Chateau Climens – The Prodigy of Noble Rot

Chateau Climens Wine Bottles

The sweet wines of Chateau Climens

Chateaus Climens, also known as the “Lord of Barsac” is indeed a very noble wine. The estate is situated in the village of Barsac, within the Barsac-Sauternes appellation, on the left bank of the River Garonne in Bordeaux. Barsac-Sauternes is a tiny enclave in the Graves region and is known for producing some of the finest sweet wines in the world.

The Chateau Climens vineyard area covers 29 hectares, with an average production of 3,000 cases per year. The terroir is extremely chalky, with limestone, sand and clay which is ideal for growing Semillon.

Chateau Climens was first officially registered in 1547. In over four and half centuries the property has only ever belonged to five families, which is fairly unique in Bordeaux. This also means the land has been very carefully looked after. In 1885 when the Bordeaux Classification system was established for the Medoc and Sauternes region, the supreme quality of Chateau Climens’ wines was instantly recognised and it was given Premier Cru, or First Growth status. It is second only to Chateau d’Yquem.

Chateau Climens Winery

The Roberol family first owned Climens and it was passed down from generation to generation until 1802 when it was sold to Jean Binaud, a local wine merchant. The land changed hands between two more families and then in 1855, just after the vineyard had acquired its Premier Cru status, the estate was taken over by the successful printing family Goungouilhou who kept it for over a century.  

In 1971 Lucien Lurton, owner of Chateau Brane-Cantenac and Chateau Doisy Dubroca, was drawn to the finesse of the Chateau Climens wines and its unique terroir and decided to purchase the property. In 1992, his daughter Berenice Lurton took over the reins and has worked ever since with enthusiasm and determination to ensure the wines continue to shine. In 2010 she started following biodynamic practices and in 2014 they were fully certified. This is unusual in Sauternes and shows great vision and dedication in protecting the environment whilst striving for healthy vines which will produce the highest quality fruit.

Chateau Climens Vineyard in Barsac France

The Barsac vineyards of Chateau Climens

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of Chateau Climens, however, is that it is 100% Semillon. Most Sauternes are a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc helps raise the acidity in the wines, however Chateau Climens’ unique terroir and limestone soils enable their Semillon to retain enough levels of acidity, whilst reaching perfect ripeness and flavour profiles without needing to blend.  

All this contributes to Chateau Climens being one of the most revered sweet wines in the world. It is revered not only for its complexity and opulent flavours, but also its freshness, minerality and finesse.


Despite the fact Climens means “infertile land” it is obviously perfect for vines and in particular Semillon, on which noble rot flourishes.  Noble rot is essential for creating these very special sweet wines.

Noble rot is a microscopic fungus, it’s official Latin name being botrytis cinerea. It needs certain climatic conditions to flourish – these being damp early mornings, followed by warm, sunny Autumn days. If it’s too dry then noble rot will not set in. If it’s too wet it can become the more undesirable, damaging grey rot. It can therefore be a rather tense time for the vignerons come early Autumn as despite all their hard work they are at the whim of Mother Nature.

Fortunately, the microclimate in Barsac-Sauternes is very suitable for noble rot to flourish. Positioned near the Garonne River and its tributary Ciron, there is plenty early morning mist rising up from the water and the days are generally warm and sunny in the beautiful Bordeaux Autumn.

As noble rot penetrates the skin of the grapes, moisture starts to evaporate. The grapes shrivel and the sugars and flavours become more concentrated. The rot also triggers reactions within the grape creating other flavour profiles, adding to the complexity of the wines.

Noble rot on Climens grapes

Noble Rot on the Climens grapes

The grapes can only be picked when they reach a legal must rate of 221g/l. This means several pickings or “tries” have to be made over a week or so to ensure only grapes at their optimum level of sweetness and acidity are picked.

This very high sugar level means that even when fermentation stops, at an alcohol level around 13.5%, there remains a high level of residual sugar.  These naturally sweet wines also contain high natural levels of acidity, which gives them beautiful balance and elegance.

