Chateau Clarisse Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion 2014 Front Label
Chateau Clarisse Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion 2014 Front Label

Chateau Clarisse Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion 2014

  • JS90
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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JS 90
James Suckling
Quite a dry, traditional-style, medium-bodied wine with intense redcurrant and red-cherry character. Surprising length and freshness on the finish. Needs some time to show its best. Better in 2018.
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Chateau Clarisse

Chateau Clarisse

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Chateau Clarisse, France
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Returning to the Saint-Émilion of her childhood, Olivia Le Calvez has found her new home on the plateau of Puisseguin. She co-founded Chateau Clarisse in 2009 with her husband, the world-renowned hotelier Didier Le Calvez, formerly of The Pierre and The Plaza in New York and currently of The Bristol in Paris. Named after their daughter, the property is planted with nearly 11 acres of Merlot and two acres of Cabernet Franc.

The name Puisseguin comes from the word Puy, meaning “mount” or “hill,” indicating its elevation as the highest point in the Gironde valley. This attribute, combined with its southern exposure, clay-limestone soils and mild microclimate, make it an exceptional environment for growing vines. The vines of Chateau Clarisse average 25 to 30 years in age, though Cuvée Vieilles Vignes comes from a parcel of 70-year-old Merlot vines.

In 2010, Olivia hired winemaker Stéphane Derenoncourt to be in charge of viticulture and winemaking. Stéphane believes in letting the soils and the vineyard make the wine, employing minimal intervention so the wines express the energy and the essence of their origins. For Chateau Clarisse, this means traditional wines with a soft, lush, mellow base and a modern expression of deep fruit.

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Marked by its historic fortified village—perhaps the prettiest in all of Bordeaux, the St-Émilion appellation, along with its neighboring village of Pomerol, are leaders in quality on the Right Bank of Bordeaux. These Merlot-dominant red wines (complemented by various amounts of Cabernet Franc and/or Cabernet Sauvignon) remain some of the most admired and collected wines of the world.

St-Émilion has the longest history in wine production in Bordeaux—longer than the Left Bank—dating back to an 8th century monk named Saint Émilion who became a hermit in one of the many limestone caves scattered throughout the area.

Today St-Émilion is made up of hundreds of independent farmers dedicated to the same thing: growing Merlot and Cabernet Franc (and tiny amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon). While always roughly the same blend, the wines of St-Émilion vary considerably depending on the soil upon which they are grown—and the soils do vary considerably throughout the region.

The chateaux with the highest classification (Premier Grand Cru Classés) are on gravel-rich soils or steep, clay-limestone hillsides. There are only four given the highest rank, called Premier Grand Cru Classés A (Chateau Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Angélus, Pavie) and 14 are Premier Grand Cru Classés B. Much of the rest of the vineyards in the appellation are on flatter land where the soils are a mix of gravel, sand and alluvial matter.

Great wines from St-Émilion will be deep in color, and might have characteristics of blackberry liqueur, black raspberry, licorice, chocolate, grilled meat, earth or truffles. They will be bold, layered and lush.

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends

Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines, modeled after the Right Bank, are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure.

Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secrets for Bordeaux Blends

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

MARMARCLAREMIL14_2014 Item# 392224

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