Château Pape Clément, Grand Cru Classé, Pessac Léognan, 2012

  Château Pape Clément

Bernard Magrez's flagship estate in the suburbs of Pessac, not far from the hallowed soils of Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion received a perfect score from Robert Parker in his re-review of the 2010 vintage. We'd be even more surprised if the 2012 repeats this feat, but there is much to admire here. A brooding bouquet of minerals, tar and petrol. There is a dark, mulberry, cassis fruit core; a little ripe and raisined but not OTT, with good supporting structure with a bit of tannic bite. There is an oily, mineral freshness and good supporting acidity too. Restrained hedonism.

Contains Sulphites.

About Château Pape Clément

Bernard Magrez’s flagship estate is ideally nestled in the suburbs of Bordeaux, close to the Rocade and not far away from Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion. The terroir is well respected, however, the Magrez style is sometimes criticised for over extraction. Indeed, the wines do sometimes appear thick when tasted from barrel, but there are many fans, none more influential than the American critic, Robert Parker. Of the 32.5 hectares of vineyards, 30 are planted with red varietals (60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot). The Pape Clement Blanc is produced from 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Semillon and 10% Muscadelle and unusually is fermented and aged in oak. As a result it is quite a distinctive style and has a niche following.

Appellation: Pessac-Léognan

The region has one first growth, Château Haut-Brion, whilst other renowned Chateaux currently doing well are La Mission-Haut-Brion, Pape-Clément, Smith-Haut-Lafitte and Haut-Bailly. Soils are gravely and well-drained and the plantations are similar in proportion to those of the Médoc, consisting mostly of Cabernet Sauvignon with some Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The region is also well known for its long-lived whites that can be varying blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon oaked or unoaked. The most lauded are Domaine de Chevalier, Haut-Brion, Pape-Clement, De Fieuzal, and Laville-Haut-Brion.

Grape Blend: Cab. Sauvignon | Merlot

A classic partnership. The stock left bank Bordeaux blend also used to good affect in the New World. Cabernet's, acidic, tannic complex qualities marry ideally with Merlot's sweet, softy flesh characteristics.