It’s Sweet in Bordeaux!

In the Southern portion of Bordeaux there’s a gorgeous area known as Sauternes. This AOC (highly classified appellation or region) is known primarily for lush, full bodied, sweet delicious dessert wines, made from the grape Sémillon, known by the name Sauternes. The perfect place to start your wine travels if you want to taste world class dessert wines.

Sémillon affected by botrytis

A smaller AOC which is located within the limits of Sauternes, known as Barsac is home to Chateau Climens, and it’s made a name for itself, not only for its Grand Cru Classe Wines. Starting in 2010, Chateau Climens began to use biodynamic farming techniques, by the following year, they were 100% biodynamic. Proprietor Bérénice Lurton has been running the family Estate since 1992.

Taking over from her father who chose to retire early, leaving a Château to each of his children. Bérénice took it upon herself to not only run the 28.3 hectare Barsac Estate, but to improve it, by using only biodynamic organic materials in her vineyards! Ms. Lurton graciously opened up her estate for the “women in wine” visit and I was treated to a tour of her vineyards, getting the opportunity to see botrytis first hand (the noble rot of the grapes, the concentration of the sugars in the grapes, which allows for the making of sweet wines) on the vines.

Château Climens Vineyard views!

The tour continued throughout the facilities including a gorgeous pristine wood beamed attic, which smelled heavenly and aromatic. With burlap sacs of fresh herbs, grasses and flowers lining the room, and piles air drying throughout, these are used to scatter in the vineyard for natural pest control, weed control and nutrients for the grapes.

After the tour I was treated to aperitifs in the salon, Cypres de Climens, a sweet wine which paired perfectly with the amuse bouchée of cheese pastry puffs, and other little nibbles.

Cypres de Climens

We made our way to the dining room for dinner, with the most interesting surprise being that all of her lightly sweet Sauternes 2012, 2008 & a gorgeously aged 2005 paired perfectly with the meal of citrus scallops tartine, fish with fresh beans & tomatoes and even a fruit dessert with a light cream sauce.

The wine is aged on average 35% to 45% in new French oak barrels for to 20 to 24 months. What was once thought of as only a dessert wine is proving that it can hold up to an entire meal and complement the flavors nicely.

Château Climens -1st Cru Barsac

With botrytis being a natural phenomenon that occurs only in the best conditions of cool foggy mornings, followed by warm sunny afternoons, these wines aren’t able to be made every year. In addition these grapes must be harvested by hand, picking only the grapes that have been perfectly botrysized, and factor in global warming which is drastically affecting this region, and I predict this special nectar will continue to rise in cost with demand heavily outweighing the supply. Cheers!