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Clos de l'Oratoire (Futures Pre-Sale) 2017

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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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JS 94
James Suckling
A juicy and minerally red with a medium to full body, firm tannins and a savory finish. Nicely crafted and integrated. Soft hand in winemaking.
Barrel Sample: 93-94
V 93
Vinous
The 2017 Clos de l'Oratoire is pliant and supple, with striking balance of fruit and tannin. In some recent vintages, Clos de l'Oratoire has been more massive, but I have to say, the balance of the 2017 is really quite compelling. A rush of red cherry, plum, blood orange, pomegranate and mint builds into the racy, pliant finish. This is a gorgeous vintage for Clos de l'Oratoire. Sadly, yields are down by 60% because of frost on the lower parts of the vineyard. As a result, only hillside parcels were used. Tasted two times. – Antonio Galloni
Barrel Sample: 90-93
WS 92
Wine Spectator
Juicy, with good energy to the mix of damson plum, cherry and raspberry fruit, flecked with mineral and savory notes. Shows crunchy acidity on the finish.
Barrel Sample: 89-92
JD 92
Jeb Dunnuck
The 2017 Clos de l'Oratoire is an incredibly elegant, medium-bodied, lively effort that has a sappy, tight, energetic profile. Strawberries, blueberries, flowers, and spicy notes as well as a distinct limestone-like minerality all emerge from the glass, and while it’s not a heavyweight, it’s pure, long, and balanced.
Barrel Sample: 90-92
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2017 Clos de l'Oratoire is composed of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. Note there is no Cabernet Sauvignon this year, as the low part of this vineyard was damaged by the spring frosts, affecting in total about 70% of the production this year. Therefore, this vintage contains a large proportion of second-generation crop. It has a nose of baked cherries, plum preserves and spice cake with wafts of black pepper and tapenade. The palate is medium-bodied and elegantly fruited with great freshness and well-played chewy tannins, finishing long and earthy.
Barrel Sample: 90-92
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Clos de l'Oratoire

Clos de l'Oratoire

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Clos de l'Oratoire, 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.
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St-Émilion

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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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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.

BANF422895_2017 Item# 422895

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