2009 Chateau Pape Clement
Region: Pessac Leognan
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.
Château Pape Clément is a grand cru wine estate in the Pessac-Léognan appellation in Graves. It is one of the oldest estates in Bordeaux, dating back to the 13th Century, and is now just 15 minutes from the center of Bordeaux city, and surrounded by urban development.
The Pape Clément vineyard is situated on a mix of gravel-sand and clay-limestone soils, with a chalky subsoil rich in iron. This is a good terroir for both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Château Pape Clément produces three pairs of red and white wines, including the grands vins. Le Clémentin du Pape Clément is the second label. Le Prélat de Pape Clément is not the third wine, but instead comes from a distinct 8.5 hectare (21-acre) plot.
The grand vin red features about 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, nearly as much Merlot, and a dash of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Its white counterpart is based on Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. This also contains about five percent Sauvignon Gris, plus a dash of Muscadelle. Grapes undergo an initial sorting in the vineyard and are manually picked into small crates. Red grapes are removed from the stems by hand to keep grapes intact as long as possible. They are fermented in large, temperature controlled vats and then are aged in barrel. The grand vin sees 18 months in new French oak. The white grand vin is fermented in, then aged for 18 months, in oak barrels.
The château takes its name from its founder, Betrand de Got, who was the Archbishop of Bordeaux and became Pope Clément V in 1305. It is currently part of the Bernard Magrez group of estates
99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Medium to deep garnet colored, the 2009 Pape Clement struts flamboyantly out of the glass, featuring beautifully opulent preserved black fruits, Morello cherries and Chinese five spice with underlying notions of truffles, iron ore and tobacco plus a waft of sandalwood. Full-bodied, the voluptuous fruit has a firm foundation of super ripe, grainy tannins and bags of freshness supporting layer upon layer of black fruit, exotic spices and earth-laced flavors, finishing very long. (LPB) (3/2019)
98 points James Suckling
Wonderful aromas of plums and blueberries and flowers. Full-bodied with plums, stones, hazelnuts and milk chocolate, and a long, long finish. Marvelous. Best ever. (8/2012)
96 points Jeb Dunnuck
Continuing to drink beautifully (my last bottle was a handful of years ago), the 2009 Château Pape Clément offers mature notes of blackcurrants, chocolate, cedar pencil, and loamy earth. It shows the ripe, sexy style of the vintage, yet most of its baby fat has melted away and it's showing a beautiful sense of elegance as well as classic Graves smoky, tobacco, and earthy aromas and flavors. Enjoy this beautiful, elegant wine any time over the coming 25+ years. (11/2020)
95 points Decanter
An early-ripening and generous wine in an early-ripening and generous year, this is full of the exuberance that it demonstrated when young. The terroir is starting to exert its influence now, with a lovely pull back on the finish as the tannins step up. It's still youthful and buttoned down but the fruit is exotically ripe and really starting to come into its prime, with traces of heavy black pepper spice. Extremely good quality, if vintage led. (JA) (2/2019)
95 points Wine Enthusiast
This is a richly structured wine with beautiful perfumes emanating from the bouquet. The rich, stalky texture is balanced by the flavors of dark chocolate and black currant jelly. It's big, ripe and full of potential, a fine balance between opulence and ageworthiness. *Cellar Selection* (RV) (9/2012)