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WINE OF THE WEEK: Château Climens Asphodèle 2019, Bordeaux Blanc Sec, France

£26.50, Berry Bros & Rudd

There is joy tinged with sadness in this week's wine. Let's start with the joy, which is that this is a beautiful wine. Elegant, precise, pure, textural and gently rippling with aromas and flavours of blossom, spicier flowers (marigolds), citrus and minerals, turning to red apple, lychee (just a whisper), orange zest and peach – and all emphasised by the silk-smooth texture and long, fresh, mineral spine.

You may find other or completely different aromas and tastes. The point is the harmony and serenity of all that is so quietly and seamlessly packed into this unoaked dry Semillon, the first dry wine to be released from the celebrated biodynamic Premier Cru Barsac, Sauternes estate.

Bérénice Lurton, Château Climens' owner and manager, had always wanted to make a dry white wine. A meeting with Pascal Jolivet, whose Sancerre wines she admires, sealed it. The timing was good. Coming after spring frosts had destroyed Climens' 2017 crop, the project "gave a new impetus when it was most needed," she says.

With Pascal Jolivet acting as a consultant, the 2019 Asphodèle, was made by applying and adapting Jolivet principles to Climens' biodynamic production: grapes from younger vines (planted 1997–2012), picked early at perfect freshness based on tasting and analysis, spontaneous fermentation in small stainless steel tanks, lees ageing for 8 months and no oak. The 2020 will follow and is, says Bérénice, delicious and has been produced in a satisfactory quantity.

Which brings me to the sadness. Château Climens has been devastated by frosts again this year. All of the vineyard was hit, as in 2017, a year which gave a yield of just 2.5hl/ha – tantamount to nothing. As I write, there is no sign of second buds coming out, even on the young vines.

In the meantime, Asphodèle 2019 is ready to be snapped up and ready to drink. Enjoy it on its own, or with, say, fish and seafood, asparagus or a fresh pea or primavera risotto. I'm sure you could cellar it but, as with Sauternes, let's drink these wonderful wines, not put them away and forget about them. 12%

Château Climens Asphodèle 2019, Bordeaux Blanc Sec, France


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