Bordeaux’s Clos Fourtet is a maison with an impressive history, and now thanks to a pair of acclaimed local legends being on board, the marque is becoming increasingly sought after at auction.
While Clos Fourtet was only recently added to iDealwine’s impressive list of partner producers, the property has been a fixture of Saint-Émilion history for centuries. Its prestige and historical significance to the region make it a natural addition to iDealwine’s already robust portfolio of Right-Bank Bordeaux. In 2022, the year before Clos Fourtet began its partnership with iDealwine, Bordeaux wines represented about 37% of volume and 27% of value at our auctions, highlighting the strategic importance of the region and its continued appreciation on the part of our customers.
Situated at the highest elevation in Saint-Émilion, the northern edge of the property still boasts imposing medieval structures from its early days as a military fort, protecting the appellation’s namesake, Saint-Émilion. Though much of the medieval ramparts have been razed over time, visitors will surely appreciate the beautiful Grandes Murailles, which serve as a reminder of the property’s intriguing past. Another interesting relic are the limestone quarries that lie just underneath the property, and stretch for kilometres, housing 100,000 bottles of wine, and connecting the vineyard to Saint-Émilion itself.
In the 18th century, under the direction of the Rulleau family, the property officially changed its name from Camfourtet to Clos Fourtet, and begin placing all of its focus on winemaking. Around 100 years after the Rulleau family took over the property, Clos Fourtet earned critical acclaim in the form of a gold medal at the 1867 Exposition Universelle in Paris. Symbolic of the property’s successful history, a picture of this medal still appears on Clos Fourtet labels to this day, alongside two others, which were earned in 1895 and 1900.
The property’s modern era began in 2001 when it was acquired by Philippe Cuvelier. Under his leadership there have been large investments in wine-making equipment, a shift towards sustainable agriculture, and the recruitment of local legends Jean-Claude Berrouet and Stéphane Derenoncourt as consulting oenologists. They have had a positive impact on the winery’s reputation. Before Clos Fourtet, Berrouet spent over 40 years as a winemaker for Petrus. He offers his experience during the most crucial moments of each harvest. Derenoncourt is one of the most respected wine consultants in Bordeaux, having worked with Domaine de Chevalier and Château Pavie-Macquin, both of which have been popular with iDealwine customers, at fixed price and auction. Derenoncourt works with Clos Fourtet throughout the entire year, regularly evaluating all processes to help the property maintain the critical acclaim it has achieved since the turn of the century.
Like many of Clos Fourtet’s neighbours in the appellation, the varietal composition heavily favours Merlot, which represents around 85% of the final product, followed by smaller amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
The selection process for the grapes is extremely rigorous, with vineyard workers displaying masterful precision as they clip away unwanted fruit throughout the growing season. This results in relatively low yields, leaving only the very best, most concentrated fruit on the vines. Being an incredibly diverse terroir, each plot is treated as its own entity, maturing in isolation to ensure the lasting impact of its unique character. The resulting wines are aged for 18 months in vintage-dependant proportions of new oak in order to express the distinctiveness of each year. Clos Fourtet is praised for its combination of opulence, ripe berry fruit and elegance, at its best showing spiced, liquorice-aromatics, an unctuous texture and dark, inky concentration.
Bottles of Clos Fourtet tend to command between€80 (£70) and€150 at auction on iDealwine. Two of the particularly great vintages were 2005 and 2010, which both sold for over€150 per bottle last year. These vintages have each been described as full bodied, excellent expressions of the terroir that are densely purple in colour, showing marvellous complexity on the nose and palate, with a long, intense finish. The 2005 in particular is considered a climactic turning point for the property, earning Clos Fourtet a place among the most well-regarded wines of Saint-Emilion. iDealwine has sold 10 bottles of this wonderful vintage in the past 12 months, for an average price of €148 per bottle.
Recent vintages have also been praised, with 2015 achieving nearly universal acclaim in the wine community. In addition to being available at auction and fixed price throughout the year, Clos Fourtet wines can also be found in iDealwine’s annual selection of en primeur, alongside many other acclaimed producers who continue to place their trust iDealwine year after year.
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