When you think about the majestic, well-known estates of Saint-Estephe, you think Cos d'Estournel, Montrose, and Calon-Segur. Consider Chateau Clauzet a neighbor to these esteemed chateaux and an unheralded competitor. Sitting on prime, deep gravelly soils overlooking the Gironde river, Chateau Clauzet is located a mere 2.5 miles north of Chateau Lafite Rothschild.
So, why haven't you heard of this winery? It is likely due to the tiny production and the small amount that is actually imported into the US. BHW scored an exclusive allocation of the last cases of this fantastic wine from the unforgettable 2010 vintage. This wine was on reserve for a famous restaurant where you'd have to pay $135 for the privilege, but when the opportunity presented itself, we bought it all.
The earliest written reference to Château Clauzet dates back to 1850. The estate belonged to the Bernard family and consisted of nearly 80 hectares, half under vine, half devoted to other crops, as was often the case at the time.
The present-day buildings including the château were constructed during the Second Empire. The name Clauzet dates from this period, when Anne Olympe Bernard married Pierre Ulysse Clauzet, bringing the vineyard with her as a dowry. Féret mentions Clauzet in the 1868 edition.
Maurice Velge (a Belgian Baron) sees his adventure at Château Clauzet as the end of natural evolution. "My father had good friends in Bordeaux. The world of wine always attracted me, and when the opportunity arose to become involved, I decided to step in".
After his initial acquisition of 6 hectares in 1997, Maurice Velge purchased other plots with quality terroir. The estate currently has 23 hectares under vine on some of the finest lands in Saint-Estèphe.
Maurice has expanded the team by hiring cellar master Jose Bueno from the Rothschild family and Eric Boissenot as a consultant. Boissenot trained with his father, Jacques, who was the protege of Emile Peynaud.
Today, Eric consults at forty of the 1855 Classified estates including Lafite, Margaux, Latour, Mouton Rothschild, Leoville Las Cases, and Ducru Beaucaillou.
Aging: 50% New French Oak for 18 months. 40-year-old vines.
Tasting Notes: Red Wine. 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc. Classy and classic Saint-Estephe. Quintessential mushroom nose, terroir jumps out of the glass with graphite, lavender, boysenberry, blackberry, mocha, and vanilla. This wine actually tasted BETTER on day two after opening; a hallmark for a wine that will benefit from additional aging in bottle.
This shows loads of fruit on the nose, with spices, dark chocolate, and blackberries. Full body, with soft and silky tannins. Chewy finish. Love the length of this. ~91-92 James Suckling
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