Very dark with bright purple glints. At first a bit dumb, but then more jam than oak on the nose; light vanilla and cream tones with plenty of delicious blackberry and raspberry fruit. Very dark, liquoricey fruit on the palate, with big tannins; long, deep and rich, with sweet concentration on finish. Very good.
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.
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.