Wine Words & Video Tape

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Château Clarke


Address: 33480 Listrac-Medoc

Telephone: +33 (0)5 56 58 38 00



Baron Edmond de Rothschild bought Château Clarke in 1973 and there has been a lot of investment over the years here and the estate is now run by his son Benjamin. Château Clarke is named after an Irishman who bought the chateau in the 18th century. The wines are extremely well made but for me perhaps lack some of the flair of fellow Listrac properties Châteaux Fourcas Hosten and Fourcas Dupré.

Vineyard/Terrior:  54 hectares on clay-limestone soils planted with 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. Average age of the vines is 25 years. Since 2001 grapes hand picked into small crates and transported to the winery.

Winemaking/Elévage: Fermentation in wooden vats and wine moved by natural gravity  to the lower level cellar. Ages in 60-80% new oak for 16-18 months.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Deep and saturated looking; very opaque; tight to rim; ripe and voluptuous Merlot; upfront and soft; velvety feel; lacks a little density perhaps but this is extremely enjoyable Listrac; jam packed with fruit; ripe and soft tannin; very good effort indeed. [70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5% alc, 70% new oak]. Drink 2020-2028. 88-90
  • 2014 Deep and saturated look; spices; menthol; iron and minerals; wet rock; substantial palate; sturdy fruit; warm with some oak influence; ripe fruit tones; some chew. Nicely done. [80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13.5% alc]. Tasted 31st March ’15 at UGC. Drink 2019-2027. 88-90+
  • 2013 Mid depth; purple edge; some earth, graphite and blackcurrants; freshness; quite polished; pure and sappy palate; vigorous and sappy style but has sufficient fruit. [60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon]. Tasted 3/4/14 UGCB. Drink 2017-2023. 84-86
  • 2012 Mid depth; attractive ripe and plummy aromatics; some spices and freshness; soft palate; easy; perhaps lacks a little texture but round and easy. Nicely judged in vintage context. Drink 2015-2022. 86 UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and dense looking; some wet rock, chalk and blackcurrant notes beneath; feels ripe; some pretty fruit on the nose; some hardness to the palate; dense and chewy. 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon 13.5% alc 85-87 UGC Tuesday April 9, 2013
  • 2011 Mid depth; some spices, plum with cherry notes; palate very grippy and quite puckering. Drink 2015-2021. 84 Tasted Oct ’13 UGCB London [Earlier note] Mid depth; fresh looking; inky, Iron and multi-vitamin pill nose; wet stones; intense and dense palate; grippy and chewy with tannin and lots of bite. Mouth puckering here. Tasted UGC. 82-84 UGC Primeurs April 2012
  • 2010 Deep and saturated looking; ripe and round nose [Clarke Merlot dominant]; some chalky, wet rock notes; little lift too; chewy palate with lots of fruit, plenty of structure and sap. Good effort. 86+/100 UGC Nov ’ 12 [Earlier primeurs note] 2010 Deep and saturated; ripe and toasty nose; fruit, tight still; some char; nice attack on the palate, ripe and some layers but then the tightness [this will need a bit of egg white fining down the line!] Tannic and very dusty on the finish. Wow these tannins! Very grippy too. Tricky at present. 84-86?/100 Tasted 5 April 2011. [Second tasting] Deep, right up to edge; ripe fat nose; Merlot style; some marzipan hints; lots of fruit but also extraction here also; needs to soften; big and ballsy; grip and tannin and very extracted. Tannin. Over-extracted in fact on these showings. 84-86?/100 Tasted 7 April 2011 
  • 2009 Mid red; glossy look; lifted blackcurrants and plums; quite ripe and thick; some tar and liquorice; very ripe, dense and chewy palate; good stuff if a little straightforward. 88/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier Primeurs note] 2009 Deep colour; quite pretty fruit nose; some blackcurrant; jammy note – very ripe here; raspberry even strawberry; palate full and fruity with the same red fruits on the palate. Softer palate than the Fourcas Dupre. 88/100 Tasted 30th March 2010.
  • 2008 Mid red/black; strawberry and red fruit nose; quite lifted and appealing; soft palate and lighter and less tannic than the other wines from Listrac in 2008 – much higher percentage of Merlot [70%] to Cabernet Sauvignon [30%] here. Attractive and agreeable, if a little on the light side. 85/100 UGC Oct ‘10

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