Taking its name, appropriately enough, from Saint Martin, the Patron Saint of winegrowers, Clos Saint-Martin wines are renowned for their sensuous, opulent style - all lush, fruit-driven flavours and silken textures. This is embodied particularly beautifully in arguably the finest wine the estate has ever produced - the notoriously difficult to find 2005 Clos Saint-Martin.
The winery dates back to the early 1800s and most recently changed hands in 2013, coming under the ownership of the Cuvelier family, who also own Clos Fourtet. Managed under the partnership of Michel Rolland, the evolution of Clos Saint-Martin continues to unfold in the most interesting (and delectable!) of ways.
This is really excellent. Deep and rich with a beautiful depth of fruit and silky tannins. I am excited about this one. Big upgrade in quality.
A wine of total sensuality, the 2016 Clos Saint Martin offers notable depth and creaminess, with no hard edges and terrific overall balance. There is an almost Pinot-like purity to the fruit in 2016, but above all else, the wine stands out for its impeccable balance and overall harmony. This is a compelling Saint-Émilion from proprietor Sophie Fourcade.
Deep colour. Intense elderberry, ginger spice aromas. Richly concentrated and fleshy with elemental elderberry fruit, dear chocolaty tannins and underlying savoury oak. Very generous and pigmented with touch aldente finish. Hint of raisin. Tasted at JP Mouiex.
"The 2016 Clos Saint Martin has a surprisingly high-toned bouquet of black cherries laced with iodine and violet aromas, perhaps missing the level of complexity I would have expected from this vintage. The palate is rounded and velvety on the entry, offering lush red fruit and brown spices; touches of sage develop in the mouth. There is impressive volume here, but I need to see more grip and backbone on the finish. Hopefully this will gain more substance in bottle. 2022-2036"
91+ Points, Vinous
"Extremely perfumed and pretty with dark berries, such as blackberries and blackcurrants with fresh flowers. Full body, firm and silky tannins and a long, flavorful finish. Fantastic structure and composure to this young and vibrant 2016. Try from 2023."
96 Points, JamesSuckling.com
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.