Spring and Summer. March – July 2013 /The en primeur, or futures tastings of the 2012 vintage bore excellent fruit: the exceptional quality of Château Climens’ production was very well received and acknowledged by both the press and wine merchants, with excellent feedback (see the press reviews). The en primeurs campaign in the current difficult economic context is particularly awkward for Sauternes due to the absence of production of the 2012 vintage from some of the top châteaux, which has, alas, damaged the reputation of the vintage. The market is demanding an important drop in price, and thanks to our huge efforts in cutting our prices by more than 40%, Climens can sell its en primeurs with serenity in contrast to the generally tumultuous atmosphere of the campaign. The outstanding value for money of the Climens 2012 is blatant and was underlined by many articles from blogs and newspapers. (See press review).
The older sibling, the 2011 vintage, was bottled during the first week of July and we are especially happy as the blending was a tough task despite the high level of quality of the different lots. The ‘treasure hunt’ proved to be particularly long, but we have eventually captured the quintessence of this exquisite vintage which seems to unite the qualities of its predecessors; the charm of 2009 and the stunning brilliance of the 2010.
Apart from the summery weather conditions in mid April of 28 – 30°C which favoured the budding (budbreak), the months of March to June were marked by the most dreadful weather: rain and cold were on the menu this spring which was scarily more like a miserable November! Vine growth was really slow, if practically nonexistent. On the other hand, these conditions did have some benefits - they circumvent the development of mildew on young leaves and we were able to carry out our spraying and treatments more or less on schedule.
Whilst the first week in June clad its summer robes, it was to be short-lived. The second week was dreadful just as the conjunction between perigee and the new
moon predicted. Storms and torrential rains, with up to 53mm of rain at Climens in one day alone, battered Vinexpo, but of course the vines too, which hardly needed it, particularly as the flowers were about to bloom! The temperature was so low for the season that many a fireplace was lit again as late as June 20th. Luckily we escaped hail damage, but coulure (flower abortion) and bad fruit set (millerandage) did occur on certain blocks.
Suddenly summer arrived with no warning: the sun was burning down with temperatures of 28 – 30° C. Flowering was then in competition with the vegetative growth which was making up for lost time! The result was that growth turned out to be very irregular, complicating our organisation of tasks in the vineyard, like lifting, attaching, looping (we no longer trim the tops of the vines and therefore have to tie the branches over the top wire to stop them from falling). In spite of the lateness of the vines’ development, we started leaf removal at the beginning of July in order to facilitate better airflow to the bunches which limits the hotspots of humidity which encourage mildew. This also provides better access to the bunches during spraying. It appears in fact that the hot dry weather conditions of July (up to 35° C) were conducive to avoiding this dangerous disease. However, we have to keep a close eye on grape moths but the July sunshine is really a blessing for the vines.
This noble sweet white wine, graceful and weightless, is a subtle wine that is like no other. If it is the very expression of the quintessence of this appellation with balance and freshness, it also has the strength and magnificence among the greatest Sauternes. Climens is characterized by brilliance or depth, borne only of its unique terroir.
This special grace, the result of tightness and minerality is also blessed with an extraordinary aromatic palette, mingling perfumes of flowers, fruits, spices, and often even a hint of eucalyptus or fresh mint. In their youth the wines, which have a pale colour that is reminiscent of the aromas, are dominated by citrus fruit (grapefruit, lemon, citron), fresh fruit and white flowers. Sweet spices and other deeper, confected fruit flavours will develop with the passing of time. Whatever the vintage, the wines continue to age slowly, retaining their harmonious blend of sweetness and freshness for decades, which signs their inimitable charm.
Climens is most famous for the elegance of its wine, but also for its sustained excellence: even in less than great vintages, the wines produced are always magical.
These wines are like us – living and ever changing. There is no ‘ideal age’; everything depends on each person’s own taste and the individual evolution of each wine. Even the so-called ‘lesser’ vintages possess a surprisingly long potential lifespan. As for the greatest, eternity is theirs!
2013: Miraculously saved! See the harvest newsletter.
2012: A very good Climens, great finesse, very successful wine for this difficult vintage!
2011: A vintage full of energy and refined character – very Climens
2010: The crystalline elegance of truly great Climens: bright, deep and fresh
2009: Reached the summits of flavour and voluptuousness, charm in its pure state!
2008: Very characteristic of Climens, beautifully mineral with a hint of saline notes and elegant freshness
2007: Grandiose! Exceptional concentration, perfect balance, intensely taught, this vintage reaches the highest peaks of excellence.
2006: Pretty wine, a little timid still, but very promising
2005: A reference wine whose extreme richness is transcended by impressive construction and aromatic palette.
2004: One of our sources of pride following a perilous harvest; pure, expressive and elegant!
2003: A particularly exotic, charming wine fairly atypical but well balanced for the vintage and very appealing!
2002: Extremely elegant and refined, a great bottle of wine that is unjustly overshadowed by the 2001 and 2003...
2001: The pinnacle... (but, lips sealed, the butterfly is only just beginning to emerge from its cocoon!)
2000: A beautiful rare gem (less than 4 hl/ha – this translates as one glass per vine!)
1999: The younger brother of 1997, beautiful elegance!
1998: Full of appeal, mingling sweetness and freshness
1997: An outstanding Climens!
1996: Steely, fresh, mineral, this is an extremely elegant vintage, but with its moods…
1995: Showing already beautifully, even more in 10 years.
1994: Lovely wine, all freshness on the palate
1993: No Climens
1992: No Climens
1991: A very successful vintage at Climens, but in almost indecent quantities (6hl/ha): a rare find…
1990: Almost more Sauternes-like than Barsac, but has bewitching charm
1989: A moment of grace, balance and length
1988: Purity, taught, extreme refinement!
1987: No Climens
1986: A great vintage at the height of its maturity
1985: Very beautiful presence for a vintage with little botrytis
1984: No Climens
1983: Truly great!
1982: Fresh, bright and refined
1981: Beautiful, balanced vintage
1980: Great finesse
1979: Fine structure with candied citrus and spicy aromas. Very Charming wine.
1978: Less botrytised vintage for this good quality wine.
1977: Charming and fresh; really beautiful bottle of wine for the vintage!
1976: One of the most beautiful vintages of the decade; generous
1975: A truly great wine full of energy and elegance
1974: A success despite the difficult vintage; light and fresh, it possesses a lot of appeal
1973: Another delicate vintage in every sense of the word – beautifully made!
1972: A difficult year but a lovely bottle of wine (and an excellent surprise for those who thought it was a bad vintage)
1971: Lucien Lurton’s first vintage… and one of the greatest ever at Climens. This is a truly mythical wine!
1970: We cannot lie to you, but the last vintage by the Gounouilhou family was perhaps a little slapdash, but we are very difficult!
1969: Charming and sprightly, with aromas of dried fruit and spices
1968: No Climens
1967: A beautiful Climens, but perhaps not quite worthy of the vintage’s reputation.
1966: Beautiful, successful wine
1965: No Climens
1964: A sweet, mild wine with aromas of chocolate and biscuits and an appealing freshness