Château Clos Fourtet
Classification: First Growth (Premier Grand Cru Classé B)
Château Clos Fourtet was once a Medieval military fort known as Camfourtet (Camp Fourtet) which defended Saint Emilion and sits just outside the entrance to the old town. Some of the encircling walls of the original fort still exist today and Clos Fourtet is one of the few walled vineyards (clos) in the area.
In the 18th century a small garrison of troops was billeted at Chateau Clos Fourtet and the chateau and chai date back to 1790. The château was built by Elie Rulleau and is a beautiful ivy-covered manor house and has some of the most extensive underground cellars in the region. The château was built over limestone quarries and caves which comprise the cellars. The Rulleau family (who were connected to Chateau Figeac) altered the chateau’s name in 1868 to Clos Fourtet signifying more peaceful times.
In 1919 Fernand Ginestet bought Clos Fourtet, the same year that he purchased Petit-Village in Pomerol. His son, Pierre, subsequently sold the property to Lucien Lurton of Chateau Brane Cantenac, in order to finance the purchase of shares in Chateau Margaux in 1949. In 2001 Clos Fourtet was sold to Philippe Cuvelier, a Parisian businessman who made his fortune running Papeterie Gilbert, a paper and office supplies company who also now owns Chateau Poujeaux.
Under the Cuveliers Clos Fourtet has improved dramatically and the quality of its wines has been transformed. What's more in 2013 the Cuvelier family purchased 3 chateaux in Saint Emilion from the Reiffers family: Clos Saint-Martin, Chateau Les Grandes Murailles and Chateau Côte de Baleau. All 3 chateaux lie very close to Clos Fourtet and all 3 are Grand Cru Classé.
Clos Fourtet's vineyards lie close to the town, with Château Canon to the north. They cover 47 acres and are on the same limestone plateau of Saint Martin as the town and run down its slopes towards the plain in the west. The grapes grown are 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The wines of Château Clos Fourtet are full and concentrated with a creamy texture. They have notes of blueberries and blackcurrant with smoke, dark chocolate, cinnamon and nutmeg. They age well, have firm tannins, are well structured and as such should be correctly cellared.
Owner: The Cuvelier Family (also owns Chateaux Poujeaux, Clos Saint Martin, Les Grandes Murailles and Cote de Baleau)
Oenologist: S Derenoncourt