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Clos de l'Oratoire 2014

Bordeaux Red Blends from St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
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14% ABV
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14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Clos de l’Oratoire is round, smooth, and very seductive. It has a beautiful deep crimson colour and powerful fruity aromas. Merlot provides roundness and opulence, whereas Cabernet Franc contributes power, aromatic complexity, and a long aftertaste. Although Clos de l’Oratoire can be enjoyed seven years after the vintage, it is, above all, a wine with fine ageing potential.
Blend: 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

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JS 93
James Suckling
This is already really delicious. The black-fruit aromas are really ripe, but there’s no hint of jammy stuff. Tastes simultaneously juicy and creamy, and the tannins are so graceful: The wine glides across the palate. If it were more subtle, the score would go even higher.
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Shows lovely fruit, with waves of blueberry, plum and boysenberry compote rolling over each other. The polished structure is well-embedded, while the finish lets a graphite note peek out. Emphasizes purity rather than extraction. Best from 2018 through 2028.
RP 91
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2014 Clos l'Oratoire has certainly lost its bashful personality since en primeur, now in bottle, much more exuberant with pure cranberry, boysenberry and orange rind aromas, nicely delineated with impressive intensity. The palate is smooth, almost velvety on the entry, a plush and quite luscious Saint Emilion with impressive volume and presence. It might lack a little delineation, but there is satisfying length as those mulberry and raspberry notes persist and linger long after the wine has departed. This surpasses my expectations.
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Clos de l'Oratoire

Clos de l'Oratoire

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Clos de l'Oratoire, St. Emilion, Bordeaux, France
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Clos de l'Oratoire is located on Saint-Emilion's north-east slope. The 10.32 hectares of vines grow on Fronsac molasse covering a layer of sand with a clay subsoil. This terroir is ideally suited to the blend of Merlot (90%), Cabernet Franc (5%), and Cabernet Sauvignon (5%) grapes. Merlot contributes roundness and opulence to the wine, whereas Cabernet Franc is responsible for power, aromatic complexity, and length.

St. Emilion

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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, Figeac, 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.

Bordeaux Blends

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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.

In the Glass

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. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

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 Secret

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.

WBX6386246_2014 Item# 277617