This négociant company – founded by the man of the same name in 1906 – now owns a number of properties on the right bank of Bordeaux, including Clos du Clocher in Pomerol and Château du Courlat in the satellite appellation of Lussac-Saint-Emilion. The company is still run by Jean-Baptiste’s descendants: firstly, his grandson Pierre Bourotte, and since 2003 his great-grandson Jean-Baptiste Bourotte.
Du Courlat has been in the family for several decades. The 17 hectares of vines have an average age of 25 years, and are planted on the slopes of Lussac, with a large lake at their centre. Four hectares of this are dedicated to the company’s first wine, Cuvée Jean-Baptiste, named in honour of the company’s founder.
This is the cream of the crop of du Courlat, a 100% merlot wine aged for 20 months in one third new oak, with the capacity to age for five to 15 years. It is particularly fine in dry years like 2010 when it remains fresh but very ripe.
Jean-Baptiste founded Clos du Clocher in Pomerol in 1924. The five hectares of vines, located on the Pomerol plateau next to Vieux Certan and Trotanoy, are planted in the appellation’s famous iron-rich clay soils. Impressively, some of the vines date back as far as 1957.
All grapes are hand harvested before being fermented in a mixture of concrete and stainless-steel tanks. The wine – a blend of 70% merlot and 30% cabernet franc – then spends 18 months in barrels, two thirds of which are new, the oak for which is specially selected to enhance the wine’s character.
This small property has real class and keeping potential, with the ability to age for eight to 20 years, and yet it remains relatively undervalued.