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Château Pape Clément


Address: 216 Avenue Dr Nancel Penard, 33607 Pessac

Telephone: +33 (0)5 57 26 38 38



One of Bordeaux’s most historic estates and the only one to be able to claim a Pope be behind its origins. Today Château Pape Clément makes terrifically opulent wines. The estate takes its name from its original owner who became Pope Clement V. Seven hundred or so years later Bernard Magrez now runs the estate. I’m not sure what the the old pope would make of that but I’m sure he’d enjoy the succulent wines made here. This is ‘super second’ stuff and the reds are as flash and sexy as the whites. Decadent stuff.

Vineyard/Terroir:  32.5 hectares with Garonne gravel on a clay-sand subsoil. Planted with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot for the reds and 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Sémillon and 10% Muscadelle for the whites. Red grapes 100% destemmed.

Winemaking/Elévage: White gets fifteen months in 100% new oak and red 18-22 months in 100% new oak.

Tasting notes:

  • 2015 Pale straw; white melon; peach; attractive aromatics; fruit salad; weighty palate; nice texture; this will work very nicely; fractionally behind de Fieuzal but a great wine. [50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon, 10% Sauvignon Gris]. Tasted UGCB 7/6/16. Drink 2019-2028. 92-94+
  • 2014 Pale silver and gold; little dumb; some honey; little grapefruit and guava tones; opens up a bit in the glass; some oyster shell; apples on the palate with nice apple acidity; wax and tight on the finish. Very good length. Should fill out further. [50% Sémillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Sauvignon Gris]. Drink 2018-2028. Tasted UGCB 1 April, 2015. 92-94+
  • 2013 Very pale grey/gold; round; little dumb; some oyster shell but very restrained for Pape Clement; palate firm; mid weight; some zap and good length. Quite crisp on the end. Subtle and needs time to fill out. Tasted UGCB April 2014. Drink 2018-2025. 89-91+
  • 2012 Pale silver/grey; creamy nose, little liqueur note; apparent depth; broad and with lots of depth on the palate if the wine is otherwise aromatically a bit subdued at present. Substantial but feels a bit closed at present. Should return to form as was impressive during primeurs early on. Drink 2016-2022. 92+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Palest silver/gold; some candy, pear drop; grapefruit and zest but in check; elegance here; powerful palate with lots of depth; great mouthfeel and very long. Spicy and zesty finish. Brilliant effort. 55% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon, 15% Sauvignon Gris. 94-96+ Tasted Monday April, 8, 2013 Pessac-Leognan tasting at Chateau Olivier [Later note] Pale straw/gold; quite full and fat, some lees and grapefruit citrus tones; very full and deep; palate has some pretty qualities and is also very round and full. Lots of weight ultimately here and length. 94-96 Tasted Wednesday April, 10, 2013 at UGC
  • 2011 Pale straw; full and weighty if aromatically a little dumb on the day – reticent for Pape-Clement certainly; some wax and passion fruit hints; weighty palate with nice mouth feel; length very good if aromatically dumb at present. Drink 2015-2025. 91+ UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Pale silver/grey; some candy and citrus notes; quite restrained but lots of depth here; round palate with zest; concentrated; come candy notes, citrus and wax; appetizing and taut. Dense. Wonderful depth and density. 92-94
  • 2010 Stronger gold; spicey grapefruit and citrus notes with cashew; much thicker and packed with fruit; bold, big palate with oak quite evident but there is breadth and depth to the fruit which handles it well; some savour and bite too and not at all loose on the palate. Very different counterpoint to Domaine de Chevalier.  [51% Sauvignon Blanc, 33% Sémillon, 13% Sauvignon Gris 3% Muscadelle] 95 [Earlier] Pale straw; some peach, guava and grapefruit; butter too from the oak; very attractive nose; wow, very oak dominated palate, has structure and poise though but very oaky at present. Needs to settle. Lacks a bit of zip? Slightly disappointing showing. 90-92/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Pale straw/some gold; oak, grapefruit, gooseberry; big, bold style; fruit and spices; very, very classy nose; lots of oak here but lots of ripe fruit; toasty, strong styled palate; big and bold. Great length here. Big bold style. 94+/100 [Earlier] Pale straw; very attractive cashew with grass and wax tones; palate candy and cashew, very appealing; broad palate. Quite excellent with good depth and length. Amongst the strongest whites tasted in the appellation. 92-94+/100 [50% Sauvignon Blanc, 48% Sémillon, 2% Muscadelle] Tasted 31st March 2010.
  • 2008 Green gold; lots of barrique influence on the nose, along with grapefruit and citrus elements; palate full and attractive with real weight but also race and zip. Excellent 92-94+/100 UGC Oct ‘10


