Clos Fourtet 2019
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.
"Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2019 Clos Fourtet has a knock-out nose of baked blueberries, boysenberries and stewed plums with hints of chocolate-covered cherries, spice cake, candied violets and woodsmoke plus a touch of cast-iron pan. The medium to full-bodied palate is packed with layer upon layer of blue and black fruit preserves with loads of floral and mineral sparks and firm, rounded tannins, finishing long with fantastic energy and depth. If you're looking for that "iron fist in a velvet glove" experience in 2019, look no further." - Lisa Perotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate (07/09/2020) Rating: (95-97) Drink: 2024-2055
"The 2019 Clos Fourtet continues its strong run of form under the direction of Mathieu Cuvelier and his team. It sprints out of the blocks with intense blackberries, raspberry coulis, blood orange and crushed violet aromas, touches of iodine developing as it musters ever increasing delineation. The palate is medium-bodied but (as expected) contains more weight and girth compared to its peers. Firm grip, solid and yet graceful, there is a crescendo of flavours towards its heady, focused and very persistent finish. Wonderful salinity in the mouth, the aftertaste is one of the longest you will find on the Right Bank. Fabulous." - Neal Martin, vinous (06/2020) Rating: (95-97) Drink: 2025-2055