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Featured Reviews

Clos Henri, Bel Echo and Petit Clos Releases, and New Methode and Late Harvest Wines

29 December,2017

Clos Henri is the Marlborough winegrowing venture of the Loire-based Bourgeois family, now in its tenth generation of winegrowing. Clos Henri is a combination of Old World philosophy and techniques with New World Marlborough soils and terroir. The Bourgeois family recognise three distinctive soil types: the ‘Greywacke Terroir’ on old riverbed, free-draining and stony; the ‘Wither Terroir’ with yellow-grey and ochre coloured soil indicating rich iron content; and ‘Broadbridge Terroir’, based on grey-brown clay. These soils types are represented in three tiers, these being ‘Petit Clos’ from younger vines, ‘Bel Echo’ for terroir-expressive bottlings, and the premium ‘Clos Henri’ wines. Clos Henri is part of MANA Winegrowers, and produced their first BioGro certified organic wines in 2013. The local team has the vineyards are under the care of Fabiano Frangi and the winemaker (and general manager) is Damien Yvon Here, I review the new 2017 Petit Clos Sauvignon Blanc, 2016 Bel Echo Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir, 2016 Clos Henri Sauvignon Blanc and 2015 Pinot Noir, and the new cuvees, the ‘Chapel Block’ Methode 2014 and 2013 ‘Patience’ Late Harvest Sauvignon, these in the ‘Clos Henri’ tier.


Petit Clos by Clos Henri Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale on edge. The nose is very fresh and elegantly presented with cool-spectrum fruit aromas of nettles, cut-grass and subtle gooseberry notes, along with white floral perfumes. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is taut and tightly bound, and quite slender in expression, with flavours of cut-grass, nettles, fresh herbs, and white florals, unveiling mineral and gooseberry elements. The mouthfeel is brisk and racy with mouthwatering acidity, and the wine flows along a light, dry-textured phenolic line, leading to a slender finish of herbs, cut-grass and nettles. This is a taut, slender, cool-spectrum Sauvignon Blanc with nettle and cut-grass flavours with fresh herb and white floral notes on a dry-textured palate. Serve as an aperitif and with shellfish over the next 2 years. Fruit from ‘River Stone’, ‘Broadbridge’ and ‘Wither’ soils, vines 3-7 y.o., fermented in tank to 13.5% alc. and <1 g/L RS, the wine aged 3 months on lees with batonnage. Certified BioGro organic. 16.5/20 Dec 2017 RRP $20.50

Bel Echo by Clos Henri ‘Terroir – Broadbridge’ Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, pale straw-yellow colour with green hues, lighter on the rim. The nose is softly concentrated with ripe fruit aromas of gooseberries and minerals, with fresh herbs, unfolding subtle passionfruit notes. This is gentle in expression with some breadth, Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has broad, mouthfilling flavours of gooseberries, fresh herbs, minerals and passionfruit, with a fine, tight underlying core and line. Fresh, racy acidity enlivens the thirst-quenching mouthfeel, and the wine follows a fine phenolic-threaded line with dry textures leading to a taut, lingering finish of gooseberries and minerals. This is a mouthwatering gooseberry-fruited Sauvignon Blanc with good breadth and a fine-textured, phenolic core and line. Match with seafood, salads and vegetables over the next 2 years. MS clone fruit from ‘Broadbridge’ and ‘Wither’ clays, vines 9-14 y.o., fermented in tank to 14.0% alc. and <1 g/L RS, the wine aged 6 months on lees with batonnage. Certified BioGro organic. 17.0/20 Dec 2017 RRP $26.00

Bel Echo by Clos Henri ‘Terroir – River Stones’ Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough


Light garnet-red colour with some depth, paler on the edge. The nose is softly full with moderate depth of soft red berry fruits melded harmoniously with fresh and dark herbs, along with earthy nuances and nutty oak. The aromatics build in depth with aeration, unfolding hints of liquorice. Medium-bodied, the palate has piquant and intense fruit flavours of dark-red cherry and berry fruit entwined with dark herbs, and subtle earth and mineral notes. The fruit is up-front and enlivened by crisp acidity, and supported by fine-grained tannin extraction and structure. The palate is balanced with good textures and presence, with the acidity lending tension. The wine carries to a light, lingering finish. This is an up-front, piquant-fruited Pinot Noir with dark red cherry and berry fruit with herb, earth and mineral notes on a fresh, fine-structured palate. Match with duck and pork dishes over the next 5+ years. Clones 10/5, 114 and 115, from ‘River Stones’ soils, vines 8-13 y.o., fermented in 7,500 L vats to 13.5% alc,, 40% of the wine aged in the large vats and 60% in seasoned French barrels. Certified BioGro organic. 17.0/20 Dec 2017 RRP $32.00

