The team of Stephan von Neipperg knocked it out of the park in 2018, producing a brilliant lineup of wines. The 2018 Clos De L'Oratoire checks in as 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc that was brought up in 45% new French oak. As with most of the new releases here, it has a crunchy, vibrant style in its blue fruits, scorched earth, violets, cedarwood, and dried flower-like aromas and flavors. Beautifully balanced, pure, elegant, and seamless, this incredibly classy Saint-Emilion is going to benefit from 4-5 years of bottle age (if not longer) and evolve for 30 years in cold cellars. It's certainly in the running for the finest vintage I've tasted.
95+ points, Jeb Dunnuck (Mar 2021)
Aromas of fresh blackberries, dried leaves, bitter chocolate, lemon zest and walnuts. Some wet earth, too. It’s medium-to full-bodied with firm, fine-grained tannins. Tight, focused layers. Rather juicy wine. Better from 2025.
94 points, James Suckling (Mar 2021)
The 2018 Clos de l'Oratoire sports a deep garnet-purple color and rock-star nose of plum preserves, chocolate-covered cherries and mulberries, plus hints of candied violets, licorice and Sichuan pepper with a waft of tapenade. The medium to full-bodied palate is laden with juicy black fruits plus loads of exotic spice and earthy accents, supported by very ripe, soft tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and fragrant.
93 points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Advocate (Mar 2021)
A mix of dried herb, floral and steeped cherry and damson plum notes is layered tightly together, while mouthwatering sanguine and iron hints run alongside. Sandalwood edge to the finish. A long, very precise, mineral-driven style. Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2022 through 2032. 4,000 cases made.
93 points, James Molesworth, Wine Spectator (Mar 2021)