The site on which Chateau Pape Clement stands was first planted in 1300 by Berald de Goth and presented to his brother Bertrand upon his appointment as Archbishop of Boredaux, making it the oldest identifiable vineyard in Bordeaux. Six years later Bertrand became Pope Clement V and gifted the vineyard to the incoming Archbishop, Cardinal Arnaud de Canteloup. The estate remained the property of the church until the French Revolution, after which it was sold several times before Jean-Baptiste Clerc assumed ownership in 1858. Under Clerc’s command Chateau Pape Clement flourished and the wines reached prices on par with the Medoc’s Second Growths. Then followed a long period of decline before Paul Montagne bought the estate in 1939 in partnership with winemaker Emile Peynaud. The pair turned the Chateau’s fortunes around. Montagne’s son has been running the estate since 1985 with Michel Rolland acting as consultant and Chateau Pape Clement continue to produce top class wines.

The ’Pyrenean gravel layer’ is one of the oldest alluvial terraces and this, alongside the thin layer of Garonne gravel deposited a million and a half years ago, contribute to the originality of Chateau Pape Clement’s wines. The estate has 60 hectares of vineyards that are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon (60%), Merlot (40%) and small amounts of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle. All the grapes are harvested by hand and the initial sorting is performed on the vine. A manual sorting then takes place in the cellar in order to select only the grapes that are at optimal ripeness. Each plot is vinified separately in order to respect the complexity of their micro-terroir. The Chateau’s Grand Vin is aged for 18 months in 70% new oak barrels. Their second wine, Le Clementin, spends 12 months in 30% new oak. During the revised classification of Graves in 1959, Chateau Pape Clement achieved Premier Cru status, and retains this despite becoming part of the Pessac-Leognan appellation in 1987 after the division of Graves.

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