Last week Robert Parker released a teaser that he had given eight, 100 point scores for the great 2010 vintage, one of which was a wine that had never received 100 points. Many speculated that this would be Pichon Baron, sending the price skyward. However, the triumph of the vintage turned out to be Pape Clement, a wine he originally scored 93-95+. ‘I certainly underrated the 2010 Pape Clement from barrel, rating it only 93-95+. (Thank God I put a “plus” there!) Having tasted it four times in Bordeaux, and rating it perfect three times and 99 the fourth time, this final blend of 51% Merlot, 47.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1.5% Petit Verdot is perfection in a bottle’. Robert Parker
Tipping the scales at 14.5% natural alcohol, there are 8,000 cases of it. Its sublime elegance, the power, the medium to full-bodied texture, the silky tannins, the subtle notes of smoke, lead pencil shavings, black currants, charcoal, camphor, blueberry and cassis fruit are all remarkable. It is a rich, full-throttle wine, but the elegance and the great terroir of Pape Clement come through in abundance. It is slightly more developed and evolved than the 2005 was at a similar point in its evolution, but it certainly needs another 5-7 years to develop further nuances, which it surely will. This wine will last 30-40+ years. Robert Parker
Chateau Pape Clement has the distinction of being the oldest clearly identifiable vineyard in Bordeaux. The property was planted in 1300 by Berald de Goth and presented to his brother Bertrand upon his appointment as Archbishop of Bordeaux. Bertrand became Pope Clement V in 1306 and gifted the vineyard to the incoming Archbishop, Cardinal Arnaud de Canteloup. The estate remained property of the church until the revolution and was sold a number of times in the following years.
Jean-Baptiste Clerc assumed ownership in 1858 and the Chateau flourished, commanding the same prices as the Medoc’s second growth wines. After a long period of decline, Paul Montagne purchased the ailing estate in 1939 and in partnership with winemaker Emile Peynaud managed to turn its fortunes around. Since 1985, the property has been producing top class wine under Montagne’s son and Bernard Magrez with the famous Michel Rolland as a consultant.
The estate is capable of producing First Growth quality wines in great vintages, scoring 96 points in 2000, 98 in 2005 and 95 in 2009. The 2010 vintages has now cemented it once again as one of the great estates in Bordeaux. It has long be considered the 3rd best wine in Pessac-Leognan, behind Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion.