Chateau Clarke 2001 Grand Vin de Bordeaux
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The origins of the Chateau Clarke estate date back to the 12th century when the Cistercian monks of the Vertheuil Abbey planted the first vines. Much more recently, the knight Tobie Clarke purchased the land that would permanently bear his name in 1818. Then, after being repeatedly handed down and finally sold, the property was bought in 1973 by the Baron Edmond de Rothschild. It was at this time that the neglected vineyard was re-planned, and then completely recreated between 1974 and 1978, to attain a final wine-producing area of 54 hectares. Today, the vines are planted on clay-limestone hilltops that enable the Merlot grape to express itself at its best.
The 2001 vintage was handpicked and meticulously sorted in the wine store and then vatted through simple gravity. This vintage also benefited from being placed in new, french oak maceration vats, where it was left to mature for between 14 and 18 months. Thus, the wine from Chateau Clarke is a true reflection of the land that made it: concentrated and distinguished. It allies power with aromatic complexity, and has great potential for ageing.
This 2001 Grand Vin de Bordeaux was tasted on September 26, 2008 by a panel of 10 tasters in a blind tasting format. Chateau Clarke suggests it be paired with Lamb, Fowl or game birds (partridge and phesant).
This wine benefits from the great, forward fruits of the 2001 Merlot vintage, giving dark fruits and vanilla oak flavors. The background is soft tannins and the foreground is all fruit. Good long finish - well structured
Our mission is to provide unbiased opinions of the wine being offered. These notes come from up to 10 guests who tasted this wine in a blind tasting format (wine is concealed so their identity is unknown). Why this format? Tasting blind completely throws out any hype associated with a certain winery, style, price point, etc; it forces the taster to accept what is in the glass without any predetermined notions. Our guests utilize Robert Parker's Glossary of Wine Terms for their comments for consistency purposes. In addition, we utilize the wine aroma wheel to enhance one’s ability to describe the complexity of wine flavor. Notes are posted on this wine during the tasting to ensure they accurately reflect the impressions.
|Blend||70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Appelation||Chateau Clarke, Listrac Medoc|
|Type of soil||calcareous Eocene and calcareous clay|
|Harvesting||handpicked and hand sorted on ground sheets, prior to destemming and crushing.|
|Fermentation||About 7 days with 2 punchdowns/day|
|Aging / Cooperage||16 months in 80% new 225l french oak barrels(malo-lactic fermentation in new wood), 20 % in second fill barrels.|
|Alcohol||13% by volume|
|Fining||no fining was made prior to bottling.|
Merlot was the most successful variety of 2001. Growers from every area said they had made good Cabernets but great Merlots. Some, especially those who had properly crop thinned and de-leafed, claimed they had their best Merlots ever, others that they were as good as their 82s, and many that they equaled their 90s. The Merlots seem to have appreciated, more than the Cabernets, the Summer combination of high soil moisture and hot Summer days, and used it to become little sugar machines. Certainly there were many powerful wines, mostly in the 13-14 range, which was surprising for a relatively cool year, and some of them are remarkably dense and strong.
Color : dense and dark.
Aroma : very charming and open. We get a lot of fine ripe fruit on the first nose with blackcurrent, raspberry. The fruit is associated with a light spicy a smoky note (clove, and a subtle wood with mocha and vanilla). This 2001 shows a lot of elegance and complexity on the nose.
Palate : very supple attack, followed by a full midpalate. The tannins are fine, dense and ripe, we notice a fantastic balance with a beautifull acidity which brings loads of fresh black fruits on the aftertaste.
Cellaring : this beautifull wine shows an excellent aging potential. Already very plaisant now, he will reach a good maturity level in 2008-2010 and will still be able to mature for an extra 6 years in a good cellar.