2015 Claire Ouzoulias, Clos Chante l’Alouette, Saint-Emilion Red Bordeaux, France.
Claire Ouzoulias’ Clos Chante l’Alouette Saint-Emilion Bordeaux is an all organic blend of 60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc grown mainly on sandy soils with a high iron content and it shows it the fresh mineral focus and sanguine nature of this lovely old world wine. Making rich and pure wines, Claire is the 6th generation of vignerons in the Ouzoulias family, and to own and farm three small estates in the right bank’s Saint-Emilion region starting back in 1889, and she is leaning towards natural winemaking, taking a different route to her contemporaries that are almost all making new oak driven modern wines, while she prefers hands on approach in the vineyard, hands off in the cellar, with native yeast ferments and less flashy oak treatments with more used wood. This estate wine is from a tiny parcel, about 3.5 hectares in size, again all of which is certified organic allowing for a more fresh style and more lifted with an elegance and subtlety that is hard to find in Saint-Emilion, with this 2015 vintage showing ripe fruit and Merlot driven character with dark berry fruit and a light earthy seduction, it’s a true classic old school beauty with firm, but with supple tannins, a medium full body and density that allows for early drinking pleasures. This Clos Chante l‘Alouette starts with loaminess on the nose with delicate florals, mulberry and cedar (elegant wood) before giving way to a packed palate of black cherry, plum and forest berries along with a touch of Cabernet Franc pepper and wild herb as well as anise and a faint creme de cassis note. This impressive classically styled “Right Bank” wine is just the right amount (a) touch rustic, but wonderfully lengthy and round in texture, it’s especially good with robust cuisine, it would be absolutely brilliant with game birds, duck in reduction sauce and or wild mushroom dishes. There’s plenty of stuffing and fruit here last 10 to 15 years if not much longer, I adore this fine Bordeaux in it’s youth and see no great reason to wait too to enjoy it, though it should gain more complexity over time and will reward some short term patience, best to give it 3 to 5 years more in bottle. Imported by Floraison Selections, Claire Ouzoulias also has a Grand Cru Saint-Emilion, it’s under the Château Franc Pourret label which looks to be a deeper expression as this estate sits on the highly acclaimed limestone and clay soils, and with this one being this good, I am really looking forward to trying it as well!
($35 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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