1994 Pape Clement
John Gilman | 90 JG
Wine Details for 1994 Pape Clement
|Type of Wine||
: Picture in your mind a combination of cedar, lead pencil, blackcurrant, plum and mineral aromatics, and texture that caresses your palate like a playful lover. The experience is thrilling from the first whiff to the final seconds of a tannic, generous finish - that is what you'll get from a Bordeaux Red
: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
: Even among the greatest and most reputable wine regions on the planet, Bordeaux stands above the rest. The winemakers of this region have a single-minded dedication to the fine art of viticulture and their efforts never fail to show. If you consider yourself a fine wine enthusiast, you owe it to yourself to visit Bordeaux - life changing. Whether you wish to drink some inspirational and gripping wine as soon as possible, or you want to add some masterpieces to your collection, no region on Earth is a more obvious choice.
The noble and beautiful Garonne and Dordogne rivers surge through southwestern France, enriching the soil in a way very few other places can boast. The limestone-based earth is rich in calcium, and the almost oceanic climate conditions give the staple Bordeaux grape varietals vigor and flavor like nowhere else. For their illustrious reds, Bordeaux winemakers rely on a proven combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Meanwhile, a sip of their excellent white wine hints at the use of Semillon, Muscadelle and Sauvignon Blanc.Each of these varietals carries a unique identity, making every quality wine a character piece to rival Citizen Kane. It can be incredibly hard to choose only a few wines to collect for your cellar!
Chateau Pape Clement
: With a chateau as breathtaking as its wine, a debut harvest that took place in 1252 and once owned by the Pope, Chateau Pape Clement has a history like few others and is recognized as one of the oldest, Grand Crus in Bordeaux. The first harvest of this iconic Pessac Leognan estate in Graves unknowingly laid the foundations for an outstanding cultural heritage and the original birth of Chateau Pape Clement.
As Archbishop of Bordeaux, Bertrand de Goth was gifted the Vineyard de la Mothe in Pessac. His interest in wine was well known and this new endeavor led him to the joys of making Bordeaux wine. It was said that he could be found working in the vineyard and managing the chateau using the most sophisticated techniques of his day. He was elected as Pope in 1305 by the Cardinals and was renamed Clement V. In 1309 Pope Clement V moved the Papel Court to Avignon and was forced to relinquish his Bordeaux Vineyards, to which he gifted to the Archbishop of Bordeaux. In his honor, the property was renamed Chateau Pape Clement. It would remain in the faithful hands of each Archbishop after, following suit in Clement’s winemaking techniques as well as his teachings.
The modern era for Pape Clement began in 1939 when it was purchased by Paul Montagne. Montagne and his heirs worked tirelessly to renovate the estate, bringing the property back to the previous level of high quality Pape Clement was known for. The estate suffered immensely during the 1950’s when a massive hail storm destroyed much of the vineyard, requiring extensive replanting. After the death of Montagne, the estate was passed on to his children.
By 1975, two families owned Pape Clement; 80% being owned by the Bobeau family and the remaining 20% belonging to the wife of Bernard Magrez and descendant of Paul Montagne. Magrez began purchasing shares of the vineyard and by 1980 became the sole owner. He remains firmly in charge of Pape Clement as well as 42 other wineries throughout Bordeaux and numerous wine-producing countries around the world. In 1993, Michel Rolland was brought in to consult and under the direction of Magrez, the wines of Pape Clement have never been better.
The 60-hectare vineyard has 53 hectares designated to vines for red wines, while 7 are designated for whites. The yields are kept low, riper fruit is being picked and there is a rigorous selection process. The vines used to source the reds are planted to 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 47% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. The whites are comprised of 7 hectares planted to 48.5% Semillon, 44.5% Sauvignon Blanc, 5.5% Sauvignon Gris and 1.5% Muscadelle. Since taking control of Pape Clement, Magrez has focused much emphasis on the production of his white wines, bringing them to a highly desirable quality.
The closest neighbor is Chateau Haut Brion and though Pape Clement is located closer to the city of Bordeaux, it has a slightly cooler micro-climate and is usually harvested several days to a week later than that of Haut Brion. The terroir is a complex blend of gravel, clay, small rocks and sandy soils, with a substructure of clay, sandstone and limestone. Typically, Cabernet Sauvignon is planted where the soil is mostly gravel, while Merlot is planted in the heavier clay portions. The terroir for the white wine grapes is mostly gravel, clay, sand and limestone and located in the cooler sections of the vineyard.
While animal traction is used in the vineyard rows, whether it be horse and plow or most notably oxen, the estate also implements rather sophisticated techniques for vineyard management. The vineyard managers enlist the help of drones, named Vitirover, powered by solar energy to maneuver the vineyards inspecting specific parcels and vines. The drones take continuous images, using infra-red technology which capture the photosynthesis taking place in the vines. This surprising feat enables them to have a very precise understanding of what is taking place in each parcel from growing season to harvest. The degree of care and attention lavished on the vineyards are simply extraordinary. Since taking control of Pape Clement, Bernard Magrez has endeavored to pay his respects to it daily and to glorify this magnificent property which has witnessed part of France’s history.
In addition to Chateau Pape Clement and Pape Clement Blanc, there is a red and white Clementin De Pape Clement as well as Le Prelat De Pape Clement which serve as the second and third wines, respectively. On average, a total of 20,000 cases of red wine is produced each year, while 2,000 cases of whites are produced.