Friday, September 15, 2017

“Clavis Orea” a brand new Saint-Emilion Grand Cru showing a promising debut…

“Clavis Oréa” 

a brand new Saint-Emilion Grand Cru showing a promising debut…

Clavis Orea Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Label @LeDomduVin

Clavis Orea is the brand new project of two men passionate about wine:

Lahcene Boutouba
(Picture courtesy of his Facebook profile 😉)

Lahcene Boutouba
A knowledgeable Sommelier who has been working very closely with restaurants, wineries, producers and even negociants for the past 28 years, including working for Michel Rolland and more recently working for/with Jean-Luc Thunevin

Franck Jugelmann (Picture courtesy of Copains d'Avant) 

Franck Jugelmann
A talented Maitre de Chai / Consultant (winemaker) that has sharpened his skills and craftsmanship over the years since 1992 by working for illustrious Chateaux such as Landiras, Haut-Brion, Mission Haut-Brion, Lagarosse, Candale, Roallan, Rocheron, Belair, L'Enclos et Fonplegade

Except his name, I do not know Franck, but his background and experiences lead me to think that he is a very competent and talented winemaker. 

As for Lahcene Boutouba, he is an old friend from my London years, back in the mid-90s, when we both were Sommelier in the English Capital restaurant scene.

Fairly recently, Lahcene contacted me and briefly talked to me about his new wine project “Clavis Orea” (“Clef d’Or” in French or “Golden Key” in English) with Franck Jugelmann.

Both inclined to quality and aiming to succeed, they have carefully selected the grapes from specific vineyards around the Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Appellation in order to craft their wine.  

NB: Read more details on the "Clavis Orea" description sheet (PDF Doc) Lahcene sent me by clicking here

I could sense that Lahcene was very excited and almost impatient for the world to discover his wine. 

He told me that he will send me 2 samples of their first Vintage (2015) for me to taste them with the team of the wine division of the company I work for and also the Sommeliers of the various restaurants the company owns, more especially “Le Pan Apicius” and “Dynasty Garden”.

The samples arrived about 2 weeks ago, yet, on the suggestion of Lahcene, I waited at least a week for them to settle down after their DHL trip from France to Hong Kong. 

In fact, I have waited two weeks and just opened them today, a few hours ago, after previously taking them out of the wine fridge where I have placed them to rest in ideal temperature and humidity conditions to recover from traveling.

Clavis Orea Cork in the Bottle

After taking a few pictures of the bottles, I uncorked the bottles and was really pleasantly surprised by the refined and agreeable perfume of this wine that immediately impregnated the surrounding air. 

Clavis Orea Cork

I pour myself a glass. Looked at the dense and opaque color. Swirled the glass a little. Inclined it to look at the color and density of the legs. Put it back to my nose. Inhaled a few times, analyzing the various components of the aromas. Then I tasted it…. Once, twice, three times… analyzing each detail from beginning to the end, long lasting ending I must admit….

Clavis Orea Opened bottle with Glass

Then I left the glass alone for at least half an hour as well as the bottle uncorked for the wine to breathe before going back to it for a second round.

I took my time for the second round to immerse myself into it as I like to do it usually when tasting wine…   

Here is what I can say about this wine:

Clavis Orea within the glass ©LeDomduVin

2015 Clavis Oréa Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Bordeaux France

Approximate retail price 23-25 Euros (750ml) available in France and UK (so far)

Fresh, perfumed fruity nose right after opening, offering very enticing fruity aromas of dark and dark red berries mingling with floral and slightly spicy, peppery notes with a dash of oak (coffee/mocha/tobacco) and pain d’épices nuances. 

It boasts a dark and concentrated color in the glass, usually a sign of a substantial wine. 

The palate is clean, focused and racy, opening up with dark fruits enhanced by a refreshing acidity, then build up into more dry dark berries, oak, earth, spices in the mid-palate balanced by the acidity and structured all along by youthful tannins lasting towards the long (slightly dry) finish. Overall, a very well made and promising wine, which combines balance, structure, and texture from beginning to the end with a pleasing, juicy and refreshing attitude. Although approachable now, this wine will definitely benefit from 3-5 years in the bottle.      

The tannins are fairly well integrated already and not aggressive for such a young wine. Yet, they will need a few more years to get more rounded and integrated, as they are still quite present on the tongue and the gum in the finish, bringing a slight touch of bitterness, which should mellow down with more time in the bottle.  After all this a 2015 vintage sample.

Lahcene and Franck, BRAVO! For this very promising wine at a very reasonable price. A beautiful new project to keep an eye on.

Franck Jugelmann & Lahcene Boutouba


Dominique Noel a.k.a. LeDomduVin

A recommended article to discover a bit more this "Clavis Orea" project

And a tasting video (in French)

Clavis Orea Back label


  1. Quite a classy review this is. The pictures are very nice and are surrounded by ample content for the reader to enjoy. Well done and keep it up.

    1. Thank you dissertation assistance. Although I barely spend any time writing on my blog, I will try to keep it up and write more like that.

      LeDomduVin a.k.a Dominique Noel

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  6. Thank you for this review. Opened one back in 2017 and decided to cellar the rest. Opening one this evening to see how things are coming along. Let's find out!

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