The Chateau Climens wines are fermented in oak barrels, with about 20% being new oak.  They are then aged in oak for 20-24 months. This adds another level of complexity to the wines.

The small volumes, intense manual labour and investment in barrels all contribute to the high cost of these wines but also to their extremely high quality and uniqueness.

Chateau Climens wines can be enjoyed young, when they are really fresh and vibrant, yet they also have great aging potential – up to 40 or 50 years – and will therefore develop and take on different flavours and characters as they mature. They are intriguing and almost mystical and can be enjoyed at any stage of their development.

We hope you enjoy your Chateau Climens, when, wherever and with whom you decide to open a bottle of this rare and exquisite wine.

Chateau Climens wine glasses

The sweet, golden wines of Chateau Climens

Franz Haas – One of the Finest Producers from Alto Adige

Franz Haas vineyards in Alto Adige

Franz Haas vineyards in Alto Adige, Italy

Looking for something a little different? Tucked up in the mountains of the Alto-Adige in the far north of Italy, we are thrilled to have discovered a hidden gem – the Franz Haas Winery.

Franz Haas wines are refreshing, exciting and dynamic offering new flavours and textures. Since its establishment in 1880, the Franz Haas Winery has endeavoured to produce top quality wines. Their grapes are sourced from 55 hectares of vineyards which are a mix of those they own, rent or contract.  The estate has been lovingly passed down for seven generations, each one taking on the name of their father, Franz Haas. The current owner and winemaker is technically named Franziskus, but still goes by the name of Franz.

Franz Haas Winemaker Franziskus Haas

Current owner and winemaker Franziskus Haas

Although steeped in history, the wines are modern and visionary combining the best of tradition with the best techniques and philosophies of the twenty-first century. The family has always strived for excellence and the current Franz Haas has pushed the boundary even further – upwards in fact! Grapes grown at higher altitudes offer wines of wonderful elegance and purity, however, due to global warming, Haas felt some of the refreshing acidity and delicate flavours were starting to decline. He took a pioneering leap and decided to plant new vineyards higher up the mountains, some even at 850m above sea level. The fruit from these higher vineyards, as well as from following biodynamic practices has led to Franz Haas producing some of the finest wines in the region. They offer wonderful finesse and fragrance and are a true expression of their terroir.

Franz Haas vineyards in Alto Adige Italy

Franz Haas vineyards in Alto Adige, Italy

Apart from being unique and prestigious wines, Franz Haas stands out from the crowd with their beautiful, eye catching labels.  Simple but dramatic, they were designed by the esteemed artist Riccardo Schweizer who used to paint with Picasso, Chagall, Cocteau, Paul Éluard and Le Corbusier. When Franz released his new range of wines in 1990 his wife, Maria Luisa Manna presented the labels to him as a lucky omen. Many years on, these artistic labels still attract attention.  They reflect the quality and creation within the bottle as well as without.

Franz Haas Winery produces a range of wines, their most famous being Manna, named after Haas’s wife. It is a delicious and unusual blend of white grape varieties and one of the most versatile wines ever produced for food matching. It was launched in 1996 and was specifically created to accompany all the courses of a traditional long Italian lunch which as we know includes a huge range of flavours and textures. The blend is Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Kerner and Sauvignon Blanc.

Franz Haas is also driven to produce high quality pinot noir – a more unusual variety for this region, yet one he feels will work well in the cool climate conditions. Known as Pinot Nero in Italy, Haas picked his first vintage in 1987 and released it in 1990 under the new, show stopping Schweizer labels.

Pinot Nero grapes in the Franz Haas vineyards, Alto Adige

Pinot Nero grapes in the Franz Haas vineyards

The estate also produces a wonderfully fruity pinot grigio which is pure, elegant and refreshing.

