Clos de l'Oratoire  2016 Front Label
Clos de l'Oratoire  2016 Front LabelClos de l'Oratoire  2016 Front Bottle Shot

Clos de l'Oratoire 2016

  • JS96
  • V94
  • WS93
  • RP93
  • JD93
750ML / 0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Blend: 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc

Critical Acclaim

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JS 96
James Suckling
The aromas are very decadent with white truffle, dark berries and wet earth. Dense raspberries. Full-bodied, it grows on the palate with fantastic chewy tannins that are polished and intense. Like a beautifully formed wave in texture. Try in 2022.
V 94
Vinous
The 2016 Clos de l'Oratoire is dense, resonant, but also quite closed in on itself. Black cherry, plum, chocolate, licorice and smoke all meld together in this super-expressive, layered Saint-Émilion. In 2016, Clos de l'Oratoire is quite understated and shows more of an emphasis on freshness than in the past, typical of all the Stephan von Neipperg's wines today. Tasted two times.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Fresh, bright and engaging, with damson plum, raspberry and cherry pâte de fruit notes bouncing along, laced with red licorice details and backed by a light Black Forest cake accent on the juicy finish. This seems like it’s all fruit but the lovely cut and floral persistence through the finish imparts an elegant hint. Drink now through 2033.
RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

The 2016 Clos de l'Oratoire is a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc that was picked between 10-17 October and matured in 45% new oak. It has a fresh, perfumed and floral bouquet, with pressed rose petals infusing the red cherry and crushed strawberry fruit. There is a sense of airiness here that I like. The palate is medium-bodied with firm, slightly grainy tannin, hints of tobacco and leather complementing the black fruit with a welcome soupçon of austerity towards the masculine finish. Excellent. Rating: 91-93

JD 93
Jeb Dunnuck
From the team at Canon-la-Gaffelière, the 2016 Clos de L'Oratoire is a winner based on 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc raised in 45% new French oak. It’s a ripe yet structured Saint-Emilion that has terrific minerality in its black raspberry and cassis fruits as well as notes of chocolate, tobacco, and subtle oak. A terrific wine, it needs 4-5 years of bottle age to shine, but is capable of keeping for 15-20 years.
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Clos de l'Oratoire

Clos de l'Oratoire

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Clos de l'Oratoire, France
Clos de l'Oratoire Winery Image
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.
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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.

BTF200193_2016 Item# 200193

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