It is interesting when new life is breathed into a particular estate…. A change in winemaking approach, a different tact in the vineyard and invariably an upgrade of facilities can yield dramatically different results. Simon's comments, below.
This is exactly the situation with Château La Clotte, which is now entirely owned by the Vauthier family of Château Ausone. I can just about recall tasting vintages back when the quality was, quite frankly, very disappointing. The turnaround here is stark with the 2016, which is the best vintage yet, receiving well-deserved praise from a number of critics.
I was really struck by just how well the Ausone stable performed in 2016. I have often said that Ausone is among the finest handful of wines I taste each and every year I visit Bordeaux, however the entire portfolio delivered in 2016, with La Clotte registering perhaps the biggest surprise. Château La Clotte, now in its third vintage under the Vauthiers, is the latest addition to their stable. It occupies a four hectare vineyard, which lies close to Ausone on the limestone plateau of St.Emilion, so the geography has always suggested that the vineyard had very fine potential. All it required was the skill to deliver on that potential.
2016 Château La Clotte, Grand Cru Classé, St. Emilion
£285 per 6 bottle case in bond
The 2016 La Clotte offers striking red fruits with notes of juicy loganberry on the nose, scented and strikingly pure. What impresses most, however, is the harmony on the palate, where a broad swathe of fresh, succulent fruit is on show. The tannins are certainly present, but relatively unobtrusive even at this early stage. As you would expect, there is a mineral backbone here and a long, flowing finish. I was not expecting such a dramatic turn-around in just the third vintage under the Vauthiers. A classy St.Emilion with bags of finesse. Drink 2024-2040.(SL)
And here is Neal Martin’s note... another ringing endorsement which states La Clotte ‘is rapidly becoming one of their standout wines alongside Ausone.’
(94-96) points, Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 La Clotte is a blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc this year, picked on 12 October for the Merlot and 17 October for both Cabernets. Matured in 85% new oak, it has a fragrant bouquet with plenty of redcurrant, wild strawberry and rose petal notes, real gusto here but also elegance. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannin, a beautiful line of acidity, great substance and fine mineralité on the finish. La Clotte was in a poor state in terms of old and missing vines when the Vauthiers took over the property in 2014, but it is rapidly becoming one of their standout wines alongside Ausone. Superb. Drink 2022-2045
This is certainly a Château to watch based on this showing and the pedigree of the Vauthier stable.
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