1999 Pape Clement

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Wine Critic Reviews for 1999 Pape Clement

No written review provided | 92 W&S
The stunning1999 Pape Clement is a blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon and 46% Merlot. The wine is performing better from bottle than it did from cask. There is a fabulous bouquet of smoke, blueberries, raspberry cassis, and liquid minerals. This is a medium to full-bodied, layered, concentrated wine with no hard edges. As it sat in the glass, additional aromas of cedar wood, graphite, and cigar smoke emerged. This is a classic, sexy, knock-out Pessac-Leognan with a surprisingly dense, rich style for a 1999. Anticipated maturity: 2003-2018.

Robert Parker | 91 RP

Wine Details on 1999 Pape Clement

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Producer 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.
Region Bordeaux: 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!
Subregion Pessac-Leognan
Appellation Barbaresco
Climat/Vineyard Asili
Cru Premier Cru
Country France: Words fail us when trying to adequately portray France's place in the world of wine. It's downright impossible to imagine what wine would feel and taste like had it not been for France's many, many viticultural pioneers. Fine wine is the blood of France's vigorously beating heart, and it finds itself in many aspects of French culture. With a viticultural history that dates all the way back to the 6th century BC, France now enjoys its position as the most famous and reputable wine region on the planet. If you have a burning passion for masterfully crafted, mouth-watering, mind-expanding wines, then regular visits to France are probably already in your schedule, and for a good reason.
Type of Wine Bordeaux Red: 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
Varietal Red Bordeaux Blend: The inhabitants of the Bordeaux region of France have been cultivating wine-grapes for thousands of years. Ancient Roman ruins litter the vineyards from Saint Emilion to Graves where the art of blending Bordeaux varietals has been practiced and perfected over a very long history. Bordeaux’s climate, terroir and soils, though varied, provide the optimal growing conditions for the red grape varietals planted in the region.

Rarely listed on the labels as “blend,” the red wines of Bordeaux are perhaps the most artfully designed and celebrated in the world. The calculated art of blending the native Bordeaux varietals is impressively accomplished in the most famous winegrowing region in the world. The phrase Bordeaux Blend which seems to have been coined by British wine merchants in the 19th Century relates as much to wines made from the blend as to the grape variety combination itself.

Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec and occasionally Carmenere are the lead characters in the creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. Each plays a part in their own fashion and implemented in various combinations and percentages in each appellation within Bordeaux. Red Bordeaux Blends are majorly composed of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, roughly making up 90% of all Bordeaux Blends. Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (occasionally Carmenere) are also important components and vital to the production of the region’s red wines.

For simplicity, the winegrowing region of Bordeaux can be divided into three main appellations producing Red Bordeaux Blends; the Left Bank (Medoc), Right Bank and Pessac-Leognan (Graves). The Left Bank has a terroir comprised of a wide variety of gravel, stones, sand, limestone and clay soils on a natural terrain of gentle slopes. This sets the stage perfectly for the production of Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the dominant grape of the Left Bank. For example, Chateau Lafite (Paulliac) is composed of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Right Bank is dominated by clay and limestone with sand and gravel, but the clay in the Right Bank is distinctly its own and adds to the health, growth and vitality of the vines of the varietals grown here. Right Bank wines are typically 80% Merlot-based, which are often denser, richer and mature earlier than those of the Left Bank (with exceptions – Petrus for example). Merlot is a vital component to Pomerol winegrowing and making. Cabernet Franc also plays a major role in the Right Bank, most notably, in Saint Emilion, where the infamous vineyards of Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc are planted to 55% and 52% Cabernet Franc, respectively. Chateaux that produce wines with a majority of Cabernet Franc are considered “old school” producers, but have perfected the use of Cabernet Franc, which was originally used as a blending grape.

Pessac-Leognan (Graves) enjoys a temperate climate, natural hygrometry influenced by the ocean, and has a terroir composed of gravelly soil over a clay subsoil on sloping, hilly terrain. Natural drainage due to the hilly terrain as well as the gravelly soil structure are perfectly attuned to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape vine, which prospers under these conditions. Pessac reaps the benefits of having the terroir of both the Left and Right Bank as it contains gravel and clay. The clay sub-soil allows the growth and success of Merlot, as well as Cabernet Franc. It is home to the only First Growth not in the Medoc. The 50-hectare vineyard of Haut Brion is planted to 45.4% Merlot, 43.9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9.7% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot.

The percentage of Petit Verdot and Malbec may be lesser in quantity, but not in quality. They are vital to the region’s creation of Red Bordeaux Blends. The combination of Bordeaux varietals is legendary in the region, around the world and has influenced winegrowers worldwide to plant and vinify wines which resemble those of Red Bordeaux Blends.

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