Chateau Pape Clement
|Listed Wines||Pape Clement|
|Annual Production (Grand Vin)||7,500 cases|
|Classification||Cru Classes de Graves|
|Second Wine||Le Clementin de Pape Clement|
|Interesting Fact||This wine was reserved for ecclesiastical ceremonies for almost 400 years, and wasn’t available publicly until after the French Revolution.|
Bernard Magrez, the owner of Pape Clement (in close partnership with his son-in-law Leo Montagne) is nothing short of a wine magnate, with a powerful global empire spanning continents from Napa Valley to Chile, from Japan to Morocco. In Bordeaux alone, Mr Magrez owns around 40 chateaux including La Tour Carnet and is one of the region’s most influential viogniers.
A regular feature in Decanter Magazine’s annual Power List, he was named by Robert Parker Jr in a 2012 interview as one of the most impressive Bordeaux owners and little wonder- under his tenure Chateau Pape Clement has gone from strength to strength to become one of the most desirable properties in the region. Magrez is a shrewd businessman and forward-thinker who in recent years has opened up Pape Clement to tourists as part of his Bernard Magrez Luxury Wine Tourism brand- a tactic he insists other chateaux should soon adopt - and famously hires Michel Rolland as consultant oenologist at each of his treasure trove of winemaking properties.
The winemaking here epitomises the phrase ‘attention to detail’. Every bunch of grapes is de-stemmed by hand and chemical fertilising and aeration rejected in favour of horse-drawn ploughing. All this has resulted in an extremely strong brand identity. Pape Clement is known as one of the jewels of Bordeaux and though its appellation, Pessac-Leognan, was overlooked in the 1855 Classification, exchange platform Liv-ex has marked it as a probable Second-Growth estate in its reimagining of that classification.
At the turn of the millennium, Pape Clement asserted itself as one of the forefront properties in Bordeaux and proved the slump in quality here in the mid-20th century was nothing but ancient history. 2005 and 2010 were superlative wines, the latter with 100 points, exhibiting purity and opulent fruit. This is a wine which is renowned for its strong and surprising performances in blind tastings. Indeed the Grand Jury Europeen (GJE), introducing their rankings in 2008 of the best critically scored wines over five vintages in blind tastings, named Pape Clement in 5th place overall!
"I certainly underrated the 2010 Pape Clement from barrel, rating it only 93-95+. (Thank God I put a “plus” there!) Having tasted it four times in Bordeaux, and rating it perfect three times and 99 the fourth time, this final blend of 51% Merlot, 47.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1.5% Petit Verdot is perfection in a bottle. Tipping the scales at 14.5% natural alcohol, there are 8,000 cases of it. Its sublime elegance, the power, the medium to full-bodied texture, the silky tannins, the subtle notes of smoke, lead pencil shavings, black currants, charcoal, camphor, blueberry and cassis fruit are all remarkable. It is a rich, full-throttle wine, but the elegance and the great terroir of Pape Clement come through in abundance. It is slightly more developed and evolved than the 2005 was at a similar point in its evolution, but it certainly needs another 5-7 years to develop further nuances, which it surely will. This wine will last 30-40+ years." Robert Parker
Clement V became supreme pontiff in 1305 and was gifted the estate due to his widely-known interest in wine, but had to give it up following the relocation of the papal seat to Avignon. Clement left the estate in the hands of the Archbishop of Bordeaux who named it in his honour. Successive Archbishops cultivated its vines, creating tiny productions of wine reserved for ceremonial rituals. This arrangement ended in 1791 following the French Revolution, when all episcopal property was seized. In the centuries that followed, Pape Clement changed ownership a number of times and the wine gradually won a fantastic reputation, commanding Second-Growth prices. However, the chateau fell into hard times between the World Wars under a neglectful English owner and was badly damaged by a hail storm in 1937. Thankfully, a saviour arrived in the guise of Paul Montagne. He carried out extensive renovations completed in 1950 and hired the young Emile Peynaud as oenologist- a tradition of expertise today continued by the consultancy of Michel Rolland. Under Montange’s stewardship and the following partnership between his son Leo and Bernard Magrez, the wine returned to top quality, produced with an expert combination of modern technique and traditionalism.
Chateau Pape Clement Price Analysis
Chateau Pape Clement Pricing
Highest rated vintages for Chateau Pape Clement
I certainly underrated the 2010 Pape Clement from barrel, rating it only 93-95+. (Thank God I put a “plus” there!) Having tasted it four times in Bordeaux, and rating it perfect three times and 99 the fourth time, this final blend of 51% Merlot, 47.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1.5% Petit Verdot is perfection in a bottle. Tipping the scales at 14.5% natural alcohol, there are 8,000 cases of it. Its sublime elegance, the power, the medium to full-bodied texture, the silky tannins, the subtle notes of smoke, lead pencil shavings, black currants, charcoal, camphor, blueberry and cassis fruit are all remarkable. It is a rich, full-throttle wine, but the elegance and the great terroir of Pape Clement come through in abundance. It is slightly more developed and evolved than the 2005 was at a similar point in its evolution, but it certainly needs another 5-7 years to develop further nuances, which it surely will. This wine will last 30-40+ years. Kudos to proprietor Bernard Magrez, who has built an empire based on high quality more than any other characteristic.
