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1996 Clinet

1996 Clinet

91 RP

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Featured Review
This is a backward, muscular, highly-extracted wine with a boatload of tannin, thus the question mark. The saturated plum/purple color is followed by an aggressively oaky nose with scents of roasted coffee, blackberries, and prunes. It is somewhat of a freak for a 1996 Pomerol given its richness, intensity, and overripe style. Medium-bodied and powerful, but extremely closed, and in need of 5-7 years of cellaring, it will be interesting to follow this wine's evolution to determine if the tannin fully integrates itself into the wine's concentrated style. If not, it will have a slight rusticity to its tannin and structure. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2020. I sense this wine will be much more controversial than I had anticipated. Robert Parker

Robert Parker | 91 RP

Critic Reviews

This is a backward, muscular, highly-extracted wine with a boatload of tannin, thus the question mark. The saturated plum/purple color is followed by an aggressively oaky nose with scents of roasted coffee, blackberries, and prunes. It is somewhat of a freak for a 1996 Pomerol given its richness, intensity, and overripe style. Medium-bodied and powerful, but extremely closed, and in need of 5-7 years of cellaring, it will be interesting to follow this wine’s evolution to determine if the tannin fully integrates itself into the wine’s concentrated style. If not, it will have a slight rusticity to its tannin and structure. Anticipated maturity: 2007-2020. I sense this wine will be much more controversial than I had anticipated.

Robert Parker | 91 RP

Wine Details for 1996 Clinet

Type of Wine Bordeaux Red : Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend : The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

Country France : Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.



For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.



France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.



France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.



With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.


Region Bordeaux : Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.

The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Subregion Right Bank
Appellation Pomerol

Overview

Producer Chateau Clinet : Once a sister to Petrus, having been owned by the Arnaud famil, and commanding one of the healthiest prices on the Right Bank, Chateau Clinet has a rich history of both success and neglect. The Chateau enjoyed success under the ownership of the Arnauds but nevertheless was sold to the Constant family in the 1860’s. Over the course of a hundred years the estate would be repeatedly sold and passed on; the wine suffering a demise as the treatment of the property incongruous and negligent. The magnetism it once possessed would not return until 1979 when it came to rest in the nurturing hands of famed oenologist, Michel Rolland, under the new ownership of Jean-Michel Arcaute.

Under the consultation of Rolland, Arcaute was able to restore the wine produced to its former glory, implementing improvements that would lead to a successful slew of vintages throughout the 1980’s. Though Clinet did not belong to Arcaute long, he was instrumental in resurrecting the property and placing it safely back into the category of not only one of Pomerol’s greatest estates, but one of the greatest in all of Bordeaux. His desire to bring Clinet to the top level of the best producers in Pomerol and his determination to this cause became a major success and a historical one at that.

In 1998, John-Louis Laborde took control of Clinet and with the ongoing assistance of Michel Rolland, passionately continued elevating the Chateau back to elite status. Leaf thinning and green harvesting was immediately instigated, striving to harvest fruit that was fully ripe with developed skin, seeds and stems. Machine harvesting was discontinued, reinstating hand-picking. The tedious task was “fruitful” as the method helped to insure that only the best grapes were picked.

A change in varietals was a risky venture; however, the planting of large percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon (large for Pomerol where Merlot reigns triumphantly) proved to be a major contributor to its style and success. The 11.5-hectare vineyard of Chateau Clinet is divided into 21 separate parcels on slopes and hillsides which rise to a lofty elevation of 35 meters (one of the highest points on the Pomerol Plateau). At this height, 75% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and a tiny parcel of Cabernet Franc prosper in a complex blend of gravel, clay and iron rich, sandy soils. The tremendous terroir is shared with famous neighbors who also produce stellar wines of great renown.

With a miniscule annual production of only 3,000 cases, Clinet has once again become a top level producer with fantastic allure, which it previously enjoyed in its original glory days. The blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc varies yearly depending on the harvest but the quality does not. It remains a top tier Pomerol and Bordeaux wine that flows from the bottle with a rich, supple, sensuous, and powerful character, offering floral, chocolate and spicy flavors. The wine will age effortlessly developing into a timeless piece of history that once was neglected, but now restored to greatness. A true story of redemption.

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