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A Trio of High Pointed Gems from A Top Margaret River Estate - 01/10/2018 - Australia

When it comes to Margaret River producers, they don’t get much better than Clairault. From one vintage to the next, the wines are beautifully capture the best from this world-class region. Their most recent set of releases garnered high points and high praise from the critics and left our staff duly impressed. Sourcing from some of the oldest and most coveted vineyards in the region, across the board the wines are deep, layer, complex, and perfectly composed. Cab drinkers will want to try both bottlings featured here, as they stand shoulder to shoulder with the best from Napa and Bordeaux, while still offering their own, distinct Margaret River profile. The 2014 “Estate” Chard for its part, is a ripe, round, and fleshy style that harmoniously blends its lush fruit with nuanced barrique influences. Given the high accolades, one might expect these releases to command ultra-premium prices, yet that couldn’t be further from the truth. All can be had for under the $30 mark and count among the best values out of Margaret River today. The wines from Australia have continued on an upward swing with Clairault leading the charged. These are wines you definitely don’t want to miss.

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2014 Clairault Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River (White Label) ($19.99)

94 points James Halliday: "There's a nuclear arsenal of black and redcurrant, cassis, wild herb, black olive and charred, tarry tannins in each bottle of this wine, so handle with care. A big rib eye steak might be a good start, and someone to share the bottle. *Special Value Selection*" (10/2016)

92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Both pretty and complex, Clairaults Cab is a heady mix of cranberry and tart cherry, florals, peppery herbs, pencil lead and some raw meat in the background. The palate is medium bodied and rustic yet elegant. Tannins are big but they seem a product of the skins rather than the oak, and theres a lovely savory, peppery finish. Drink now-2025. *Editors' Choice* (CP)"

90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "Toasty and cedary, Clairault's 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon offers up an array of dark, earthy flavors reminiscent of mocha, cola, dark chocolate and cassis. It's full-bodied but smooth and supple with a long, silky finish that bodes well for mid-term aging. (JC)" (12/2017)

Staff ImageRyan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 03, 2018

The baby brother to Clairault's (Black Label) Estate Cab this sibling won't easily be outdone. Sharing many of the flagship's traits - juicy dark fruit, bay leaf, tobacco, mint, fine tannin and notable length - this is serious Cabernet for the money. Sourced from Clairault's estate holdings and some neighboring vineyards, this little guy packs some serious bang for the buck. If you like Cabernet from a more moderate to cool climate (think Bordeaux / Santa Cruz Mountains) this wine is more than worthy of your attention. Clairault is a new direct import for us at K&L and you can see the staff are already raving about them. Top value.

Staff ImageBrian Fogarty | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 03, 2018

Margret River Cabernet is the gold standard on the continent for refined expressions and Clairault is a champion of that superior style. The white label wines are a good entry point into the Clairault lineup of wines and the 2014 cab delivers on their promise. Blackberries and spice pour out of the glass and the bouquet develops clarity with each inviting sniff: dried cherry, bay leaf, potpourri, hints of tar and a dusty earthiness all jockey for attention. On the palate the wine continues its bold features with a round yet balanced presence that includes medium weight tannins and the introduction of cassis in the fruit profile.

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 30, 2017

If you are looking for an affordable, quintessentially Margaret River Cab Sauv, look no further than this guy. It shows the classic hints of stemmy, woodsiness many of the Cabs from this area carry, and that is a great thing. These are unique wines and an incredible value from a well-loved estate. Still tasting pretty young, I believe this one to have great aging potential. Well deserved of its 94 point score, Clairault Cabs should be on you radar if they are not already.

Staff ImageKirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 29, 2017

Intense nose with concentrated dark fruits, tapenade, bay leaf and a hint of eucalyptus. The nose is impressive, inviting and complex. Ripe and rich entry with round mouth filling polished tannins with just a hint of oak. The dark fruits are back with a brighter berry nose as well as tapenade and muted herbal notes. What a deal!

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2014 Clairault "Estate" Chardonnay Margaret River (Black Label) ($24.99)

96 points James Halliday: "*Special Value Selection* Both this and its '14 sibling come from estate vineyards and are made in similar fashion, yet Clairault's own notes use totally different descriptors for each. It's not a question of volume, although I think that the significantly greater volume/intensity of this wine is the difference. Strange, but then that's the everlasting fascination of wine." (10/2016)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: "The 2014 Estate Chardonnay is a rich, opulent wine loaded with scents of toasted hazelnut or almond layered over white peaches and grilled pineapple. It even hints at popcorn on the long, otherwise citrusy finish. It's medium to full-bodied but with ample acidity, which should give it the potential to age well through 2022. (JC)" (12/2017)

92 points Wine Enthusiast: "Pale gold, almost green tinged, this is is an excellent example of why Margaret River excels at Chardonnay. Its complex, with notes of lemon zest, orange peel, butter and exotic spices that last all the way through to the finish. Its rich with a chalky texture and is age worthy, with enough acidity to take it long into the future. Drink now - 2027."

K&L Notes: 93 points Wine Front: "Made from select blocks of Clairault’s Margaret River vineyards.‘Power and the glory’ style of chardonnay. It has impact up-front but then hones to a lengthy, almost elegant finish. Wheat, stonefruit, grapefruit and sawdusty, toasty oak. Citrus. Straw-colour suggests at the richness to come but to at the wine’s in-built finesse." Winemaker's Notes: "Aromas of cut stone fruit, squeezed lemon and melon with hints of vanilla pod and eastern spice. On the palate it enters clean and precise with sophisticated lines of oyster shell, lime juice and orange blossom. Creamy oak and fine acidity lead to a crisp, lingering finish. The fruit for our Estate Chardonnay is selected from our best blocks of fruit and hand-picked. The fruit is chilled and whole-cluster pressed to retain freshness and cultivate texture and structure. The juice is settled cold and racked after 2 days, harvesting only the lightest and most delicate grape solids to further aid in textural and aromatic development. The juice is barrel fermented in 40% new, 30% 2nd fill and 30% 3rd fill French oak barriques"

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2012 Clairault "Estate" Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River (Black Label) ($29.99)

95 points Decanter: "2012 was a showstopper of a vintage for Margaret River and it shows in this wine. The grapes were hand-harvested from the oldest vines on the Clairault Vineyard planted in 1976 and fermented on skins for 10 days before pressing by winemaker Bruce Drakes. The wine was matured in both new and used French oak for 10 months for textured finesse and subtle, rather than overt, cedary aromas. The Clairault property comprises of several vineyards with one of the highest grades of biodiversity in the Wilyabrup area. Dark and cedary, with cola and berry fruit. Really lovely balance and purity, with complex graphite tones, an underlying sweetness, succulent blueberry fruit and white chocolate oak. Superb! *Outstanding*"

95 points James Halliday: "Fermented and macerated on skins for 10 days, matured in new and used French oak for 10 months. Classic Margaret River style made from the original Clairault vines planted in '76; it is cabernet to its bootstraps with cassis/blackcurrant fruit on a pedestal of firm tannins that are unique to cabernet; cedary oak adds a further dimension." (10/2016)

Staff ImageRyan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 03, 2018

In a stacked line up of top notch Margaret River Cabernet this wine from Clairault took out the top honors in Decanter's panel tasting. One sip of this beauty and you'll see why. Selected exclusively from the estate's oldest vines from the original plantings in 1976, this is a perfect rendition of why Margaret River has become synonymous with classic Cabernet the world over. Dark brooding fruits, plum and cassis mingle with subtle camphor and cigar box notes, graphite, sandalwood and mint. Medium-full bodied with super fine but present tannins and elongating acidity drive the wine across the palate. Stylistically dissecting powerful, modern Cabernet and classic, refined Bordeaux - this wine has it all. Drink now with an hours decant or keep in the cellar for anytime over the next 15 years. Exceptional vale.

Staff ImageBrian Fogarty | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 03, 2018

A pretty, well structured wine that showcases both the perfection of the 2012 vintage and the oldest vines on the Clairault Estate. The bouquet opens first as warm cherry and raspberry pie and then quickly builds in darker secondary aromas of blackberry and black cherry. Tertiary notes abound with herbaceous spearmint, fresh bay leaf, vanilla bean and white pepper. The complexity of the bouquet and continuous evolution were playful and brilliant in the glass. On the palate the wine is round and full bodied. Dark chocolate and cassis now enter the picture with vanilla playing a bigger role and the herbs certainly persist. There is a clear harmony from the winemakers skill to balance fruit richness and acidity, expose medium ripe tannins and leave you with a persistent finish. Side note: the wine is under a new modern style screw cap that is heftier than those Ive seen is the past; a more serious closure for a refined wine.

Staff ImageSteve Bearden | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 02, 2018

This is yet another example of the restrained, polished and classy Cabernets being produced in the Margartet River. There in an effortless flow between the ripe dark fruit profile, savory and spicy notes and the persistent and classy finish. This execution of balance and precision for under $30.00 is rare.

Staff ImageJeff Garneau | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 30, 2017

There is just so much good Cabernet coming out of Western Australia these days at such good prices that no Cabernet lover can afford to ignore it. The 2012 Clairault Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Black Label offers classic appeal with a hint of mint on the nose and ripe, sweet red and black fruits. Superb balance and fine tannins make this eminently drinkable and approachable Cab the perfect choice to accompany dinner tonight.

Staff ImageStefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 30, 2017

The older vine age of the grapes used in this wine are really showcased here with the richness and concentration of fruit in this Cab. It's not hard to see why this is a top wine for Clairault and the high scores are well deserved on this one. This is truly a "wow" wine with great backbone and length and the softness of deep fruit and slight French oak influence to complement it. The few years of age it has already seen make it delicious now and the price point makes it within the reach of every Cab lover.

Staff ImageKirk Walker | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: December 30, 2017

A very elegant and focused Cabernet, with the poise of a St. Julien and the cool ripeness that you would expect from Margaret River. The nose is all red fruits backed with cedar-y spicey oak. There is nothing over done with this wine, everything works together seamlessly. The fruit and spice continue on the palate back by ripe dusty tannins. This is a wine for every Cabernet lover, new world and old/.