Originally a fort built in the Middle Ages, Saint-Émilion’s Clos Fourtet was transformed into a winery in the mid-18th century, taking advantage of its nearly perfect limestone soil. The almost 50-acre Right Bank estate is dominated by 85% Merlot, with Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon making up the 15% difference. While nearly 5,000 cases of the Grand Vin Clos Fourtet are produced annually, the estate’s second wine, Closerie de Fourtet, is produced at half that amount.
Clos Fourtet changed hands repeatedly over the years. Its current owner, Philippe Cuvelier, introduced biodynamic farming to the property, which has greatly increased the density of the relatively young, 30-year old vines. Taking its cue from Pontet-Canet’s Guy Tesseron, the château hopes to apply similar, leading-edge farming techniques at Clos Fourtet.
The eponymous Grand Vin Clos Fourtet is an opulent wine that offers fresh, ripe, dark berried flavors combined with rich textures and spicy, licorice-infused aromatics. The grapes are “whole-berry” fermented, and vinification occurs in stainless steel vats with meticulously controlled temperatures. The wine is then aged for approximately eighteen months in French oak barrels.
Clos Fourtet is assertive. Not for the shy or unadventurous, it develops even more richness as it matures, clearly living up to the adage of wine “getting better with age.”