After tasting it three times from bottle, I am convinced this prodigious wine is one of the greatest young Bordeaux I have ever tasted. Inky blue/purple with notes of camphor, forest floor, blackberry, cassis, sweet cherries, licorice, the wine has stunning aromatics, unctuous texture and an almost inky concentration, but without any hard edges. With considerable tannin and just enough acidity to provide definition, this wine transcends even its premier grand cru classe terroir. It is certainly the finest Clos Fourtet ever produced. Give it 5-7 years of cellaring to allow some of its baby fat to fall away. There is certainly enough structure underneath to keep for 30-50 years. Bravo!
From my barrel score of 95-98, I suppose I should have seen this perfect score coming, particularly considering what proprietor Philippe Cuvelier and estate manager Tony Ballu have accomplished over the last decade. This is one of the great terroirs of St.-Emilion, nearly 50 acres high on the clay beds and deep limestone plateau of the region, just a stone's throw from the luxury hotel and restaurant Hostellerie de Plaisance. Yields were moderate at 34 hectoliters per hectare, and the final blend is 88% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon (somewhat unusual) and the rest Cabernet Franc, aged 18 months in 80% new oak.
This is a perennial superstar thanks to the efforts of proprietor Philippe Cuvelier and the estate's manager, Tony Ballu. This beautifully-situated, nearly 48-acre vineyard, high on the clay and deep limestone plateau just adjacent to the town walls of St.-Emilion, was harvested between September 28 and October 13, with yields of 34 hectoliters per hectare. The natural alcohol turned out to be 14%. A magical wine, it may have a hard time eclipsing the 2005, but it is another prodigious effort in its own right. The dense purple color offers up notes of white chocolate, blueberry, blackberry, crushed rock, and white flowers. Textured, full-bodied, enormously pure, and voluptuously textured, it is nearly too easy to drink because of the exquisite balance and seamless integration of all its component parts. This is a killer Clos Fourtet that should drink well young yet evolve for 20+ years. (Tasted five times.) Drink 2010-2030.
The 2009 Clos Fourtet has a generous and opulent bouquet with red cherries, kirsch, fig and light mocha aromas that gently unfold, retaining admirable definition and poise. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a fine bead of acidity, good structure. A more masculine, serious finish exerts impressive control. This is a classy Saint-Émilion with plenty of ageing potential. Tasted blind at Farr Vintners’ 2009 Bordeaux tasting. 2022 - 2042
A blend of 80% Merlot, 4% Cabernet France and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, the Clos Fourtet 2009 is typically rich and decadent on the nose with lush dark plum, mulberry and thickly layered blueberry jam on the nose. This is more hedonistic - especially when compared to the Cheval Blanc. The palate is sweet on the entry with saline tinged black fruit. It eases off in the middle as if to say: "That is quite enough for now". Good density, but it will need several years as this wine seems to be meliorating in bottle. Less than 4,000 cases produced. Tasted December 2012.
Tasted at the Saint Emilion UGC, this has a surprisingly light, airy but well defined nose that is pinched at the moment, opens nicely but slowly with aeration to reveal black cherries, blackcurrant, briary and minerals, a touch of dried orange peel developing in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with firm tannins, very pure and harmonious, slight chewy texture at first, then building to a spicy, tannic finish with very fine persistency. Though lacking a little cohesion on the finish, I think this will meld together to form a very fine Clos-Fourtet after bottling. Tasted March 2010.
The 2009 Clos Fourtet is medium to deep garnet colored and opens on a medicinal/Band-Aid note, giving way to appealing baked red and black fruit notes with touches of dried herbs, tree bark, chargrill and a ferrous waft. The palate is full-bodied with firm, chewy tannins and plenty of muscular fruit, finishing earthy and just a little hard. 2019 - 2035.
From Robert Parker's Hong Kong Tasting, 8th Nov 2011:
Lots of wet earth and minerals on the nose with hints of sliced meat. Dark fruits galore. Full bodied, with a beautiful velvety texture and a juicy and delicious finish. Try after 2017.
Offers blueberry, currant, mineral and violet. Full-bodied, with big, juicy tannins and loads of fruit. Very concentrated and velvety, with a lovely texture.
88% Merlot. Hit by hail.
Tasted blind. Dark, youthful crimson. Sweet, gentle, well-balanced nose. Fairly lightweight but with great charm and balance. For classicists. This still has something to give. Impressive persistence. All in its place. Aromatic and dense.
Very dark purple. Meaty, interesting nose with hints of treacle and liquorice. Thick and sweet at the start and then some real texture kicks in but it doesn't seem overdone - just ambitious. The alcohol is, just, kept in check. If purple had a taste, this would be it. Quite racy and sinewy. Though you need to wait quite a while for this one... Sweet and juicy and round. Lots of body and fat here. Long. Pretty impressive. Very suave. Lots of glamour. Date tasted 30th March 2010. Drink 2015-2030.
Situated in the heart of Saint Emilion, close to Canon, this is one of the great vineyards of the appellation. Recent vintages have been extremely good. Ripe cherries on the nose with tar and woodsmoke. Fat and fleshy on the palate. Lots of sexy new oak, lovely ripeness without being jammy. Very polished and quite modern in style but not over-done.
Rather ripe, but nicely framed by singed apple wood, which keeps the core of damson plum, black currant and black cherry flavors at bay for now. Licorice root and black tea notes undercut the finish, which is on the grippy side. This opens steadily in the glass, too. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2014 through 2027.-J.M.
There is a lot of sweet fruit fleshing out the nose, first red fruits and then richer black. The roundness of the tannins ensures that the palate is fleshy and supple yet there are fresher layers of flavour giving complexity. Drink 2020-2040.
The proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon is lower than usual at this much improved property, but its inclusion in the blend still adds freshness to a wine that carries its high alcohol lightly. This is aromatic and balanced, with sweet blackcurrant and plum fruit, smooth tannins and good concentration. Surprisingly fresh on the palate. 15+ years
Round, caressing. Lovely volume of succulent fruit. Shows the ripeness of the year. Polished and refined. Drink 2016-2035.
Tons of black fruit, plenty of smoke and some balsamic character make a dramatic statement on the nose. On the palate there's rather sweet fruit at the front, then major tannins come through at the finish that still need time to fully resolve. Better after 2022. (Horizontal Tasting, London, 2019)