Last Call: 2006 & 2008 Clos Fourtet

Wow! What a crazy week! The Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker just released issue #199 which revealed to the world his decisive synopsis of the 2009 Bordeaux vintage among other things. The result? A frenzied barrage of telephone calls and emails from a plethora of people all over the country who were all coincidentally looking to buy Mr. Parker’s top wines. Trying to stay on top of the situation was challenging to say the least. That kind of frenzy has its frustrating side as well. I do my best to report to our customers when I’m on to something, and it gives me great pleasure when you act on my advice. But sometimes it takes a Parker to sway opinions. Either way, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, my passion for Bordeaux driving the machine. So what do you want to tell us about, Pete? Well, one of the wines that sold out this week was the 2009 Château Clos Fourtet. As stocks are depleted, re-purchasing the wines from France can prove costly. After we sold out of the wine, we noticed one Bay Area wine merchant selling the wine for $350! That’s crazy! But that’s supply and demand for you. So that’s got me thinking … we’ve got a little bit of both the 2006 and 2008 vintage available, and they’re both priced below $60. Just saying, I don’t think they will be around very much longer.
Since hiring winemaking consultant Stephane Derenoncourt, the wines from Clos Fourtet have been turning heads amongst wine lovers and critics. My experience with their wines began in 1996, and I’ve held them in high esteem since. If you ever visit Bordeaux, the one thing you absolutely must do is visit St. Emilion. This quaint medieval village in the middle of all the famous vineyards will charm all those who wander there. I still remember my last day in Bordeaux in 2011, while driving out to the Right Bank to visit Château Couronneau and Daniel Hecquet’s Puy Servain, I started thinking. It’s 14:00. I don’t have to meet Daniel until 17:00. I haven’t had lunch yet and St. Emilion is 7 km away. What to do? What to do? If I’m EVER 7 km from St. Emilion with an empty stomach and 3 free hours, I go. I just go. I’m a fool if I don’t. It’s perched on a hilltop and some of the views are, in a word, awesome. The list of famous vineyards that surround the village’s wall is an impressive one. Chateaux such as Beau-Sejour Bécot, Beausejour Duffau, la Couspaude, and the princely Ausone are all within a sand wedge from the heart of the village, but none are as close as is Clos Fourtet. It is somewhat bittersweet for me that the 2009 Château Clos Fourtet received Robert Parker’s highest praise. One the one hand, I am very happy for the chateau and for all parties who worked so hard to achieve this status. For me, the downside would be the price and availability of their wines going forward. On balance, it’s a good thing. I’ve enjoyed their wines for some time and they deserve it. If you want to get a feel for their wines, there is still a chance to get in relatively inexpensively. Both the 2006 and 2008 are here, in stock, most likely for a very short time.Ahhhh … just remembering last year’s quiet lunch in St. Emilion on a sunny day has me thinking. We are less than a month away from the crazy week when the Bordelais open their chateaux to the trade and allow us to taste from barrel the previous year’s wines. I’ve booked my flight, and have made appointments to visit many of the chateaux who don’t pour at the sanctioned tastings. (One of these appointments will result in visiting Château Le Pin for the very first time! So psyched!) There’s plenty more planning to be done, and I better get on the ball. One thing I’m planning though, when at the UGC St. Emilion tasting, is saying, “Bravo!” when I’m poured the Château Clos Fourtet!Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Bordeaux in general, Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate, my upcoming scouting mission to Bordeaux to taste the 2011’s, or music. Please, no football this week, it’s just too painful: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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