The origins of the Château 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. And ever since the first vintage year at Château Clarke, bottled in 1978, the quality of the wines has never ceased to improve.
The ancient buildings have been restored, and the techniques and equipment used in the winemaking process have been brought up to date. Particular attention is paid to the methods of cultivation and wine production, which are subject to the most stringent controls. The handpicked grapes are carefully transported and meticulously sorted in the cellar and then vatted through simple gravity into superb wooden vats. The wine is then placed in new barrels, where it is left to mature for between 14 and 18 months.
Thus, the wine from Château 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.
Since 1997, Baron Benjamin de Rothschild has followed in the tradition of his father, transmitting his own passion for excellence to his dynamic workforce.
Vineyard area; 54 ha
Soil type; Limestone and clay
Blend; 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon
Plantation density; 6600 vines/ha (1m x 1.5m)
Vineyard age; 30 years
Soil management; Natural grass cover
Vineyard pruning; Double Guyot
Harvest; Hand picking, hand selection of the grapes (before and after destemming), Merlot : beginning of October, Cabernet Sauvignon : end of October
Winemaking; Vating by gravity, cold maceration, vinification in wooden vat and stainless steel tanks. Pumping over and pigeage. Automatic thermoregulation system. Micro oxygenation in tank. Malo-lactic fermentation in new French oak barrels.
Ageing; 60% in new barrels, rest in second fill barrels. Duration : 16 months
Production; 250 000 bottles