In a nutshell: A fresh and elegant wine from this exciting Chateau owned and managed by the Cheval Blanc team.
The lowdown: Chateau l'Enclos sits with its 16 hectare walled vineyard in the town of Libourne near the Dordogne river. Bought in 2008 by Baron Frére and Bernard Arnault of the famed Chateau Cheval Blanc this old estate has seen renewal and innovation and gone from strength to strength. In 2009 some Cabernet Sauvignon was planted (a rarity in Saint-Emilion) and this 2014 vintage was the first with Cab Sav in the blend: 69% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc. 2014 was also the first vintage for the wine to be matured in large 500l oak barrels, rather than the traditional Bordeaux size of 225l, with the aim being of Cheval Blanc's winemaking team to reduce the oak presence in the finished article. This coupled with the cooler 2014 season producing classic wines with an approachability early on have resulted in a very fine, fresh and rather distinguished wine.
Medium bodied, fresh and precise with good structure and backbone holding the brambly red and black fruits, spice and minerally touches together. Complex with good density and some grip to the tannins. The two Cabernets make their presence known and the overall result is very fine.
92/100 Neal Martin, 93/100 - James Suckling
When to drink: Drink now through to the end on the 2020s.
Being situated in the southern suburbs of Libourne, the biggest town of the Bordeaux's Right Bank, in the late 1990s the vineyards were threatened with becoming a housing estate until being purchased by Alain Raynaud in 1997. He set about renovating and re-planting the vineyards and with the celebrated winemaker Michel Rolland on board transformed the estate's fortune and reputation. In 2008 it was sold to the owners of Château Cheval Blanc, Bernard Arnault and Albert Frere, and today the estate is managed and run by Cheval Blanc's skilful team under the direction of Pierre Lurton.
Their vineyards, which are on a single plot surrounding the winery, extend to around 20 hectares and have been farmed organically since 2009. Since 2014 they've included a proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend which is relatively unusual on the Right Bank as is their use of 500 Litre barrels instead of the standard 225 Litre Bordeaux Barrique. This lends their wines a more subtle character than some. It's fair to say that, under the umbrella of one of the Right Bank's most illustrious names Quinault l'Enclos is a reliably good performer whose wines are excellcent value.