Clos Fourtet ’09 Saint-Emilion Climbs to Record $3,080 on Liv-Ex

A case of Clos Fourtet 2009 Saint-Emilion sold for a record 1,931 pounds ($3,080) a case on the London-based Liv-ex wine exchange last week as right-bank Bordeaux wines attracted buyers.

The transaction on Sept. 13 followed the sale of a case at a six-month high of 1,900 pounds two days earlier, according to data on Liv-ex’s Cellar Watch website. Another trade took place yesterday, also at 1,900 pounds.

The Liv-ex Fine Wine 50 Index, tracking leading Bordeaux vintages, has gained since mid-August following five months of declines, and is 4 percent up since the start of this year. Wines from Saint-Emilion and Pomerol on the right bank of the Dordogne have outperformed some of the higher-priced Medoc vintages from the left-bank of the Gironde in recent weeks.

“Far outperforming the other indices is the Right Bank 100,” Liv-ex said in a market blog commentary this month. The index has been boosted by wines such as Clos Fourtet and L’Eglise Clinet, which “continue to rise in quality and reputation,” it said.

Merlot Grapes

Clos Fourtet is a Premier Grand Cru Classe Saint-Emilion wine estate whose 2009 vintage, made under the ownership of Philippe Cuvelier, comprised 88 percent Merlot grapes, 8 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 4 percent Cabernet Franc, according to notes on the estate’s website. It was aged for 18 months in barrels, with 80 percent new oak.

The vintage has risen 20 percent from its trading level at the end of last year, and tripled from the 640 pounds a case at which it traded in June 2010 on Liv-ex, soon after being released to the market.

It was rated a perfect 100 on U.S. wine critic Robert Parker’s 100-point scale, making it the estate’s best vintage on record according to that measure and ahead of the 2005 and 2010 vintages, which scored 98 each.

“With notes of camphor, forest floor, blackberry, cassis, sweet cherries, licorice, the wine has stunning aromatics, unctuous texture and an almost inky concentration,” Parker wrote in an online tasting note in February 2012. “It is certainly the finest Clos Fourtet ever produced.”

The vineyard lies at the entrance to the medieval village of Saint-Emilion and was called Camp Fourtet in the Middle Ages, when a fort on the site protected the town, according to the winery’s website. There is now an eighteenth-century manor house in its place.

The estate has 19 hectares (47 acres) of vineyards, according to the website of London wine importer Berry Bros. & Rudd, and its reputation was built up in the latter part of the last century by Pierre Lurton, who went on to take over direction of winemaking at nearby Chateau Cheval Blanc.