Château Climens, 2015 Update

There was a time when the approach to the primeurs taken by Bérénice Lurton at Château Climens confused me. I mean, why taste from barrel, why not put together a representative sample like all the other châteaux in Barsac, Sauternes and indeed all Bordeaux? This is despite the fact that I am well aware, having undertaken many barrel tastings in the Loire Valley and one or two in Bordeaux, how much the ‘same’ wine can differ when tasted from different barrels. Even a wine that has been taken out of barrel, blended in vat, and subsequently put back into the barrels can taste dramatically different when drawn from two different barrels just a week or two later. I have seen this when tasting both with Vincent Carême in Vouvray, and with François Mitjavile in St Emilion.

Château Climens

Now, however, I thoroughly enjoy my visits to Château Climens. The barrel tasting, while it makes for a very long tasting note, does still give an idea as to the quality of the finished wine (perhaps, it could be argued, a more honest one than the blended and prepared sample) but it also gives an unchallenged insight into the story of the harvest, which can be traced day-by-day from one barrel to the next. As soon as I land in Bordeaux for the primeurs I start sniffing out the story of the Sauternes vintage, and snippets come my way, from négociants and proprietors. But it is the tasting at Château Climens (pictured above) that really crystallises these thoughts in my mind. My Sauternes vintage summary often hangs on what my own palate discovered at this tasting.

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