Clos Fourtet has been making some very fine wines from the limestone plateau recently. We like the respectful winemaking and light touch. The 2015 is by no means the largest or most impressive St Emilion; it is built on graceful lines with beautiful balance, harmony and sleek attractive fruit. It is very seductive with its loganberry, graphite and cooked meats bouquet that leads on to a smoky, earthy, cassis filled palate. The pure fruit flavours cling to the tannins and coat the mouth.
A recent addition to the 100 point club (the 2009); Clos Fourtet is situated on the limestone Cote to the west of the town of St Emilion. There are 19 hectares of vines and plantings are unsurprisingly dominated by Merlot (85%). The new wine-maker, Daniel Alard is ably assisted by consultant oenologist, Stephane Derenoncourt. The team are certainly enhancing the reputation of this estate and it now ranks amongst the most consistent and highest performing in the appellation.
St-Émilion is a very different region to those of the Médoc, dominated by small-holding farmers and estates rather than grand Châteaux. Merlot is widely planted as is Cabernet Franc in some parts. The wines are enormously variable in style depending on the terroir, the grape variety make-up and winemaking style. Loosely the region is divided between the limestone Côtes, Graves or gravelly limestone plateau or the sandy alluvial soils nearer the Dordogne. Traditionally Médoc wines were trade from Bordeaux and St Emilions from Libourne so they have their own classification system separate to that of 1855. The classification is revised every ten years and falls into four categories, St Emilion, St Emilion Grand Cru, St Emilion Grand Cru Classé and St Emilion Premier Grand Cru Classé
Most of the district's best properties are either on the steep, clay-limestone hillsides immediately below the town or on a gravelly section of the plateau west of St Emilion itself abutting Pomerol. There are several high profile estates in the region, including Cheval Blanc, Ausone, Figeac, Le Dôme, Valandraud and Pavie.