|Recently Arden Fine Wines acquired a bottle of Château Climens from a private seller.
The bottle shows no vintage where it should be, at top-centre of the label. But otherwise all present and correct, including “73cl” – rather than 75cl – as the volume.
The “73 cl” (73 centilitres) on the label suggests a vintage after 1973, when the UK acceded to the European Communities (EC).
Under longstanding British consumer law it remained an offence to give short measures – hence the “baker’s dozen”.
So 75cl bottles of French wine for the UK market stated 73cl, though they were filled to 75cl (most of the time, anyway).
At a guess, the bottle was 1984, which was a “declassified” Climens vintage that was released as Cypres de Climens.
Is it possible that some 1984 was retained at the château and labelled with an old 73cl etiquette and no stated vintage? Maybe…
I contacted Château Climens to ask if they could tell me what vintage this bottle was.
The reply was: “Malheureusement, sans millésime sur l’étiquette, le seul moyen de vérifier qu’il s’agit bien d’une bouteille de Château Climens 1984 est le marquage bouchon…”
So the capsule was cut to have a look at the cork.
And the vintage turned out to be…
…1976, one of the great Sauternes vintages of the 20th century.
As Alexandra at Climens noted, “la couleur du vin est magnifique” – as amber as a setting sun.
The ’76 Climens should be a great glass (or several) of aged Sauternes.