Tasted blind at the annual Southwold tasting. The 2012 Château Climens is always horrendously difficult to taste in its infancy and under blind conditions it can fall short of expectations. That may well be the case here. It has a simple, slightly malic bouquet at first, almost Germanic in style, scents of yellow flowers emerging with time, coalescing and gaining more richness. The palate is medium-bodied with a viscous entry. There appears to be more botrytis here and certainly more weight on the fresh finish that is tinged with barley sugar, betraying Barsac origins. I appreciate the power here, although the aftertaste feels a tad short. This is one of the very few Sauternes that deserve time in bottle.
– eRobertParker.com, Mar 2016
As always, this was a tasting from barrel of the components that are likely to go into the final wine. This year, because some of the lots were so small, they had already made some micro-blends prior to this tasting. I find it quite difficult to do this tasting and wonder how useful it is in terms of getting an idea of the final wine, but it does perhaps give an indication of the overall quality of the lots. There were two main harvest periods: 15-19 October (the rain and then humidity returned on the 19th) and 29-31 October, after the wind had dried things out on the 28th. Rain returned on 1 November and it was all over. 45% of the crop harvest came in this second picking. Bérénice Lurton said she thought the first picking was, on the whole, a little more floral, the second picking very pure and mineral – although I found it hard to discern this distinction in the samples tasted. The RS levels on the first picking were higher (around 135 g/l) than on the second (100 g/l). Overall yields were 10 hl/ha, which was very good given the vintage, though about half that of 2011. She was also happy that the wine is not too concentrated this year as this is not her preferred style.
1. A blend of two lots from the first picking period (16/10 and 19/10): Spicy aroma, then spicy apricot on the palate, intense.
2. The fourth lot of the first picking, 17/10, which made up 6.5% of the harvest: Less spicy than the first sample but richer on the palate. Some almond paste along with the characteristic orange and apricot.
3. Lots 3 and 5 from the first picking (16/10 and 17/10), 15% of the harvest: Almonds again on the nose, beautifully fresh and pure with lots of energy but also silky.
4. First lot from second picking (29/10): A hint of mushrooms on the nose, seems less intense than the previous sample but tense and fresh. Lovely sour-fresh finish. Alcohol a little higher (20.3 potential).
5. Micro-blend of sixth lot from first picking (18/10) and last from second picking (31/10); 8.5% of the harvest: Honeyed and pure apricot, but also more mineral and citrusy. Sour, orange-peel intensity without excess sweetness.
6. Lot from second picking (30/10): Almond freshness and less immediately seductive than previous. Intense and more savoury/mineral than lusciously fruity.
7. Blend from first lot (15/10) and one lot from the second picking: Again that slight mushroom note along with almonds on the nose and then full-throttle apricot on the palate. Sour freshness and an almost oily minerality. Great length and depth. One of the best lots tasted.
Overall a promising and exciting vintage, with quite a bit of variation between the lots for them to play with in the blending. Though as Bérénice Lurton said at the end of the barrel tasting, the wines are changing all the time and the result of the blend is sometimes completely different from what you expected. Score and drink date are therefore approximate, based on the likely quality of the final blend. (JH)
– jancisrobinson.com, Apr 2013
You can allow all or manage them individually.