Clos Cantenac is a small but seductive 15 acre property with carefully planted vines on an exceptional terroir of deep gravel, sand and clay over limestone situated close to the prehistoric "Megalith de Pierrefitte." This enchanting Saint-Emilion vineyard was purchased in early 2007 by Martin Krajewski, along with his dear friend and wine enthusiast Marcus Le Grice from New Zealand. The pair immediately made a multitude of vineyard improvements and renovated the ancient 200 year old winery in preparation for the first harvest later that same year. Clos Cantenac proudly respects St. Emilion's history and culture to traditionally craft these fine Grand Cru wines. When the property was purchased it was just an old shed and a forgotten brand; the wine had been last bottled in 1982. While Clos Cantenac had been in the same family for more than 100 years, the property had been split up by inheritance over many generations. In 2008, the new owners built a new, modern cellar. 2013 saw the completion of a brand new barrel hall, as well as a laboratory, office and tasting room. Today, the wines are made in a vibrantly textured and approachable style.
"One of my top five most improved estates on the Right Bank in 2011."
James Lawther, Decanter (May 2012)
The winery’s philosophy is that great wine is made in the vineyard, and understands that the team working in the vines plays just as critical a role as that of the winemaker. Clos Cantenac’s vineyard team tends to the vines on a block-by-block basis, according to age, condition and seasonal requirements of the estate’s gently sloping, south-facing vineyards. They have re-introduced grass seeding within the rows and manage the estate using only sustainable products and techniques. Careful canopy management, de-budding, crop thinning and de-leafing protect and enhance fruit quality. Rather than working to a set timetable, the vineyard team observes and reacts to the ever-changing climate, the development of the vines and the maturity of the fruit, often visiting individual blocks several times before harvesting.
Through good practice and common sense, Clos Cantenac is careful to respect the history and tradition of the region whilst recognizing the changing growing conditions of each new vintage, and adapting its work to produce wines that also reflect the skill and passion of its team. When harvested, our grapes are delivered in whole bunches from small baskets and carefully assessed on a first sorting table before de-stemming. The fruit is then checked again on a second table, before being passed gently into steel tanks and barrels. The fruit immediately undergo a cold maceration for five to seven days to develop fruit aromas prior to fermentation. After fermentation is complete, the wines undergo a ten day maceration period to refine the tannins, followed by malolactic fermentation before transferring to French oak barrels for 18 months of aging before bottling. In 2014, the winery will complete the rebuilding of a stone wall around the cellar, barrel hall and vineyards that sit immediately by the cellar, creating a proper ‘clos’ once again.