Lagrein is a seductive red variety which is now being trialled in New Zealand. However, it is indigenous to the North of Italy where they have been making these enticing wines of dark red and black fruits with a hint of spice for centuries.

There is no doubt that the passion and vision of the current Franz Haas and the six previous Franz Haas’ have together created a legacy of wines which capture the essence of the mountainous Alto-Adige region as they celebrate elegance, purity, fragrance and class.


2016 Franz Haas Manna

A versatile, complex and unique blend named for Franz’ wife – created to match with a widely impressive variety of foods.


2016 Franz Haas Pinot Grigio

Fragrant elegance with a delightfully full freshness.


2015 Franz Haas Lagrein

Made from Lagrein, an indigenous grape variety known for its velvety texture, that is currently seeing an exciting resurgence.

Paul Jaboulet Aîné NZ Events

Earlier this month we announced that Dhall and Nash will be the new exclusive agent in New Zealand for Paul Jaboulet Aîné. To celebrate this new addition to our portfolio we invited Gwenaële Chesnais, Paul Jaboulet’s Regional Director for Asia Pacific, to visit NZ and help host three fantastic dinner events showcasing their Rhône Valley wines.

 Auckland Dinner Event
at Paris Butter

Tuesday 8th May


Bread and truffle butter, sourdough velouté egg cup, sutra french caviar and cauliflower, salmon pot and its roe, mahurangi oyster and rhubarb
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2016 Parallele 45 Blanc

Sashimi crayfish and kiwifruit, poached crayfish, almond gazpacho, bisque jelly, grapes
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2016 Domaine Mule Blanche

Olliff Farm 64ºC egg, grilled mushroom mousse, local mushrooms, truffle gel, saucisson, parmesan custard
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2015 Les Jumelles

Charcoal duck breast, beetroot and vanilla, cabbage, radish, raspberry, sherry
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2012 La Petite Chapelle

Lemon meringue
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2014 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise

Wellington Dinner Event
at Sofitel Wellington

Wednesday 9th May


Herb panna cotta, beetroots, soft goats curd, freekeh, walnuts
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2016 Parallele 45 Blanc

Atlantic scallops, saffron bisque, pickled green lip mussels, flageolet beans, baby vegetables
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2016 Domaine Mule Blanche

Pork belly from the rotisserie, Parisienne sweet potato, pickled mustard seeds, Bosc pear, amaretti crumb
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2015 Les Jumelles

Lamb backstrap cooked on Manuka wood, ash baked onions, almond cream, salsa verde
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2012 La Petite Chapelle

Feijoa, cinnamon and white chocolate mousse, roasted banana ice cream
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2014 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise

Christchurch Event
at St. Germain

Thursday 10th May


Lamb sweetbread terrine, herb chantilly
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2016 Parallele 45 Blanc

Monkfish, petits legumes, squid ink tuile, saffron sauce
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2016 Domaine Mule Blanche

Anchovy stuffed lamb belly, persillade sponge, lentil ragout, thyme jus
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2015 Les Jumelles

Duck breast, plum sauce, pumpkin purée, celeriac purée
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2012 La Petite Chapelle

Poached pear, beetroot sorbet, meringues and crumble
Paired with Paul Jaboulet Aine 2014 Muscat de Beaumes de Venise

The Wine List


2016 Paul Jaboulet Aine Cotes du Rhone Parallele 45 Blanc Wine Bottle

2016 Paul Jaboulet Côtes du Rhône Parallèle 45 Blanc

An attractive bouquet with citrus and floral notes. Fresh, balanced and juicy.


2016 Paul Jaboulet Aine Crozes Hermitage Domaine Mule Blanche Wine Bottle

2016 Paul Jaboulet Crozes Hermitage Domaine Mule Blanche

Fresh with mineral and fruity notes giving very fine balance and length.
Robert Parker, Wine Advocate | 90 points


2009 Paul Jaboulet Aine Cote Rotie Les Jumelles Wine Bottle

2009 Paul Jaboulet Côte Rôties Les Jumelles

Notes of peony, potpourri and black olives with a rich, velvety mouthfeel.


