Having just had the 2003 and 2005 from my cellar, I can attest to the magnificent turnaround in quality this famous estate on the eastern side of St.-Emilion has achieved. All of it is attributable to its dynamic proprietor, Philippe Cuvelier. The 2012 Clos Fourtet (usually 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc) has beautiful blackberry and blueberry fruit and an inky purple color. With flawless integration of acidity, tannin, wood and alcohol, a full-bodied mouthfeel and stunning richness, this is impressive and certainly one of the vintage's top wines. It should evolve beautifully for 15-20 years, and be drinkable in 3-4. Yields were a modest 32 hectoliters per hectare with the alcohol at 14%.
The 2012 Clos Fourtet was cropped at 32 hectoliters per hectare and achieved 14% natural alcohol. The final blend was 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc. It offers an opaque dense purple color along with attractive blackberry, licorice, truffle and cassis fruit notes. It is full-bodied and dense with an authoritative mid-palate, sweet tannin and a layered mouthfeel that builds incrementally into a stunningly long finish. Precocious and charming already, it will drink better at an earlier age than the massive, prodigious 2009. Drink this killer St.-Emilion over the next 15+ years.
One can't say enough about proprietor Cuvelier's 50-acre vineyard that has witnessed a profound transformation of quality over the last decade or more. Moreover, Cuvelier recently purchased three neighboring estates that are consistently reviewed positively in this publication, Les Grandes Murailles, Clos St.-Martin and Cote Baleau. These were previously owned by Sophie Fourcade. Interestingly, since these three properties are adjacent or close to Clos Fourtet, I would not be surprised if over the next decade they become incorporated into Clos Fourtet. Another great success for Cuvelier and his estate manager, Tony Ballu.
The Clos Fourtet has a far more restrained bouquet than exhibited in recent vintages, with well defined black cherries, fresh strawberry and a touch of cracked black pepper. The oak is very well integrated. The palate is medium-bodied with fresh blackberry and fresh raspberry fruit. It is missing a little depth on the mid-palate, but I appreciate the linearity and focus on the finish. Very fine. Tasted April 2013.
This is a wine with layers of fruit and firm yet polished tannins. Full body, juicy and rich. It shows outstanding depth for the vintage.
Inky with purple rim. Rich, ripe and spicy. More damson than cassis but fresh. Chewy, some oak char, fruit not as rich on the palate as on the nose so finishes a touch too dry/stringy. (JH)
Situated in the heart of Saint Emilion, close to Canon, this is one of the great vineyards of the appellation. The 19 hectares of vines are planted with 87% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc. 70% new oak. Stephane Derenoncourt consults here. This wine has a lovely texture, full of cream and sweet fruit. Finely polished with summer berries and good balance. A fine Saint Emilion that is neither too old-school nor overly new wave. Lovely.
Gorgeous, with a pure, unadorned violet aroma giving way to very
ripe and stylish plum, boysenberry and blackberry fruit. Offers a
suave mouthfeel. Best from 2017 through 2030.
The nose is firm with a mix of fresh red fruits and sweeter black. The palate has depth of flavour with a powerful mix of flavours all supported by firm but ripe tannins. Layers of flavour give complexity and the ripeness of the fruit gives a supple richness. There are red fruits at the back refreshing. 2017-26
This château's high (for St Emilion) percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon is usually a boon in
warmer years, but it doesn't seem to have done the wine any harm in cooler 2012 either.
Rich, sensuous and profound, this is very well balanced by acidity, minerality and freshness,
reflecting its clay and limestone terroir. One of the three best wines of the appellation in 2012.