Classed as a first growth in the 1855 Bordeaux classification, Château Climens, the so-called “Lord of Barsac” is the top producer in the Barsac appellation, and its wine is undoubtedly one of the finest dessert wines in the world. Here we delve into the history, terroir, viticulture and winemaking behind this iconic signature.
The history of the prestigious growth Château Climens is characterised by great continuity. In fact, only five families have owned the estate during its five centuries of history. Guirault Roborel, the king’s Attorney General in Barsac inherited it from his father in 1547. in 1855, Monsieur Henri Gounouilhou bought the property, in the year Château Climens was classified a Premier Cru.
In 1971, Lucien Lurton – who already owned several of the finest estates in the Médoc – bought the property. He brought a touch of modernity to the domain, all the while respecting its traditions and savoir-faire. It has been run by Bérénice Lurton, his daughter, since 1992.
This great continuity has enabled Climens’ successive owners to get the best out of this exceptional terroir. When Climens is translated from the local dialect, the definition means, infertile, poor land. The extremely chalky, limestone-dominated soils on the Barsac plateau produce wines which are often less opulent than those from Sauternes, but which generally boast a fresher palate in terms of balance and aromas.
It is in fact this limestone terroir, well-drained by the natural slopes of the vineyard, is what allows the chateau to cultivate exclusively Sémillon grapes – whereas most properties in the region add a small proportion of Sauvignon blanc – yet retain freshness and minerality in the final wine.
The 35-year-old vines of Sémillon lie on the hills of the Barsac appellation. They have been cultivated following biodynamic principles since 2010 (without certification), and the domain obtained organic certification in 2013.
Chateau Climens has some of the lowest yields in Sauternes and Barsac – an average of 7hl/ha, even as low as 4hl/ha in difficult years – which allows the grapes to reach unique concentration and exceptional quality. For the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac, pickers make multiple passes through the vineyard to select the grapes that have been concentrated by botrytis.
To produce these sweet wines, the grapes ferment in 27°C in French oak barrels for 2-3 weeks. When the wine reaches the desired level of alcohol, the temperature is reduced to 3°C, before being matured for two years and then bottled. The wine is aged on average in 35% to 45% new, French oak barrels for close to 20 to 24 months. Chateau Climens is one of the few Bordeaux wine producers to make a non-blended wine.
Château Climens stands out through its strength and creaminess, developing intense aromas of citrus fruits and exotic fruits. A fantastic fortified wine, it has an impressive capacity to age for several dozen years in good vintages. It boasts the power and full-bodied aspects of a Sauternes as well as the finesse and liveliness of a Barsac. If you’re feeling tempted, why not browse our selection of Château Climens wines for sale on iDealwine, you won’t regret it 😊
Château Climens wines currently for sale
Château Climens : Château Climens stands out through its strength and creaminess, developing intense aromas of citrus fruits and exotic fruits. A fantastic fortified wine, it has an impressive capacity to age for several dozen years in good vintages. It boasts the power and full-bodied aspects of a Sauternes as well as the finesse and liveliness of a Barsac.
What the guides have to say about Château Climens
La Revue du vin de France (three stars):
Château Climens has been owned by the Lurton family since 1971, and is now run by the brilliant Bérénice Lurton. Few French dessert wines have such a pure and elegant profile as this. Founded in the 16th century by the Roborel family, which soon become Roborel de Climens, this grouwth soon built itself a solid reputation. The Chateau was bought by Bordelais Jean Binaud in 1802, and was classed as a Premier cru in the 1855 classification of Sauternes and Barsac. Thirty years later, it was bought by the Gounouilhou family, who continued working hard to lift this already highly-regarded wine to legendary status.
Bettane+Desseauve (five stars):
It’s unanimous: Climens is the finest of Barsac wines. Its limestone soils give an element of acidity which creates a wonderful balance with the richness of the biodynamically-cultivated Sémillon. There is something mysterious about the extraordinary – transcendental even – finesse of its aromas. These wines require patience however!