Posts Tagged ‘Chateau Climens’

2017 Sauternes Vintage Update

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

The terrible frosts of last April did not spare Sauternes and especially Barsac. At 40-50cm, the foliage was too far out and much of it froze right down to the stems, leaving little possibility for a counter-bud. Barsac and the lower areas of Sauternes were the worst hit: Xavier lost 85% at Myrat; Climens made just 35 barrels, none of which will be Cyprès let alone Grand Vin; Arche made just 300 hectolitres from their 50 hectares; La Tour Blanche have a meagre 50 barrels (6 ho/ha); Coutet’s 8 ho/ha came only from the patch at the heart of the vineyard, the rest totally wiped out. Yet, as always with frosts, some fared better: Rayne Vigneau and Sigalas Rabaud have almost normal yields.

Tasting with Laurier Giradot at Coutet

Then May and June turned incredibly hot and dry, bringing on a perfect early flowering for the few remaining bunches, followed by a good summer (August hotter than July). By mid-August the grapes that had survived April were golden and getting very ripe very early. Then the weather started to change on 27th, bringing half of August’s 30mm rainfall in the last few days, followed by a succession of windless, cloudy, drizzly days over the first half of September which naturally were good for the onset of the much awaited rot. However it wasn’t just noble rot: there was a lot of “pourriture aigre” mixed in with it which, as in 1997, had to be removed quickly, especially when the temperatures went right up at the end of the month. But the good stuff was great as a basis and accounted for a small first pick over these final days of September.

October went on to be amazingly dry and warm, interspersed with vital periods of very cool nights which were to “seal” the next generations of noble rot into ever-increasing concentration. In fact, most of the worries now were about how to actually reduce the sugars, as there were no longer any golden grapes left with which to temper them. So the final lots ended up incredibly rich.

Very generally, the cuvées will be composed of 1/4 – 1/3 very fresh-styled September pick and 3/4 – 2/3 of the much more concentrated October picks. In this sense the wines are similar to that other “beginning and end vintage” 1998, but in a racey and more fruit-driven way, with more of the balance of a 2010 and more of the density of a 2003. There’s not going to be much of it, but what there is will be excellent, especially for those who don’t like their Sauternes very sweet and not too heavy.

Finally, spare a thought for those who had too few grapes left, either from the April frosts or the September aigre to take advantage of these fabulous October conditions: Climens from the frost and Daniel Alibrand at Domaine de l’Alliance deciding in September not to risk more aigre and harvesting his whole vineyard as excellent dry wine at 40 ho/ha rather than attempting to make just a few ho/ha of Sauternes.

Tasting with Frédéric Nivelle in a nearly empty cellar at Climens

More later when the wines have all finished fermenting and settled down.


Vote for Climens 2014!

Thursday, May 7th, 2015

Chateau Climens Entrance WebChâteau Climens 2014 has released and you can elect to buy some now!

If your voting preference is for handy half cases then venture into our online purchasing booth for either BOTTLES or HALVES by clicking onto one of the links.

On the other hand if you are undecided and prefer a coalition of Sauternes and Barsac wines then the online ballot paper includes INDIVIDUAL BOTTLES or INDIVIDUAL HALVES which could be part of a mixed case.

As Climens is now biodynamic alongside Château Guiraud (also released this week) you can be sure that your selection will be Green!

A list of all participating Sauternes and Barsac wines can be found HERE. Enjoy! Bill Blatch

2011 Sauternes Revisited

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Last year many of you will have taken delivery of some 2011 Sauternes so we thought it would be a good idea to see how they are drinking now – superbly as it happens! I also report below on the vintage generally (it’s easy to forget the excellent 2011 Sauternes vintage after the fantastic 2009s and 2010s) and how a panel of UK wine experts found the wines when they were tasted last week at the annual Southwold tasting.

To help you find a particular wine that you may have bought we’ve filmed everything in alphabetical order this time – enjoy the videos!  Bill Blatch

2011 Summary

2011 Sauternes A to C

2011 Sauternes D to G

2011 Sauternes L to N

2011 Sauternes R to Y

Climens, Doisy Daene, Sigalas Rabaud and More 2013 Sauternes Released En Primeur

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

What a wonderful price for 2013 Château Climens – Bravo Bérénice!