2009 Paul Jaboulet Aine Hermitage La Petite Chapelle Wine Bottle

2009 Paul Jaboulet Hermitage La Petite Chapelle

A mineral streak highlights nuances of violet, berries and spice.
Antonio Galloni, Vinous | 93 points


2014 Paul Jaboulet Aine Muscat de Beaumes de Venise Wine Bottle

2014 Paul Jaboulet Muscat de Beaumes de Venise

Dense and rich but enhanced with a beautiful freshness. A wine of great flavours.

Introducing Caroline Frey – Viticulturist and Winemaker at Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Caroline Frey of Paul Jaboulet Aine Wine

Caroline Frey of Paul Jaboulet Aîné

Caroline Frey is a highly talented and passionate winemaker and viticulturist, quickly making a name for herself in the French wine industry. Her family took over Paul Jaboulet Ainé in 2006 and she has continued to produce the high quality wines for which they are famous, as well as stamping her own mark on them.

Frey grew up in the Montagne de Reims in the Champagne region of France. Her father Jean Jacques, a property investor, had a strong passion for wine and bought some vineyards there when she was just a child, so she grew up in tune to the rhythm of the vines and a taste of the industry. He later invested in some of the Champagne houses and in 2000 he purchased Chateau La Lagune, a third growth in Haut Medoc, Bordeaux. Caroline had always loved horses and had been an equestrian champion, however, she felt her destiny was to be in the wine industry so enrolled at Bordeaux University. There she studied and was fortunate enough to have Bordeaux legend Denis Dubourdieu as one of her professors. She undertook her internship at Ch. Reynon and graduated top of her class. In 2004 she ran her first vintage at La Lagune.

When the family acquired Paul Jaboulet Ainé in 2006 she also took up the role of winemaker and viticulturist there. Caroline Frey is fast becoming one of the top winemakers in France, admired for her persistence for quality which begins in the vineyard. Under her leadership the Paul Jaboulet Ainé vineyards were certified for Sustainable Farming and she now follows organic and biodynamic practices.

Caroline Frey of Paul Jaboulet Aine Wine

Caroline Frey of Paul Jaboulet Aîné

In 2010 the winery itself got an upgrade and a state of the art gravity flow system was installed, meaning gentler handling of the wines, further improving quality.

As she strives for perfection and to make each vintage better than the last, Caroline is producing wines that not only reflect their true terroir, but in the process she is protecting the environment and preserving the land for future generations.

Paul Jaboulet Aine Vineyard

Paul Jaboulet Aîné Vineyard


[All photos courtesy of Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné]

The Top 12 Wines of Paul Jaboulet Aîné | Countdown Overview

Domaines Paul Jaboulet Aîné, one of the finest wine estates in history, has arrived in New Zealand. This famous vineyard in the Rhône Valley produces earthy, powerful Syrahs, masterfully blended Cotes du Rhônes and a rich, opulent Muscat de Beaumes de Venise.

Dhall and Nash have put together a list of Paul Jaboulet’s Top 12 Wines for you to enjoy…

#1: 2013 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle

2013 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle Bottle

#1 2013 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Hermitage La Chapelle

“A gorgeous intensity of plum, spice and grilled meat on the nose. Cloves and hints of dried spices. This is a big, structured La Chapelle. Full and powerful with chewy tannins and a long, long finish.”

James Suckling | 97 points

#2: 2014 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Muscat de Beaumes

2014 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Muscat de Beaumes de Venise Le Chant des Griolles Bottle

#2 2014 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Muscat de Beaumes de Venise Le Chant des Griolles

“Orange, marmalade and apricot liqueur literally explode on the nose. The palate is dense, rich but enhanced with a beautiful freshness. A wine of great flavours.”

 You can view the Product Sensory Sheet for this wine here.

Contact us