Clos Fourtet (1.5 Liter Futures Pre-Sale) 2017
The wines of Clos Fourtet, Premier Grand Cru Classé, embody the finest of Saint-Émilion. Smooth, intriguing and seductive, their pure natural aromas are delicately woven together in a charming display of the unparalleled potential of our terroir. Our wines mark the culmination of all of our efforts, unveiling themselves as time passes - alive, developing and maturing.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Checking in as a blend of 86% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the rest Cabernet Franc, the 2017 Chateau Clos Fourtet comes all from the upper limestone plateau and spent 18 months in 60% new French oak. This deep ruby/purple-hued effort offers a rocking perfume of ripe black raspberries, cassis, crushed stone, chocolate, and flowery incense. Powerful, full-bodied, and concentrated on the palate, it's beautifully done, has ripe, present tannins, and a great finish. It ranks with the gems in this solid vintage and will benefit from just short-term cellaring and cruise for 20-25 years or more in cold cellars.
This dark, smoky wine comes from a vineyard close to the walls of Saint-Emilion. The smokiness goes with the impressive core of dry tannins and concentrated structure that supports the rich blackberry flavors. The wine is going to age well; drink from 2024.
Very pure, with clearly defined plum, blackberry and black cherry preserve flavors gliding through, gently infused with anise and black tea details along the way. The fruit is so seductive you might miss the sneaky, graphite-edged grip that builds through the finish, promising solid cellaring potential. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2022 through 2038. 3,333 cases made.
This has a level of composure and energetic fruit on the palate that sets it above the rest in 2017. The nose has fresh blue fruit and hints of graphite and slate. The palate is succulent and juicy, right through to the very long finish. Drink or hold.
An impressive Clos Fourtet, delivering in bottle as it did during En Primeur. Plenty of saffron-edged plum and firm tannins, you get the limestone tightness to the texture but it is spliced against fleshy black fruits. I feel pretty sure this will close up tightly over the next few years, and will go the distance in terms of ageing. Extremely precise, clear complexity - another example of how well this estate is performing right now. Drinking Window 2024 - 2040
Barrel Sample: 92-94
Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Clos Fourtet is profoundly scented of baked blackberries, plum preserves, mulberries and kirsch with hints of cedar chest, iron ore and tapenade plus a waft of smoked meats. Medium-bodied, the palate is laden with earthy/savory nuances, supported by finely grained tannins and loads of freshness, finishing long and earthy. The blend is 90% Merlot,7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Cabernet Franc. It was aged for 16 months in french oak barrels, 60% new. Rating: 93+
Clos Fourtet owes its fame to the Rulleau and Carles families. The latter were lords of Figeac. They were the first to grow vines on this barely arable land, which nevertheless has outstanding natural drainage. Clos Fourtet's old vines, perfectly balanced grape varieties, traditional winemaking methods backed up by the most modern techniques, and aging in new oak barrels in underground cellars complement all the gifts that nature has bestowed on this chateau.
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.
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.