Great restraint too from Denis at Doisy Daene, Laure at Sigalas Rabaud and Michel at Bastor-Lamontagne – all now for sale either by the six pack (75cl bottles), the half bottle equivalent (12 x 37.5cl half bottles) or by individual bottles or half bottles as part of a mixed case that you can put together yourselves – why not have one of each?  Just click on the link below to find all the wines now:

2013 Sauternes En Primeur

To give you an idea of just how good a price the 2013 Château Climens is here are the relative cheapest prices for the most recent good vintages from WineSearcher:

2013 Château Climens – £225 per six bottle pack – click to buy from Bordeaux Gold now
2011 Château Climens – £375
2010 Château Climens – £337
2009 Château Climens – £424.50
2007 Château Climens – £387.50
2005 Château Climens – £275
2003 Château Climens – £295
2001 Château Climens – £1,000

Have a great Easter and think of 2013 Sauternes while you are eating your chocolate egg!  Bill Blatch

2013 Sauternes Overview Including Yquem, Rieussec and Climens

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Rot is a good word in Sauternes – Noble Rot that is!  The same fungus that produced wretched Grey Rot across the red wine vineyards of Bordeaux produced fine, fresh botrytis on the grapes of Sauternes and Barsac.  The wines are in the fresh botrytis style of the 2011s, 2007s and 2001s rather than the riper 2010s, 2009s and 2003s but it is a very good year.

The overview video below sums up the growing season and the style of wines shortly to be offered as 2013 En Primeur Sauternes.  Below that are a few clips taken at Yquem, Rieussec, Climens and Raymond-Lafon that add a little more flavour.  Detailed tasting videos for most of the wines will follow when I’ve learned how to use the new file transfer software that Steve has downloaded onto my laptop!  Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

Best 2012 Sauternes Selection

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

The best 2012 Sauternes come, as it happens, from Barsac!  To make things easy for you in this difficult vintage (remember the weather was not kind to chateaux with well draining soil like Yquem) we’ve selected the very best wines and put them into a mixed case.

You can either have a case of Barsac Bottles (12 x 75cl) or, if you just want to dip your toe into the 2012 vintage, then there is no better way to do it than to buy a half case of Barsac Half Bottles (12 x 37.5cl) – just click on the links!  To see all the 2012 Sauternes wines we are offering – Click Here!

Here are my thoughts on just why the three wines that make up our case (Climens, Doisy-Védrines and de Myrat) were such a great success in 2012.  Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

First 2012 Sauternes En Primeur Prices – Climens, Doisy-Vedrines and La Tour Blanche

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

The first 2012 Sauternes prices are out here – 2012 Sauternes En Primeur

We are not offering every wine in this difficult vintage – only the best and the best value.  No wine fits this category better than Ch Climens who have produced perhaps the wine of the vintage and substantially reduced their price – the cheapest Climens on the market?  Here’s my tasting video:

And then there is the remarkable Ch Doisy-Vedrines which defied the odds in 2012 to produce an excellent wine at almost full production.  Here are 2 videos – my tasting video and an interview with cellarmaster, Frédéric Deyres, who tells me exactly how they brought the vintage home using cryoextraction at precisely the right moment:

And finally there is the remarkable Ch La Tour Blanche which produced just 24 barrels of grand vin!  You’ll have to move fast if you want any of this strictly selected and well priced wine.  Again here are a couple of videos to help you make your choice:

All 2012 wines will be offered in half cases (6 bottles or 12 half bottles).  Watch out too for some special mixed cases I have personally selected.  You can explore all the wines offered by clicking – HERE

Enjoy!  Bill Blatch

2012 Sauternes Harvest – The Tension Mounts

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

The 2012 Sauternes harvest now hangs in the balance with most grapes still on the vine.  In the three videos below I first sum up the situation, then pop into Chateau Climens to confirm my thinking with Bérénice Lurton and finally revisit the same row of grapes that I filmed on the 10th October.

