2008 Clos les Lunelles
by JJ Buckley Fine Wines
On Sale $26.94 (reg. $39.94)
First growth Bordeaux producers are not usually associated with value. The quality is there, of course, but the demand for the best invariably pushes prices skyward. Know where to look, and you can snag top shelf quality at a seriously nice price.
Case in point: 2008 Clos Les Lunelles. The estate belongs to Gerard Perse, high-profile proprietor of the illustrious Chateau Pavie. Clos Les Lunelles is not quite Pavie, but it comes seriously close regarding both terroir and winemaking style, and it’ll cost you a mere fraction of Pavie’s asking price.
There’s a lot to like here. Clos Les Lunelles, now known simply as Clos Lunelles, is the star property of the value-driven Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux appellation. Robert Parker calls the estate “the reference point winery for the Cotes de Castillon” and “usually the wine of the appellation in each vintage.” Located to the southeast of Saint Emilion, Castillon has long been an insider’s choice for superb right bank wines with a quality/price ratio to rival anywhere in the region.
The connection with Pavie transcends their communal ownership. For a start, the two vineyards are less than five kilometers apart. The terroir is strikingly similar, with Clos Les Lunelles occupying an extension of Saint Emilion’s clay and limestone soils on its appellation’s highest point. The vineyards are treated in the same way, overseen by the same team, practicing the same green harvesting and other methods with the same goal of optimal ripeness. Yields are low, extraction is high and the wines are big and concentrated. Clos Les Lunelles and Pavie are two sides of the same coin.
Per Parker, Clos Les Lunelles is “a brilliant introduction into what Gerard Perse is all about”, yet it offers considerable value vis à vis the other wines in the Perse portfolio. Pavie 2008 runs at $200+ per bottle, and Bellevue-Mondotte is not far behind. That vintage’s Pavie-Decesse is over $100, and even Monbousquet will cost you twice our Clos Les Lunelles price at a minimum.
At nearly 10 years of age, Clos Les Lunelles 2008 is ready to drink now, though you can cellar it for another five years, easily. Parker calls it “lush, pure, full-bodied and intense, this is a stunning sleeper of the vintage, much like the 2010.”
Very few of us could afford (or justify) keeping a stock of Pavie as a house wine. Chock full of that Perse influence but without the high price tag, Clos Les Lunelles 2008 is an entirely different story. Fans of the Pavie style, if not the price, should be all over this one. Cheers!