Baron Edmond De Rothschild Chateau Clarke Listrac-Medoc 2009, Bordeaux, France

Drunk @ home October 2015

The winery

The origins of the Château Clarke estate date back to the 12th century when the Cistercian monks of the Vertheuil Abbey first planted vines. In 1818  the knight Tobie Clarke purchased the land that would permanently bear his name. The Château is rare since it is known for the quality of its great red wine but also for its white wine and whose production began around 1890 under the name "Merle Blanc Château Clarke" 

After being repeatedly handed down and finally sold, the property was bought in 1973 by the Baron Edmond de Rothschild. 

He decided to redraw the vineyard: existing vines are uprooted and replanted in full. Started in 1974, the process ended in 1979, with the first vintage of Château Clarke being bottled in 1978.

In 1998, Benjamin de Rothschild took over the running of the Château together with the ooenologist Michel Rolland.

The estate of Château Clarke is in the south of the Médoc on the Listrac-Médoc, in the centre of the limestone plateau and West of the Gironde estuary. The area has limestone clay soil providing outstanding resistance to drought and the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean provides maritime influences typical of the Bordeaux region.  The soil is particularly suitable for the cultivation of Merlot in a region where traditionally the Cabernet Sauvignon is dominant. 

The vast majority of land is dedicated to the cultivation of red grapes on 55 hectares and Merlot represents 70% of the plantings. This is supplemented by Cabernet Sauvignon. Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle, which make up the assemblage of Merle Blanc, are grown on just 3 hectares, for a limited production.

The wine

  • Hand picking, hand selection of the grapes (before and after destemming)
  • Merlot : 6th to 16th of October 2009
  • Cabernet Sauvignon : 20th to 23rd of October 2009
  • Vating by gravity, cold maceration, vinification in wooden vat and stainless steel tanks. Pumping over and pigeage. Automatic thermoregulation system. Micro oxygenation in tank. Malo-lactic fermentation in new french oak barrels.
  • Ageing 70% in new barrels, rest in second fill barrels. Duration : 16 months
  • 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Alcohol 13.5 %

Fermented Grape tasting notes

2009 was a very good year in Bordeaux (together with 2010) with very expressive, fruity wines and this Château Clarke 2009 is no exception. A powerful silky wine with strong blackcurrant and black cherry on the nose and palate with herby notes in evidence and a long satisfying finish. This was easy drinking wine with tannins and acidity nicely in balance with the fruit. Very enjoyable, though on the expensive side (£30).