Today only a few estates were picking anything at all – I watched the pickers at Suduiraut, Sigalas and Doisy but I’m not sure they were picking for 1er cru.  Most have decided to wait it out until all the bunches dry out and concentrate.  Today should have been a strong picking day but the fog for once let Sauternes down by sticking around until midday (Early autumn fog is traditionally good to encourage botrytis formation, but now we are too late for that).  The afternoon was dry and sunny but not quite enough to dry things out and most estates didn’t call their pickers in.

So the penultimate window of opportunity this mid-week is passing us by and we now rely totally on the ultimate one, next week, from Sunday on, when drying northerly air-flows are due to bring freezing temperatures to Sauternes.  If we get a few drops (as forecast) between then and now, we could still be in for an ultra-late good vintage well into November; if it rains more than that, I hate to think.

Meanwhile many especially minor estates are harvesting for dry botrytis wine or semi-sweet generic Sauternes or even artificially concentrated sweet wine. the latter will go to the French supermarkets for foie gras at Christmas.  But my guess for the dry wines is that they will create a whole new style for fabulously rich botrytis-type dry wines à la Ygrec, all full and rich and smelling of Sauternes yet not sweet, and as complex as you could wish because of the botrytis.  Did you see Ch Saint Marc of Barsac get a trophy award for its dry wine at the International Wine Challenge?  I have always thought that this was the way to go for a part of each château’s production: All the fullness and complexity of Côtes de Jura without the oxydation. These dry botrytis wines are unique: all the smells and flavours of Sauternes yet totally dry.  Great with seafood, veal, cheese, anything savoury.

I will be reporting more on this moving forward, but meantime we hope for some great sweet wine harvesting next week. Fingers crossed, but it’s getting late!  Bill Blatch

2009 Sauternes by the Riverside

Saturday, October 13th, 2012

Sometimes even I think opening a bottle of Sauternes can be a bit daunting.  It’s somehow easier to open a bottle of red for lunch or to take some dry white along on a picnic.  It really shouldn’t be like that though as this clip shows – you can drink Sauternes anywhere and at any time.

On Friday Steve and I were enjoying a day’s fishing, trying our best to relieve a chalk stream of some unwanted pike.  An unsuccessful morning meant lunch and a glass of wine or two was much needed.  I had a selection of red and white Bordeaux in my car boot but, as many of you will have recently taken delivery of your 2009 Sauternes it seemed a good idea to try some Chateau Climens and Chateau Guiraud alongside our sandwiches just let you know how they are tasting.

It’s something that I should do more often and I’d encourage anyone to do the same – Sauternes can help to make the most of the most mundane meal or occasion and always puts a smile on my face.

We never did catch any pike but the river keeper very kindly provided us with some crayfish for our efforts which we had for supper – more about that later.  Steve thinks that the clip below might explain why the fish weren’t biting!  Bill Blatch

2011 Sauternes – Perfect for Early Drinking?

Friday, July 20th, 2012

The books will be closing soon on 2011 Sauternes En Primeur so I thought I’d taste the wines just one more time before they begin their lengthy sojourn in barrel.  Often this is a better time to taste than April as the final ‘assemblage’ has more often than not been done and you get a slightly better idea of what a wine will actually be like in bottle.

The good news is that the wines are just as fantastically fresh as in the Spring.  As a result this is probably one of the best vintages ever for drinking young – I’ve no idea how they will age but why wait as they are incredibly enjoyable even now?

Below are several videos from my tastings which are well worth a look when you have a minute or two.  First a summary of how the wines are tasting generally:

The next video covers my thoughts on the First Growths from Clos Haut-Peyraguey to Lafaurie-Peyraguey:

And next covers the rest from Rabaud Promis to La Tour Blanche (can you spot the deliberate mistake?):

Did you spot it?  This video covers our best selling 2011 Sauternes (Raymond-Lafon)  and should correct it!

And here is the video covering the 2011 Barsac from Climens that I promised:

And finally but by no means least I retreated to my cellar to record a conversation I had with Charles Chevallier from Rieussec:

It is very close to ‘last orders’ now so if you would like any of these wines click on this link – 2011 Sauternes.  Enjoy!  Bill Blatch