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Chateau Clarke 1985

Chateau Clarke is one of the numerous Chateaux’ belonging to one of the Rothschild family parts; here it is one of Edmond De Rothschild’s estates. It is a Cru bourgeois from the Haut-Médoc Appelation which lies in between Pauillac and Margaux, and has the particularity that it doesn’t feature any Grand Crus Classés, despite its very prestigious neighbours. The reason lays in the topography of the appellation: the hills are lower and vine roots don’t grow very far under the earth and thus aren’t reaching into many different types of soils of which they retain their attributes. In other words, they tend to be less complex than Pauillacs’ or Margaux’! (This was how my savvy book explains it)
Neverthess there are lots of Cru Bourgeois in the area; the most appreciated probably being those of Moulis with Chasse-Spleen, Poujeaux and Citran (among some other well-known names). Clarke isn’t located in Moulis though but in Listrac, which is a village on a slightly higher plateau with gravel and lime soils – it is known for rough wines with a high tannic content which demand time- (again my smart book here)
The cork of this 20 year old went out as if it was a 2-year-old and didn’t smell bad, which already made me happy, since I got this bottle on Ebay, and you never can be sure of how it was stored… maybe 20 years under the radiator, or in the fridge, or some other inappropriate place.
Well this one was perfect! It had a nice red colour with a slight orange rim and was rather unclear, which I don’t mind really. The bouquet was very nice, of red fruit with a little stony, chalky touch I really liked. On the palate it had a silky feel, with tannins like soft little atoms which gave the wine an elegant structure. Here again it had red fruit with a nice mineral edge and a touch of cigar box.
On the back-end it was a little astringent, which might indicate that it could stay some more years in the cellar, but my feeling is that it won’t get any more better. It is just right now: an elegant wine and a nice surprise I wouldn’t have expected from a pick on Ebay. If I had to give a grade it would be 88-89.

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Categories: Bordeaux,France

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