Château Climens releases dry white

As the market for noble sweet wine declines, winemakers in places as diverse as Tokaj and Sauternes are experimenting with dry wines. James Lawrence reports on the latest chateau to experiment with dry wines.

Château Climens, Sauternes
Château Climens, Sauternes

Château Climens has become the latest property to market a dry white from the Sauternes appellation.

According to estate owner Bérénice Lurton, 55,000 bottles of the new style, called Asphodèle, were made in 2019. 

This followed a successful experiment during the 2018 harvest, when Climens produced 18,000 bottles in collaboration with Sancerre producer Pascal Jolivet.

“I met Pascal in New York during a wine exhibition and decided to work with him as our consultant,” explained Lurton.

“He brought his confidence that we really could make a fantastic dry white from the terroir of Climens, and specifically from the young vines. Our first vintage was a Bordeaux wine that had a personality all of its own.”

Lurton added that the dry white, made from 100% Semillon, is made using young vines, harvested at higher levels of acidity and fermented at low temperatures, with no added yeast or oak maturation employed.

“We stopped working with Pascal after the 2018 vintage, but we’ve kept the philosophy and are very grateful to him,” said Lurton.

Interestingly, Lurton claims that “we had been thinking about making a dry white wine for a few years, driven by curiosity and a longing for innovation.” 

Yet in a previous Meininger’s interview, Lurton noted that “I'm not convinced by the dry white argument. Sauternes is one of the very best place in the world to produce sweet wines, which are truly exceptional, and will always deserve more attention than any of the dry wines we would produce.”

The wine is currently being launched in the US market. It joins a growing firmament of dry whites being made in Sauternes, including Clos de Lunes and Château Guiraud's 'G de Guiraud'.

James Lawrence

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