Located in the commune of Pessac, just outside the city of Bordeaux, Chateau Pape-Clement is a living piece of history! The estate is the oldest in the region, as the vineyards were planted in 1300—and they harvested their 700th vintage in 2006! The estate was presented to Bertrand de Goth as a gift from his family upon his appointment as archbishop of Bordeaux. Shortly after, Bertrand was elected Pope, took the name Clement V, and gave the estate the name Pape Clement.
Although the estate was originally omitted from the first classification of the wines of Graves in 1953, it was rightly classified in 1959. The vineyards total around 80 acres, of which roughly 74 acres are planted with red varieties (60% Cabernet, 35% Merlot and a little Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot) and 6 acres in white (45% Sauvignon, 45% Semillon and the balance Sauvignon Gris and Muscadelle) for the stunning Pape Clement blanc.
Today, the Chateau is owned by Bernard Magrez, who in addition to the crown jewel Ch. Pape-Clement, owns Ch. Fombrauge in St. Emilion and Ch. la Tour Carnet in the Haut-Medoc, amongst others in Bordeaux and throughout the world. A trademark of Bernerd Magrez is restoring the estates from the ground up, while restoring the wines to world class form. A collector of many things, including a Stradivarius, Mr. Magrez had recently saved a collection of ancient olive trees in Spain. He purchased them, had them uprooted and shipped to his estates in Bordeaux, and transplanted them for visitors to view! Many of these trees are nearing 2,000 years old! I don’t believe they produce olives anymore, but they are certainly amazing. One of the olive trees at Ch. Pape Clement was planted in the year 162 AD, and is aptly named Marcus Aurelius, who just happened to be alive and well in 162!
Brad Lewis and I spent three nights at Pape Clement, and had the pleasure of dining in the chateau each evening…Foie gras, duck, lobster, and wine! Old vintages of Pape Clement red and white were the stars of the evening, as expected.
On Saturday, we spent the day with Phillipe Magrez, Benoit Tomas (Export Director) and Lionel Labat (Export Manager) in the corporate helicopter visiting each of the Bordeaux estates in the Magrez umbrella, with an unbelievable lunch and tasting at Ch. Fombrauge.
Perhaps the blessing of the Pope, or simply good fortune, the 2010 Ch. Pape Clement, which is available now via our ‘en Primeur’ or Bordeaux Futures campaign, recently scored the magical 100 points by Robert M. Parker Jr. and we still have a few cases available. On a more personal note, the wine staff at ABC Fine Wine & Spirits also had the pleasure of sampling both the 2010 Ch. Pape Clement red and white at our own Bordeaux UGC event in Orlando this past January, and I can say the Pape Clement Blanc 2010 is simply stunning. One of the most complex dry whites I have had in many years. I am also happy to say we have secured a good supply of the red & white wines of Ch. Pape Clement in vintage 2012! The red carries a Robert Parker rating of 92-95 and the white, ahhhh, the white! The 2012 white received a remarkable 95-98 from Parker! Both are available on our Futures 2012 offer, but will certainly sell out.