Monday, January 27, 2014

Visiting and Tasting at Château Climens, with Owner Bérénice Lurton, Bordeaux, France

Picture: The Group with Bérénice Lurton at Château Climens

The 2 leading biodynamic producers in Bordeaux are Château Pontet Canet and Château Climens. We visited both of them during the 2013 Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy PR and WineTours, organized and led by Annette Schiller. This posting is about our visit at Château Climens, where Bérénice Lurton joined us for the tasting after the tour.

Bordeaux Wine Tour 2013 by ombiasy

Château Climens

The estate was founded in 1547 by Guirault Roborel. In 1855, in the year Château Climens was classified a Premier Cru, Henri Gounouilhou, owner of an influential Bordeaux daily newspaper, bought the property. He used his influence in the media to boost the public’s recognition of Château Climens. Additionallly, Henri Gounouilhou improved the quality of the Climens wines to such a degree that Château Climens for some years challenged Château d'Yquem as the top estate in Sauternes. The vintages 1929, 1947 and 1949 were described by Alexis Lichine to surpass Château d'Yquem as "lighter, with less vinosity and body, yet miraculously subtle."

Pictures: Arriving at Château Climens

In 1971, Lucien Lurton bought the estate, along with Château Doisy-Dubroca. It has been run by his daughter, Bérénice Lurton, since 1992. The Lurton family has done a wonderful job, continuing to improve on the already excellent quality reached under Gouonouilhou’s ownership. One specific step taken by the Lurton family was to remove all Muscadelle vines. Thus, today the 30 hectare estate is composed of 100% Semillon, unlike most Sauternes estates that incorporate a small portion of Sauvignon Blanc. There is one only vineyard and it is unchanged since growing of grapes started in the 16th century.

Château Climens also produces a second wine named Cypres de Climens. Château Climens is located in the south of the Barsac appellation, just outside the small village of La Pinesse.

Pictures: In the Vineyard of Château Climens


The poor limestone soil and damp morning weather is exactly how the estate got its name. When Climens is translated from the local dialect, it means unfertile, poor land.

The average age of the vines is 35 years. Yields are low, averaging 12 hectoliters per hectare. In some years the yield can drop as low as 8 hectoliters per hectare. This makes for an intensely aromatic and concentrated wine.

Pictures: In the Cellar of Château Climens

During the entire harvest period each day’s harvest is sent to the winery where it will be vinified separately. The fermentation is controlled at 27 degrees Celsius and will last between 15 and 21 days. Once the ideal level of alcohol is reached (13.5%), the wine receives a thermal shock, quickly dropping the temperature down to 3 degrees Celsius, which halts the fermentation. The wine is then sent to barrel where it will be aged in 30% new oak. After 22 months of aging, the tasting team will taste all the individual wines and decide on two separate blends. The first and superior blend will be destined for the first label, Château Climens. The second tier blend, although still high in quality, will be bottled as the second label, Cyprès de Climens. About 30,000 bottles of the first label are produced and between 10,000 and 15,000 bottles of the second label.

Noble Rot

At Château Climens the mornings are humid with fog and the afternoons are sunny. This provides the perfect conditions for the development of the botrytis cinerea. In order for all of the botrytised grapes to be harvested, the estate will conduct between 5 and 6 runs through the vineyard, each lasting 3 to 8 days, to ensure that only the botrytis infected grapes are picked.

Picture: Noble Rot


Château Climens is the first classified noble-sweet wine estate in Bordeaux to go biodynamic, with the assistance of Jean-Michel and Corinne Comme, who also consult for Château Pontet-Canet. Château Climens is aiming to be certified iodynamic in 2014.

Pictures: Annette Schiller, Christian G.E. Schiller with Bérénice Lurton at Château Climens

Bérénice Lurton: “I believe passionately that biodynamics is the right way for us to go. We want to go back to our roots at Climens and help our wines find their own balance. Biodynamics brings life and vibrancy to the wines.”

Biodynamics can be difficult in the Bordeaux region. It is not the warmest area and there is a large amount of humidity from the Atlantic Ocean as well as the large rivers. So various vineyard problems have to be treated such as mildew and millederange.


During the tasting Bérénice Lurton, with a combination of charm and knowledge, conveyed the philosophy of Château Climens, seeking to create wines which reflect the terroir from which they are produced, and the desire of Château Climens to produce, above all, wines of elegance and finesse rather than sweet wines of power and weight.

Pictures: Tasting with Bérénice Lurton at Château Climens

Cyprès de Climens 2009

Le Figaro: Ce second vin, qui peut égaler le premier certains millésimes, décline les mêmes qualités que chez son grand frère : fraîcheur, minéralité, finesse et complexité aromatique. Vous y trouverez, au gré des millésimes, des arômes de fruits et de fleurs blanches, d’agrumes, de tilleul, d’abricot, d’ananas, voire de menthe ou d’eucalyptus. Une bouteille taillée pour la garde.

Wine Searcher Average Price in US§: 56

Climens 2006

Tasting notes: Golden yellow in the glass, notes of honey, elderflower and orange fruits on the nose, rich and creamy palate with an excellent acid backbone, botrytis is apparent with mango, beeswax and pineapple.

Wine Searcher Average Price in US§: 105


Thank your Bérénice Lurton for a wonderful event.

Pictures: Bye-bye

schiller-wine: Related Posting (Bourdeaux Tour by ombiasy PR and WineTours 2013)

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