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Chateau Pape Clement 2011
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
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.
Offers a grippy feel, with tar and warm fruitcake notes framing a core of plum sauce, blackberry coulis and pastis. Sappy and energetic through the finish. The tarry grip hangs on.
This is a closed wine, dominated by dark, dry tannins and spice. The wine misses fruit with its solid core of dryness.
Barrel Sample: 90-92 Points
The nose of violets, warm stone and blueberries is very impressive. Full body, with chewy tannins and a firm finish. Outstanding but like to see a little more fruit in the mid-palate. Chewy.
Château 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, Château 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 Château Pape Clément wines continue to delight the wine-lovers of today and tomorrow.
The Napa Valley and Cabernet Sauvignon are so intrinsically linked that it is difficult to discuss one without thinking of the other. Although Cabernet has many important outposts throughout the wine world, nowhere else has it achieved such success (and, at the highest end, commanded such lofty prices) than in Napa. Here, it is responsible for bold, opulent, and dark-fruited wines with grippy tannins and a healthy dose of alcohol. The best examples can age for decades. Each of Napa’s smaller sub-AVAs imparts a different character to Cabernet, such as Rutherford’s famous dust or Stags Leap District's tart cherry flavors.