Probably the greatest Pape-Clement ever made, the dense purple-colored 2005 (a blend of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon) exhibits sumptuous notes of smoky scorched earth, graphite, melted licorice, and blackberries. Once past the exquisite perfume, the wine reveals full body, extraordinary concentration, plenty of chocolate, smoke, cassis, and blackberry flavors, and that unmistakable volcanic ash-like earthiness that comes from this appellation. The tannins are slightly sweeter than those found in most northern Medocs, but this is still a backward, large-scaled effort that requires 7-8 years of cellaring. It should last for 30-35 years.
This wine stands out as a sensational effort just a few years away from full maturity. A 50/50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine displays loads of scorched earth and smoky barbecue scents along with blueberry, black raspberry and black currant. The wine is expansive, has a savory, broad palate and a full-bodied mouthfeel, yet possesses vivid purity and uplift. The tannins are still present, but they are sweet and well-integrated. This wine should hit full maturity in another year or two and last for at least 20 more years.
The 2011 Pape Clement, a blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, was aged 18 months in new French oak before being bottled unfiltered. Absolutely profound, with a complex bouquet of mulberries, black cherries, black currants, graphite and subtle smoke and burning ember-like aromas, this is a true super-star of the vintage. It represents a remarkable achievement by the winemaking team of Bernard Magrez. Full-bodied, rich and multidimensional, this wine clearly transcends the entire vintage. It should age effortlessly for 25 years.
A brilliant dense purple color is accompanied by an extraordinary perfume of camphor, graphite, plums, cassis, and barbecue spices. A prodigious, multilayered, medium-bodied effort with exceptional concentration, a fabulous texture, and a 50-second finish, this brilliant achievement is one of the vintage's monumental wines. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2020+. P.S. Yields were a mere 28 hectoliters per hectare, which no doubt explains the wine's stunning concentration. One of the superstars of the vintage, Pape Clement's 2001 provides further evidence that this property, ambitiously managed with great dynamism by visionary Bernard Magrez, is pushing quality to the maximum and is obviously attempting to go head to head with its most famous rivals, Haut-Brion and La Mission-Haut-Brion (both located a few miles from Pape Clement).
The dense purple-colored 2006 boasts an extraordinary perfume of lead pencil shavings, creme de cassis, burning embers, and a sensation that can only be described as like walking through a damp forest on a hot, humid day. Full-bodied, extraordinarily textured, and multidimensional with an amazingly long finish of nearly 60 seconds, this blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot from a 75-acre vineyard is a compelling wine that is one of the stars of the vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2030. I can't say enough about the extraordinary work proprietor Bernard Magrez, assisted by the internationally renowned Michel Rolland, is doing at Pape-Clement. From this outstanding terroir, he comes close to rivaling what both Haut-Brion and La Mission-Haut-Brion are accomplishing a few miles away. Following the prodigious 2005 Pape-Clement, it would be hard to believe the next vintage could nearly match its predecessor. However, that is what has happened at this estate with both white and red, by the way.
One of the top successes of the vintage, this blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot was harvested between October 8 and 24. The late harvest ensured perfect ripeness as evidenced by the sweet bouquet of black cherries, lead pencil shavings, cassis and subtle barbecue smoke. Well-balanced with good acidity, ripe tannins, medium to full body and a layered mouthfeel, this excellent 2008 can be drunk now and over the next 15+ years.
Although the 2009 Pape Clement may not be as sublime as the 2005 or 2000, but it is very close to those two efforts, and it will be fascinating to compare them (as well as the 2008 and 2010) over the following three decades. A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc with a modest 13.5% alcohol, the 2009 reveals considerable structure and tannin along with tell-tale notes of burning embers, scorched earth, graphite, blueberries, blackberries and toasty vanillin, and a full-bodied mouthfeel. This rich, full offering is surprisingly backward. This cuvee should drink well in 5-6 years as one rarely has to wait a decade or more to enjoy Pape Clement. It should age for three decades or more. This 13th century vineyard situated in the suburbs of Pessac is owned by one of Bordeaux’s most interesting visionaries, Bernard Magrez. He has done a remarkable job in turning around this once moribund property that made a bevy of undrinkable wines into one of the superstars of Bordeaux.
This complex, dark garnet/plum-tinged wine reveals some bricking at the edge, and its beautiful, smoky, meaty nose exhibits notions of sweet currants, black cherries, and licorice. Medium to full-bodied and fleshy with low acidity, sweet tannin, and an expansive mouthfeel with no hard edges, it is a fully mature 1990 that should drink well for another decade. In my opinion, the Pape Clement vintages from 1998 onward are even more impressive and deeper. Moreover, they possess greater longevity. Release price: ($310.00/case)
A great wine that has put on considerable weight and continues to show more and more depth and complexity, the dark plum/ruby colored 1996 Pape Clement has a gorgeous nose of barbecue spices intermixed with black currant, plum, coffee, and a hint of white chocolate. The wine is exceptionally rich, fill-bodied, and a fabulous success, particularly in the Pessac-Leognan sector. The tannin is sweet and the wine full-bodied, with tremendous richness and length. Anticipated maturity: 2005-2020. Last tasted, 4/02.