  • 2015 Deep and saturated look; ripe fruit; some earth; lifted and attractive; glossy but real substance; caressing palate; nicely done; black cherry; some oak but wonderful ripe fruit and tannin. Plenty of extract and density. [56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 14.5% alc]. Tasted UGCB 7/4/16. Drink 2020-2032. 94-96+
  • 2014Deep and saturated colour; ripe blackcurrants; some espresso notes; perfumed and creamy; sweet palate but with attractive purity; ripe fruit but no trace of jam [unlike Malartic]; freshness [acidity] too here; plenty of guts and material. Chewy finish currently but should settle well. [57.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37.5% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot]. Drink 2019-2030. Tasted 1 April, 2015 UGC. 91-93
  • 2013 Deep and saturated; deep core; very polished and attractive nose; excellent purity and clarity; excellent definition overall; spicy blackcurrant tones with plums; very cool; fresh creamy palate which is extremely well measured; not too pushed at all. Some grip and texture on the finish. Alongside Haut-Bailly and Smith Haut Lafitte this is one most impressive red wines in the appellation this year [yes better than Haut-Brion]. Will be precocious but has freshness to age. [54.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 5.5% Cabernet Franc]. Tasted April 2014 at UGCB. Drink 2018-2030. 91-93
  • 2012 Deepish colour; sweetness and some fat; plums and spice quite forward aromatics; more oak present on the palate and chewier feel than, say, Smith Haut Lafitte currently. Lots of elements, needs to settle. Drink 2016-2025. 91+ UGC Oct ’14 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated look; dense; very pure and seductive black fruit nose; lots of depth; black cherry, plums, very lush indeed; little oak at the edge; real depth to the nose; lots of fresh fruit flavours on the palate; opulent Merlot [65%], ripe and lots of material; some real chew and depth but you really end up marveling at the wonderful quality and depth of fruit here. In a much lusher, more forward style but not far behind Haut-Brion and La Mission for me. 65% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon. 94-96+ Tasted Wednesday April, 10, 2013 at UGC
  • 2011 Mid depth; deepish; ripe notes, cassis and blackcurrant with plum tones; chewy palate with lots of extract; feels pretty tannic at present – grippy and chewy. This wine should meld and the elements are there [if disjointed] but something of a disappointing showing from this estate in this vintage [usually wonderfully precocious] and its primeur performance. Drink 2016-2028 90? UGC Oct ’13 [Earlier note] Deep and saturated, tight to edge; legs; creamy blackcurrants on the nose, sexy, but not too much Magrez make-up; black cherry; lots of fruit saturation – can’t beat a good terroir – but real polish and brightness here; grip and concentration to the palate; dense and structured but plenty of fruit. Lots of material. Very good effort. 91-93
  • 2010 Deep and arterial; wonderously plump, deep and sexy; very full and expressive; black cherry, plum and black fruits, spice; layer upon layer here; palate simply loaded with fruit; velvety and rich; plums, blackcurrants, spices, take your pick, and considerable structure beneath. Lots of material and guts. Wonderfully enjoyable wine. 96+ [Earlier]  Deep and opaque, you won’t get darker; defines the term hedonistic; rich and very ripe, liquorice, black cherry, dense and then the oak, toasty; but can’t mask the voluptuousness here. Oak on the palate too but plenty of fruit to soak it up – blackcurrant, cassis and liquorice notes. Very big and chewy but it works for me. Great density and alcohol [exactly how much I forgot to ask] but lashings of fruit. 94-96+/100 Tasted 6 April 2011 UGC.
  • 2009 Rouge Dense and deep looking; dense red fruits with meaty tones beneath; very big and thick; this has calmed down a bit since primeur tastings; fresh and rich palate; vibrant, bright and  seductive; lots of depth. Remarkable stuff. 96+/100 UGC Oct ’11 [Earlier] Dense and concentrated; attractive fragrance; floral and pretty with good underscore of oak; best nose here, the most flattering; palate sweet and ripe and pretty with lots of perfume; power behind; little hard at present but will round out. Excellent. Seductive. The classic iron fist in a velvet glove. 94-95+/100 Tasted 31st March 2010
  • 2008 Very dense and saturated in colour; as sexy on the nose as Mouton in it’s way; very layered and very showy; this wine is fabulous and irresistible; inky layers on the palate with sweet oak; ripe, earthy notes too; lots and lots of layers here. This is really well done. Lots of extract and length. One of the wines of the vintage surely? 94+ [Earlier] Deep opaque, tight to the rim, lovely nose, sweet violets, blackcurrants and sexy oak; some coffee and mocha notes too, wonderfully seductive; palate intense and concentrated with layer upon layer of fruit; blackcurrants by the bucket load and sweet oak, tannin but very ripe. Fabulous and very showy. I’m certainly seduced. 94-96+/100
  • 2007 Deep, saturated colour; earthy, deep but round – blackcurrants, undergrowth and cassis; leaft tones too; some coffee/espresso from the oak; layered and plush palate, very flattering [as usual] quite opne; dry tannin but it works because there’s plenty of fruit. Very effort for the vintage and nice length. 92+/100

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