Clos Henri Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright, even, light straw-yellow colour with slight green hues, pale edged. The nose is very elegant in presentation, quite restrained in expression with a refined, tight core of gooseberry fruit harmoniously melded with minerals and fresh herbs. This is very delicate and detailed with very elegant intensity that builds with aeration. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate is elegantly proportioned with good depth and penetrating intensity of gooseberries and minerals, with fresh herbs forming a fine, tight core. The palate is finely detailed and enlivened by crisp, racy acidity, and flows with plenty of energy and tension along a refined line, leading to an elegant, nuanced finish. This is an elegantly concentrated and detailed Sauvignon Blanc with penetrating and intense gooseberry, herb and mineral flavours on a brisk, refined palate. Serve with Pacific Rim fare over the next 3 years. MS clone fruit from ‘River Stones’ soils, vines 8-13 y.o., 85% stainless-steel fermented 15% in seasoned French oak barrels to 14.0% alc. and <1 g/L RS, the wine aged 8 months on lees with batonnage. Certified BioGro organic. 18.0+/20 Dec 2017 RRP $33.00

Clos Henri Marlborough Pinot Noir 2015

Pinot Noir from New Zealand – Marlborough


Even ruby-red colour with some depth, a little lighter on the rim. This has a full and deep nose with well-packed aromas of dark-red berry fruit entwined with an amalgam of dark herbs, earth and minerals, and subtle, savoury complexing nutty detail. The aromatics show good presence and concentration. Medium-full bodied, the palate has rich, vibrant and sweetly luscious fruit flavours of dark-red berry fruit melded with notes of dark herbs, unfolding red florals and refined, savoury nutty oak elements. The fruit has vitality and is enlivened by fresh, lacy acidity and fine, grainy tannin extraction lends good structure and mouthfeel. The fruit richness carries the wine to a long and sustained finish with excellent presence. This is a rich, vibrant, sweet dark-red berry fruited Pinot Noir with fine floral, herb and oak notes on a lively palaste with good presence. Match with lamb, beef and venison over the next 7-8+ years. Clones 5, 10/5, 667, 777, 114, 115 and Abel fruit from ‘Broadbridge’ and ‘Wither’ clay soils, vines 8-13 y.o., hand-picked and fully destemmed, fermented with 100% whole berries to 14.0% alc., the wine on skins for 3 weeks and aged 12 months in 25% new French oak barrels. Certified BioGro organic. 18.5/20 Dec 2017 RRP $44.00

Clos Henri ‘Chapel Block’ Marlborough Methode Traditionnelle Blanc de Noirs 2014

Sparkling Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough


Bright straw-yellow colour with soft gold and blush hues, lighter on the rim, the bead moderately persistent with fine bubbles. The bouquet is soft and fully voluminous with aromas of yellow stonefruits and florals entwined with bread, brioche and yeasty autolysis layers and nutty hints. The aromatics possess depth and grow in density in the glass. Dry to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has lively flavours of white and yellow stonefruits melded with bready-yeasty autolysis and nutty notes, forming a good core with depth. The mouthfeel is lively with brisk acidity and the wine follows a fine, thirst-quenching phenolic-threaded line that carries to a long, dry, nuanced finish. This is a lively Blanc de Noirs method traditionnelle with good depth and presence of yellow stonefruits, bread and yeasty notes and a mouthwatering finish. Serve as an aperitif, with antipasto and tapas over the next 3-4 years. 100% Pinot Noir from the ‘Chapel Block’ on ‘Broadbridge’ clays, hand-picked, WBP, and fermented in tank, the base wine aged 10 months on lees in tank and seasoned oak, the wine aged 18 months on lees. 12.5% alc. and 5 g/L dosage. Disgorged "a few hundred” bottles at a time, this bottling in October. 4,788 bottles made. 18.5-/20 Dec 2017 RRP $39.00

Clos Henri ‘Patience’ Marlborough Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2013

Sweet Wine from New Zealand – Marlborough


Brilliant lemon-gold colour with slight green hues, a little lighter on the edge. This has a very intensely concentrated and deep bouquet of green stonefruits, lime marmalade and notes of honey and nectar, unfolding fresh and dark herb elements and subtle notes of tropical fruits and capsicums. Sweet to taste and medium-bodied, the palate has rich and intense, luscious flavours of ripe green stonefruits and tropical fruits with lime marmalade and honey unveiling herb and grassy elements. The palate has good underlying power and linearity, and shows unctuousness, balanced by fresh, crisp acidity. The wine flows along a fine-textured line, leading to a long, lingering finish of limes, marmalade and green stonefruits. This is a rich and luscious Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc with ripe, green stonefruit, troplical fruit, lime marmalade and honied flavours on an unctuous palate with good linearity. Match with fruit desserts and cream,y blue cheeses over the next 4+ years. Botrytised MS clone Sauvignon Blanc fruit from the ‘Josephine’ block on ‘River Stone’ soils, hand-picked and fermented in French oak barrels to 13.0% alc. and 80 g/L RS, the wine aged 12 months in oak. (500 ml) 1,500 bottles made. 18.0-/20 Dec 2017 RRP $47.00

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