Up on the Saint-Émilion plateau, on the road where the Saint-Martin church sits, we pass Clos Fourtet and Beauséjour-Bécot on our right then Château Canon on our left, before arriving at Clos Saint-Martin. Sophie Fourcade, the owner of Saint-Émilion's smallest Classed Growth - just one hectare - offers a warm welcome. She tells us about her "ever more artisanal" style of working and her "policy of keeping things close to home" that aligns so well with the tranquillity of this village, designated a World Heritage site, that she has known for so long.
Sophie tends her vines like a garden, focusing on the detail: a bespoke style of viticulture. Working this way, she has identified six plots that she harvests and vinifies separately.
Once again, this year, some vinification took place in earthenware amphorae; this wine brings balance to the rest, which is vinified and aged in wooden barrels, and gives the final blend its powerful fruit character.
In response to recurring hot summers, the estate has begun to plant more Cabernet Franc, for the freshness it brings to the blends, instead of Merlot, which nonetheless remains the primary variety.
Fourcade tells us that this is "a marvellous vintage, with sunshine, balance and seductively velvety tannins".