Matthieu Cuvelier is very happy with the quality of his Clos Fourtet 2014, made in something of a roller-coaster vintage with a wet and grey July and August saved by the record breaking Indian summer which lasted until mid-October. This combination of a cool summer with a hot and dry autumn has produced a deliciously pure Clos Fourtet, with pronounced aromatics, supple tannins and attractive freshness. Château Côte de Baleau and Château Les Grands Murailles, also made by the Cuveliers, are both attractive and ripe St Emilions.
The cool summer conditions in 2014 meant that a green harvest was necessary in August [trimming off unwanted bunches] and the ripening period [veraison] took a month as the dismal grey weather protracted development. Yields were down a fraction as there was a little coulure on the Merlot and sorting [including the use of a new density sorter] reduced production by 15%.
As usual there is a wonderful purity to Clos Fourtet and considerable depth. I may be underrating it in number terms but expect it to fill out further during elévage. There is excellent harmony and proportion to the wine and good length on the finish.
Château Côte de Baleau is a fifteen hectare plot situated on three soil types, limestone, clay and sand near La Gomerie. This is vibrant, pretty St Emilion with violet perfume and satin fruit. Château Grand Murailles, located on the limestone plateau adjacent to Clos Fourtet itself, has lots of sweet ripe fruit on the palate with a little oak to integrate.
The following wines were tasted on April 1, 2015 at Clos Fourtet. I’ll report separately on the Cuvelier’s other property Château Poujeaux [also impressive in 2014).
Château Côte du Baleau, St Emilion Grand Cru, 2014.
Mid depth; pretty fruit on the nose; violets; lift; satin fruit and spices; very pretty; nice palate; some oak; chew and extract; nice material; vibrant finish. 15 hectare vineyard with three soils – limestone, clay and sand. Good stuff. [85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% alc, 70% new oak]. Drink 2019-2025. 88-90
Château Les Grands Murailles, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, 2014.
Attractive; depth; nice core; lots of fruit; lifted and attractive; very pretty black cherry; ripe strawberries; pure; sweet and ripe on the palate; oak noticeable but will meld and there is plenty of fruit here; supple tannins; lots of fruit here. [100% Merlot, 100% new oak, 2ha plot]. Drink 2019-2028. 89-91+
Clos Fourtet, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé, 2014.
Deep and glossy looking; fresh fruit; real purity; creamy blackcurrant tones; ripe plums; glossy and sweet fruit on the palate; attractive; blackcurrants; spices; acidity; freshness; very bright; nice fruit and balance; harmonious and good length. [89% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc]. 2019-2030. 92-94+
Tags: Bordeaux, Bordeaux 2014, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chateau Côte de Baleau, Chateau Les Grands Murailles, Clos Fourtet, Matthieu Cuvelier, Merlot, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé, St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé