From the legendary Clos Fourtet winery, this Saint-Émilion rouge has all the depth and concentration you would expect from such an esteemed Bordeaux name. The Premier Grand Cru Classé Clos Fourtet holdings have been the site of wine production since the middle-ages, Now under the guardianship of Philippe Cuvelier, the wine continues to delight.
Traditional winemaking techniques make for an elegant style that sings with minerality and its impressive terroir. The vines are located in a single block, close to the medieval village, and grow atop a limestone plateau. Fresh, yet simultaneously deep and seductive, this will please for many decades.
One of the biggest successes on the upper plateau is the 2020 Château Clos Fourtet, and it does everything right in the vintage. A magical, perfumed bouquet of red plums, black cherries, white truffle, and white flowers just screams Saint-Emilion, and it hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, flawless overall balance, a dense mid-palate, and a liqueur of rocks-like minerality on the palate. Building incrementally with time in the glass, this is thrilling stuff that should offer some up-front appeal in its youth yet benefit from 7-8 years in the cellar and keep for 30 years or more. Bravo! The blend is 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3% Cabernet Franc that’s still resting in 50% new French oak.
(97-99) points, JebDunnuck.com (May 2021)
The 2020 Clos Fourtet is a blend of 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc, harvested from 15th to 30th September and weighing in with an alcohol of 14.5% and a pH of 3.6. It is being aged for 14-18 months in 50% new oak barrels, 48% second-fill barrels and 2% amphora. Deep garnet-purple in color, it comes bounding out of the glass with ripe, expressive notes of crushed black plums, juicy black berries and black cherry preserves, followed by hints of ground cloves, cinnamon stick, camphor and cedar chest. The medium to full-bodied palate is jam-packed with bright, vivacious black fruits, framed by velvety tannins and bags of freshness, finishing with great length.
(96-98) points, Wine Advocate (May 2021)
Full bottle 1,355 g. Cask sample taken 6 April. 90% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc. Fermentation of whole uncrushed berries in 25 small temperature-controlled tanks; extraction via manual pigeage; vatting period lasting 22 to 30 days; malolactic conversion in vats, jars and barrels.
Deep purple. Pretty heady, complex nose. Appetising palate. Round, ripe tannins lurking beneath some pretty sophisticated fruit. Finishes dry and spreads out on the very end like a peacock's tail. Much drier than most St-Émilions, with seriously interesting freshness. 14.5%
17 points, JancisRobinson.com (April 2021)
A wine of stature and breeding, the 2020 Clos Fourtet is absolutely breathtaking from barrel. A rush of lavender, graphite, spice, licorice and espresso hits the senses. Vibrant and powerful, yet also remarkably light on its feet, the 2020 has so much of offer. All the elements are so crisp, so beautifully defined. The 2020 is all class. It is one of the most promising wines of this young vintage and a fabulous effort from the Cuvelier family. Don't miss it.
(96-98) points, Vinous (June 2021)
The 2020 Clos Fourtet was picked September 15–30 at 40hl/ha and matured in 50% new oak. It has an expressive, winsome bouquet of red and blue fruit, crushed rose and iris, touches of blood orange coming through with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with svelte tannins and wonderful acidity. Harmonious and almost crystalline toward the finish. This is a very impressive Clos Fourtet that brims with freshness and persistence, gaining weight and depth over the course of an hour. It will battle the 2019 for supremacy.
(95-97) points, Vinous (May 2021)
Plush damson and blueberry on the nose, there is juice and a tightrope walking concentration of fruits. An excellent Clos Fourtet, with a juicy edge where the magic of limestone in dry summers is very much showing through. A yield of 40 hl/ha. 14 to 18 months ageing in underground limestone cellars. 2021 sees 20 years of the Cuvelier family at Clos Fourtet and this is an excellent wine to showcase what a brilliant job they have done here. Score could go higher after barrel ageing. Drinking Window 2028 - 2044
96 points, Decanter (May 2021)
This is really something with so much tension and focus and a persistent, long finish that lasts for minutes. It’s full-bodied, yet tight and so long. Such polish and finesse. Elegance with power.
(95-96) points, JamesSuckling.com (April 2021)
St.-Émilion is the star of Bordeaux’s Right Bank, north of the Dordogne River. The rich red wines produced in St.-Émilion, based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc, are less tannic and generally more fruit-driven in flavour than the Cabernet-based wines of Left Bank. Merlot thrives on the plateaus high above the Dordogne, where the soil is filled with sand and clay, a perfect medium for creating opulent, fruit-forward wines. With a typically savoury character, St.-Émilion wines are sometimes called the “Burgundies of Bordeaux.” These refined reds, with loads of finesse, are elegant companions to beef, chicken, pork and duck.
The wines of St.-Émilion were not included in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux, which ranked wines of the Left Bank. In 1955, St.-Émilion published its own classification, based on soil analysis, wine quality and reputation of the properties. Unlike the 1855 classification, St.-Emilion’s system requires properties to continuously prove themselves. The list is revised regularly, most recently in 2012. There are two tiers within the classification, Premier Grand Cru Classé and Grand Cru Classé. There are currently just 18 Premier Grand Cru properties and 64 Grand Cru Classé properties.
The St.-Émilion appellation is home to hundreds of individual producers, enhancing the variety of wines made there. Many of the properties remain small, family-run enterprises, unlike the large châteaux of the Left Bank. The area is also the base of France’s controversial micro-châteaux or garagiste wine movement; these innovative winemakers operate outside the traditional classification system, making very high quality (and very expensive) highly extracted wines.