Producer Article

Château Climens

Last edited on 4/12/2022 by LindsayM
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Ch. Climens is one of Sauternes-Barsac’s leading producers of sweet wine. Classified as a Premier Cru or First Growth in 1855 it sits alongside just 10 other Premier Cru estates in Sauternes, only bettered by Ch. d’Yquem, which was granted its own elite classification of Premier Cru Supérieur.

Climens is the only First Growth in Bordeaux to be certified biodynamic (in 2014) and has some of the lowest yields in Sauternes.

The estate is known for its consistency, even in more difficult vintages. Being based in Barsac, it benefits from the limestone bedrock that is thought to contribute to the wine’s overriding elegance, brilliance and depth.

The estate’s origins date back to 1547, but it was when Bordeaux wine merchant Jean Binaud purchased the estate in 1802 that the property’s promise was realised. He recognised the potential of the site and it is his work in the vineyard that is thought to have contributed to the château being awarded First Growth status in 1855.

In 1971 the estate was bought by Bordeaux legend Lucien Lurton (owner of Ch. Brane Cantenac among others). In 1992, his daughter Bérénice Lurton took over the estate aged just 22. It has been her commitment to the estate and sustainable viticulture that has seen Climens become one of the very top-performing estates in Bordeaux.

The wines are all 100% Semillon, with around 3,000 cases of the Grand Vin produced in a good vintage. They also produce a second wine called Cypres de Climens and a dry wine called Asphodèle.

The vineyards is a single block of vines. The soil is a red clay sand (rich in iron) sitting on a bedrock of limestone. The limestone provides natural drainage and a heightened florality and salinity to the wine. The iron brings richness, while the sand brings elegance and brightness.

The château is not afraid to bring production levels right down and even declassify entire vintages if the quality of the grapes is not up to their (very high) standards. No Grand Vin was made in 2020, 2019, 2017, 1993, 1992, 1987 or 1984. Yields can be as low as 4hl/ha.

Grapes are picked typically over a long period (six weeks to two months), selecting only botrytised bunches at optimum ripeness. The wine is fermented over two to three weeks and fermentation halted once a sufficient level of alcohol is reached. The wine is then chilled and racked off its lees. The wine is aged in around 50% new French oak barrique, depending on the vintage.