A few weeks back I visited the historic Chateau Climens with winemaker/owner, Berenice Lurton, as my gracious guide. Walking the vineyards with her I saw how the small limestone deposits can impart a stony, mineral edge to these brilliant wines. This was prior to bud break at Climens and I happily soaked up every tidbit of information that Berenice provided. Her wines are a true inspiration. We walked into the cellar and I was even shown an area of the chateau used to store an extremely wide range of dried herbs.
Sauternes has been hit hard the past two years as she could not declare a vintage in 2018 due to poor conditions for botrytis. Hail as well was a really big problem in 2018 and then 2017 was a sheer disaster for Climens as they could not produce enough of a wine to declare a vintage. Despite these issues, Berenice was quite optimistic, noting the many great vintages that Sauternes has encountered and her uncanny ability to produce beautiful wines in challenging vintages like 2006.
I was led into the chateau to have lunch with Berenice and we started with some hors d'oeuvre. We noticed the plate of fossilized seashells that have been sprinkled throughout the vineyard. It is no wonder there is a bright salinity in these beautiful wines.
We were served the 2015 Chateau Climens which was mind-blowing in its youth and nowhere near ready but showing an unctuous edge with its flamboyant tropical fruit flavor profile. 2015 Climens will be exceedingly long lived. I have not tried the 2014 Chateau Climens in several years, but this was showing as marvelously as the 2015, just a nod towards elegance and refinement with its silky smooth mouthfeel and stronger salinity. I think the 2014 and 2015 will provide a wonderful vintage comparison for decades.
My mouth waters as I write about the 2005 Chateau Climens (WWB, 100) which is truly perfection in a bottle. The combination of weight, elegance, texture and aromatic and flavor range is extraordinary. I slowly savored the 2005 Climens as I felt so grateful and energized to be in the company of one of the great winemakers and wines of the world.