Chateau Pape Clement (1.5 Liter Futures Pre-Sale) 2017
With their smoky and spicy bouquet, the red wines are of an admirable quality and a very characteristic softness. The wine is both concentrated, fine and harmonious, with an aromatic palette as wide as it is precise. The depth and length in the mouth are exceptional. Quality of the terroir, sustained efforts and dynamism have borne fruit bringing Pape Clément to a level very close to that of the premiers crus.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Barrel Sample: 94-97
Barrel Sample: 95-96
Very rich, featuring warm cassis and plum puree flavors, laced with singed wood spice, melted licorice and black tea notes. Reveals a tarry hint, but this stays decidedly modern and polished in feel, with the fruit cruising through the finish with authority. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Best from 2022 through 2038.
Barrel Sample: 93-95
This solid, densely textured wine has fine tannins that match richness in the blackberry fruits. It is classically structured, suggesting an elegant, ripe and impressive future. Drink from 2023.
Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Pape Clement is composed of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot, with a nose that is slightly closed at this youthful stage—broody and earthy with baked plums, boysenberries and mulberries aromas plus touches of iron ore, tobacco, tapenade and charcuterie. The palate is medium-bodied and elegant with exquisitely ripe tannins, lovely energy and freshness and a long, mineral-laced finish. Rating: 94+
Checking in as a blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon and 45% Merlot that was brought up in 60% new French oak, the 2017 Chateau Pape Clement is going to check in behind the brilliant 2015 and 2016, but it's nevertheless a brilliant wine from this estate worth having in the cellar. Great notes of blackcurrants, smoked tobacco, gravelly earth, mocha, and hints of licorice all flow to a medium to full-bodied wine that has remarkable purity of fruit as well as polished tannins. It builds nicely with time in the glass and reminds me of a toned-down version of the 2016. This complex, elegant, flawlessly balanced Pessac can be drunk today with incredible pleasure or cellared for 15-20 years.
Chateau Pape Clément owes its name to its most illustrious owner. A man of the cloth born in 1264, Bertrand de Goth became Bishop of Comminges, in the Pyrenees Mountains, at the age of 31; he later became Archbishop of Bordeaux in 1299.
He then received as a gift the property in Pessac, the Vineyard de La Mothe. Taken by a passion for the vine, he continually took part personally in equipping, organizing and managing the domain in accordance with the most modern and rational practices. Nevertheless, on 5 June 1305 the cardinals met in a conclave in Pérouse and appointed him to succeed Pope Benedict XI, who had passed away prematurely after only eleven months of reign. Bertrand de Goth took the name of Clement V.
Supported by Philip IV, it was he who decided in 1309 to move the papal court to Avignon, thus breaking with Rome and its battles of influence. During this same period, the weight of his responsibilities led him to relinquish his property, giving it to the Archbishop of Bordeaux. Henceforward, the vineyard was to be known to posterity under the name of this enlightened pope.
The early period
Management under the clergy brings modernity The grateful Church perpetuated Pope Clement's work. Each archbishop in turn turned to modernity and technical progress, to the point of the wine estate becoming a model vineyard. In addition to especially early harvests, which remain one of its special characteristics, Chateau Pape Clément is without a doubt the first vineyard in France to align vine stock to facilitate labour.
After the Revolution
At the end of the 18th century, the Archbishop of Bordeaux was dispossessed of his property. The papal vineyard became part of the public domain.
The 20th century
8 June 1937 was a dark day in the vineyard's history, when a violent hailstorm destroyed virtually the entirety of the estate. Two years later, Paul Montagne bought it and gradually brought it back to life. Thanks to his efforts, the vineyard returned to its former rank and stood up to the surge in urbanization. His descendents, Léo Montagne and Bernard Magrez, perpetuate this secular tradition so that Chateau Pape Clément wines continue to delight the wine-lovers of today and tomorrow.
Recognized for its superior reds as well as whites, Pessac-Léognan on the Left Bank claims classified growths for both—making it quite unique in comparison to its neighboring Médoc properties.
Pessac’s Chateau Haut-Brion, the only first growth located outside of the Médoc, is said to have been the first to conceptualize fine red wine in Bordeaux back in the late 1600s. The estate, along with its high-esteemed neighbors, La Mission Haut-Brion, Les Carmes Haut-Brion, Pique-Caillou and Chateau Pape-Clément are today all but enveloped by the city of Bordeaux. The rest of the vineyards of Pessac-Léognan are in clearings of heavily forested area or abutting dense suburbs.
Arid sand and gravel on top of clay and limestone make the area unique and conducive to growing Sémillon and Sauvignon blanc as well as the grapes in the usual Left Bank red recipe: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and miniscule percentages of Petit Verdot and Malbec.
The best reds will show great force and finesse with inky blue and black fruit, mushroom, forest, tobacco, iodine and a smooth and intriguing texture.
Its best whites show complexity, longevity and no lack of exotic twists on citrus, tropical and stone fruit with pronounced floral and spice characteristics.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.