One of the best ways to end a meal, in my opinion, is with a glass of dessert wine. One of the most famous dessert wine-producing regions in the world is in Bordeaux. The wines of Sauternes and Barsac-Sauternes come from the southern part of the region and are usually made with either Sauvignon Blanc or Semillon – or a blend of both.
I had the pleasure of drinking the 1983 Chateau Climens with lunch the other day. Chateau Climens is a cru classe and almost as famous as the most well-known dessert wine in the world, Chateau d’Yquem. Chateau Climens vines are situated on the highest point of Barsac and ironically it’s name is translated as ‘unfertile or poor land’ in Celtic. The land though, is anything but, having excellent terroir and good drainage, allowing the Semillon which composes the wine to grow into amazing wine.
Semillon is a long-living wine and despite being almost 30 years old, this wine was still very spritely and a lot more lively then many 27-year-olds I know. A beautiful deep yellow colour,the nose was intensely floral at first and then opening up into orange marmelade, toast, lemon curd, toffee and truffles. That was not all; the wine kept on evolving as we sat around the table.
Matched with a chestnut creme brulee, sweet creamy notes,vanilla and burnt sugar swirled around my palate. The wine and brulee were a seamless match. I could even detect a slight mineral note after about half an hour in the glass. As I said, the wine was changing by the minute but still keeping its structure and acidity: a fantastic example of how well and for how long the Semillon grape can live.
I enjoyed the 1983 Chateau Climens at the Andaz Hotel but it is available from Lay & Wheeler for £87, mind, that is for a 750 ml bottle – but still something that most people can only afford to splash out on for special occasions. Christmas is coming up though and this would be great with a creamy dessert or – perhaps even more so – a roquefort cheese.