Drink 2021 - 2031
Peter Ranscombe, Decanter.com (Sep 2021)
About this WINE
Château Climens is the leading property in Barsac, Bordeaux and produces one of the greatest sweet wines in Bordeaux.
It can trace its history back to the 16th century and was bought by Lucien Lurton in 1971. It has been owned and managed by Berenice Lurton since 1992. Climens is located in the south of the Barsac appellation, just outside the small village of La Pinesse - the vineyards (Sémillon 100%) lie on the highest point in Barsac (20m above sea level) on a gravel/sand topsoil and a limestone/clay subsoil. Yields at Climens are tightly restricted and the wine is barrel-fermented and then aged in small oak barriques (one third new) for 22 months.
If d`Yquem is the epitome of power and concentration, then Climens is the epitome of delicacy, finesse and complexity. The wines from the best vintages can last for up to 50 years. Climens is classified as a Sauternes 1er Cru Classé
Barsac is one of the communes of the Sauternes appellation (along with Bommes, Fargues, Preignac and Sauternes itself). With marginally flatter land and soils of red sand and light gravels, the commune adjoins the northern boundary of the commune of Sauternes, separated by the Ciron River, whose cold waters are so instrumental in producing the region's necessary autumn fogs.
There are just over 800 hectares under vine, producing nearly two million bottles in an average year. The châteaux can choose to sell their wine under either the Sauternes or the Barsac appellation, but stylistically the wines are arguably a little lighter in style than those of Sauternes.
The leading producers are Châteaux Climens and Coutet, with Châteaux Nairac, Doisy-Daëne and Doisy-Vedrines making good value, attractive wines.
Sauvignon Blanc & Sémillon
The blend used for White Graves and Sauternes and rarely encountered outside France. In the great dry whites of Graves, Sauvignon Blanc tends to predominate in the blend, although properties such as Smith Haut Lafite use 100% Sauvignon Blanc while others such as Laville Haut Brion have as much as 60% Sémillon in their final blends. Sauvignon Blanc wines can lose their freshness and fruit after a couple of years in bottle - if blended with Sémillon, then the latter bolsters the wine when the initial fruit from the Sauvignon fades. Ultimately Sauvignon Blanc gives the wine its aroma and raciness while Sémillon gives it backbone and longevity.
In Sauternes, Sémillon is dominant, with Sauvignon Blanc playing a supporting role - it is generally harvested about 10 days before Sémillon and the botrytis concentrates its sweetness and dampens Sauvignon Blanc`s naturally pungent aroma. It contributes acidity, zip and freshness to Sauternes and is an important component of the blend.