" - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (4/23/2019, Bordeaux 2018 Issue), Ratings: (95-97)