Chateau Clarke History, Overview
Chateau Clarke dates back to the late 1700’s, when it was founded by Tony Clarke, which following the custom of the time, took its name from the estates founder, or current owner. The vineyard has only changed hands two more times over the centuries. In 1820, the St. Guirons family bought the property and it remained in their hands until 1973, when Chateau Clarke was purchased by the Baron Edmond de Rothschild.
At the time of the sale, the estate had become quite dilapidated. The vineyards needed replanting, the chateau, cellars and wine making facilities required extensive renovations. The vineyard demanded a new drainage system and if that was not enough, it was determined that entire sections of the vineyard needed to be ripped out and replaced.
Purchasing Chateau Clarke seemed like an odd choice for Baron Edmond de Rothschild. Forget all the work and expenses that needed to be done. You need to keep in mind that Edmond de Rothschild was probably the wealthiest member of the famous Rothschild family and he was also one of the majority owners of Chateau Lafite Rothschild.
So with all that money, the question remains as to why he bought Chateau Clarke, instead of any number of better Left Bank estates with great terroir, remains a mystery. He definitely had his work cut out for him.
It was at that point in time that the Listrac vineyard was completely changed, and for the better. Previously, the Medoc vineyard was planted to a higher percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon. With the clay rich soils and cooler terroir, Merlot was a much better fit.
Baron Edmond de Rothschild brought in Emile Peynaud to consult, who was replaced by Michel Rolland who continues to advise on the vineyard management and winemaking for Chateau Clarke. After the Baron died in 1997, control of the estate was passed to his son, Benjamin Rothschild. Benjamin Rothschild is also the largest shareholder in Chateau Lafite Rothschild.
Read more at:https://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/bordeaux-wine-producer-profiles/bordeaux/haut-medoc-lesser-appellations/chateau-clarke-haut-medoc-bordeaux-wine/
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