TN: 1947 Château Climens (France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac)

  • 1947 Château Climens - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Barsac (6/7/2024)
    At the Westchester Magazine Annual Wine Collector Dinner. I drank this twice - once with Hamachi Ceviche and a spicy sauce and once at the end of the night. The Barsac has a higher acid level than the Sauterne, creating a better balance with the ceviche, although Kevin Zraly, who was at the dinner, strongly disagreed and felt that it was a dessert wine. Peter FX Kelly - as in he beat Booby Flay - who was also at the dinner, just liked the wine. I had met Paul Marchais, the Sales & Marketing Director at Climens, at Flatiron Wines a month or so ago. I told him about the wine at the time and he asked me to report back. When I did, he agreed with me about the Ceviche.

    Bought at auction from Zachys as a single bottle at their regular Internet auction. Dark golden in color but not approaching mahogany. The palate on this wine was honey, caramel, tropical fruit (guava?) and lemon curd. Botrytis flavor - DON'T tell me botrytis has no flavor - but smooth with no sharpness. A tiny bit of maderization flavor, but as a plus, not as an over the hill item. I have no idea how long this has until it turns the corner, but maybe never. I had a Rayne Vigneau once that was about 100 years old and it was great. Maybe this will last as long.

    A great wine. (96 points)

Posted from CellarTracker

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Awesome that you had an opportunity to have this, Jay. Thanks for the evocative note.

Mike

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I have a 1961 Jay that I think will be my 65th bday bottle. You are invited as wife won’t enjoy this.

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Thanks Jay, sounds great.

I had a '47 La Tour Blanche Sauternes last year that was brilliant and I fondly remember a '47 Yquem a few years back that came out of the cellar of Peter and Margaret Lehmann.

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Always a great day when I have enjoyed a bottle that Jeremy has as well. 1947 LTB the oldest vintage Sauternes I have tasted.

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Love Climens. By far my favorite Sauternes/Barsac other than Yquem. What a treat to have a 1947.

You’re just a kid. I’ll bring a 1951 Port if I still have one left. Otherwise a 1951 Rivesaltas.

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This was my oldest. Someone (I think it was Craig Haserot) showed up at a dinner we had and just pulled this out to drink:

  • 1917 Château de Rayne-Vigneau - France, Bordeaux, Sauternais, Sauternes (2/25/2013)
    Every once in a while, someone shows up at a dinner and pulls out a bottle and you say "Sh!t, that's incredible." It happened last night. I will leave to the person who brought it to identify himself, but there's one bottle listed in Cellartracker and this might have been it. Color was excellent, I would say comparable to what I've seen in a 30 year old Sauterne. This wine had gone through the full morphing of a Sauterne without reaching the over the hill and dead stage. The sugar had converted into whatever and there was just a bit of sweetness. I have trouble with "is that butterscotch or caramel?" so I'm not sure, but I think caramel. Tropical fruit like guava and a bit of pineapple. Pears? Yes, that's there as well. Smooth, and whatever took away the sugar also removed enough of the acidity that was probably there 90+ years ago so it was still in balance. A real treat. (96 points)

Posted from CellarTracker

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My 1947 was a Chateau Caillou Barsac during the weird summer of 2020. It remains the single most memorable wine experience of my life. I still remember the black tea- crème brûlée flavor and beautifully amber color. I have dreams about this wine.

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Who tells you botrytis has no flavor?

Thanks for the note Jay. I have a very special fondness for Climens, and it is the biggest vertical I own with 21 vintages going back to '28 and '49. I debate going back and forth on whether to open them as part of a crazy Climens vertical, or to savor them in an intimate setting.

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A lot of people argue that point and claim that all botrytis does is poke holes in the grape skins so that sugar is developed. I think they are wrong, but I admit that the Ygrec bottling from Yquem may have the flavor that I ascribed to botrytis. Maybe I will start a thread on the question of whether botrytis by itself has a separate flavor. I’m starting to learn more about the effect of terpenes on flavor, and perhaps there is a way to isolate the different terpenes from botrytis-infected grapes.

I admit that opening them as a crazy Climens vertical has a lot of appeal, and I would be happy to fly anywhere to join you. BUT it took more effort to appreciate the 1947 Climens when it was part of a dinner that had four first growth 1998 Bordeaux everything else from a 1985 Smith Haut Lafitte blanc to a 2013 Schrader CCS, with a 1989 Yquem chaser. I would probably drink the 1928 by itself in a dimly lit room while listening to either Beethoven’s Ninth for peace and relaxation or Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps for the excitement of it all.

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Agreed! At the Sauternes bash @AAgrawal and I threw last year, the more introverted of the 13 wines (like '90 Fargues) got a bit lost in the sea of Yquems and other loud voices, but I’m sure would have been standouts on their own. But the '59 Coutet still managed to sing above most of the crowd.

I’ll let you know if I end up doing a vertical, but I’d probably limit it to no more than 4 or 5 vintages… I’m thinking 2028 might be the right time.

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of course it has flavor. Otherwise one would not know it was there. Very easy to distinguish a botyrized wine!

I’d like to keep track too, Vince :slight_smile: I am doing a crazy Climens vertical (though with nowhere near the aged versions you have) as part of my 2026 cellar depressurization event.

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My cellar depressurization event will include verticals of SQN, Saxum, and Schrader, along with an at least 8 bottle horizontal of 2012 Aubert red and whites. BUT you can’t come because you will be playing golf.

:neener:

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