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2016 Pape Clement

2016 Pape Clement

96 RP

Featured Review
Blended of 60% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, the 2016 Pape Clement has a deep garnet-purple color and quite a serious, earthy nose with truffles, tilled soil, underbrush and smoked meats over a cassis, baked plums and redcurrants core plus a touch of lavender. Medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy, the palate is built like a brick house, supporting muscular black fruit and earthy notions and finishing very long and mineral laced. Robert Parker Wine Advocate

Robert Parker | 96 RP

Critic Reviews

Stunning concentration of perfectly ripe blackcurrants here with a delicate whiff of vanilla oak and extremely fine tannins that are almost perfectly integrated on the seductive and delicate palate, right through the almost literally breathtaking, super-long and very polished finish. Try from 2022.

James Suckling | 98 JS
Tasted on two separate occasions, the 2016 Château Pape Clément never failed to impress, offering a huge, powerful, full-bodied personality as well as beautiful notes of cassis, graphite, high-class cigar tobacco, asphalt, and graphite. About as sexy as it gets in the vintage, with silky tannins and loads of fruit, it’s perfectly balanced and has a great finish. The 2016 is a blend of 60% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, all raised in 60% new barrels.

Jeb Dunnuck | 97 JD
The 60ha of vineyards are situated on an ancient alluvial terrace topped by a thin layer of more recent Garonne gravel. The winery’s 28 wooden fermentation vats correspond to individual parcels, and the grand vin red (in 2016, equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) is aged for 18 months in 70% new oak barrels. Andy Howard MW: Intriguing wine with an extra layer of aromatics. Floral, leafy, a touch herbal. Great purity allied with fresh acidity and integrated oak. A very fine Pessac. Robert Mathias: A brooding nose, coffee, cedar and dried tobacco. Broad structure with black cherry fruit. Tannins very fine, some warmth on the finish. Tim Triptree MW: Hedonistic aromatics of ripe black cherry, plum and blackberry, complex notes of smoke and cedar, leather, dried meats, tobacco and cinnamon spice. Opulent, ripe, great balance and length. Harmonious, ageworthy Pessac. (Drink between 2022-2040)

Decanter | 96 DEC
Blended of 60% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, the 2016 Pape Clement has a deep garnet-purple color and quite a serious, earthy nose with truffles, tilled soil, underbrush and smoked meats over a cassis, baked plums and redcurrants core plus a touch of lavender. Medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy, the palate is built like a brick house, supporting muscular black fruit and earthy notions and finishing very long and mineral laced.

Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96 RP
The 2016 Pape Clément is fabulous. Racy and sumptuous in the glass, the 2016 captures the style that now characterizes Bernard Magrez’s wines from his estate in Pessac. Specifically, the 2016 is wonderfully deep in the glass, and yet retains terrific freshness as well. A rush of dark cherry, plum, smoke, scorched earth, grilled herb, leather and menthol builds as the 2016 shows off its compelling, inviting personality. I would prefer to give the 2016 at least a few years in bottle to allow its full breadth of aromatics to develop. Even so, there is so much to like. Pliant, supple and super-expressive, Pape Clément is gorgeous in 2016. Tasted two time

Antonio Galloni | 96 AG
This takes a slightly different tack than many of its Pessac colleagues, relying less on bramble and tar and more on alluring toast, with mocha, anise, wood spice and black tea notes draped liberally over the core of sappy kirsch and cherry preserve flavors. Plush and suave through the finish, though this needs a bit of time for the wood elements to be fully integrated with the fruit. For fans of the flashier, cashmere-textured style. Best from 2023 through 2037. 12,500 cases made.

Wine Spectator | 96 WS
This rich, warm wine offers tannins cushioned within layers of black fruits. It is dense with structure and fruit while also having the freshness and acidity typical of this vintage. The wine will age for several years, becoming richer and more opulent. Drink from 2025.

Wine Enthusiast | 95 WE

Wine Details for 2016 Pape Clement

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.

Country France : 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.

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 Left Bank
Appellation Pessac-Leognan


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.

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