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Pape Clément 2012

Subregion France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pessac-Léognan
Grape VarietyMerlot/Cabernet Sauvignon

View all vintages of this wine | View all wines by Château Pape Clément


Tasting Notes

The iconic 2012 Pape Clement is a candidate for near-perfection as well as one of the wines of the vintage. From proprietor Bernard Magrez, this is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. This extraordinary vineyard (a few miles to the west of Haut Brion and La Mission Haut Brion) has hit all the highlights of this vintage. Interestingly, the quality of the Pomerols and Graves wines in 2012 is closer to what one would consider a great vintage than the general image of 2012. This is truly great wine and not far off their magnificent 2005 and 2010. Full-bodied, with rich cassis, subtle burning embers and spice followed by velvety, well-integrated tannins, the wine is lush, expansive, savory and profound. This is a remarkable wine that could be drunk at a reasonably young age, but should cellar brilliantly for a quarter-century. Yields were modest at 37 hectoliters per hectare from this 132-acre estate. The alcohol level came in at 13.5%. Drink 2015-2040.

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (218), April 2015

Tasted from a barrel sample at en primeur. The Grand Vin is a blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Sauvignon that was cropped between 4th and 18th October at 37hl/ha. There is a lot of oak to be absorbed on the nose, although there appears to be plenty of brambly dark berry fruit to soak it up. It is slightly broody compared to the 2011 last year and will hopefully open up after bottling. The palate is medium-bodied with grainy, plump, ripe tannins and crisp acidity. It is harmonious and focused, good volume here, with a strict finish that displays good tension, although there is a slight dryness coming through on the aftertaste. Tasted April 2013.

Neal Martin, RobertParker.com, May 2013

This is rich and decadent with lots of wet earth, tobacco, berries and hints of cedar. Full body, round and velvety tannins and a long, long finish. Better in 2018.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, February 2015

Tertiary notes of leather, earth, truffle, blueberry and raspberry fruits. Enjoyable, but more evolved than the last time I tasted this vintage ex-cellar. It's an enjoyable wine, soft and sappy, and easy to recommend. 100% new oak, Michel Rolland consultant.

Jane Anson, JaneAnson.com, March 2022

Very intense dark purplish crimson. Super-clean refreshing-but-ripe black fruit aromas. Sweet palate entry and then rather refreshing and muscular. For the moment it's all ripe sweetness but it has the constitution for giving immense pleasure. All the constituents are in the right balance and the finish is most refreshing. Drink 2019-2032

Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com, April 2013

Deep purple in the glass. The nose is ripe and rich with blackcurrant fruit, coconut, and nutmeg. A real blockbuster nose. The palate follows in the same vein, with a dense, opulent core of ripe black fruits. The tannins are ripe and in balance with the smoky oak and full bodied texture. There is a saturating intensity to the fruit that lingers on the long finish. A real powerhouse of the vintage.

Farr Vintners, Farr Tasting, June 2015

Densely packed, with lots of dark steeped currant, fig and blackberry
fruit, slowly melding with muscular licorice snap, bramble,
singed bay and ganache notes. The long, dark, ganache-coated
finish isn't shy, but an enticing rusticity keeps this honest. A largescaled
wine that has really powered up since the barrel tasting.
Best from 2018 through 2027.

James Molesworth, Wine Spectator Insider, January 2015

The nose is full and fat with lots of sweet fruit and the ripeness of the flavours gives a rich feel on the start of the palate. The mid palate is fresher with bilberry and bramble and the tannins are quite obvious. Sweetness is there at the back giving the finish a fleshy richness. 2020-35.

Derek Smedley MW, April 2013

A wine to admire rather than drink, at least in my view, this is super oaky, super dense and
slightly cakey on the palate, with a hint of over-ripeness, even in a year like 2012. It's a very
serious, inky blend with lots of concentration, but I can't help thinking it would taste better if
it had been picked a few days earlier.
Drink: 2020-30

Tim Atkin MW, timatkin.com, April 2013
Read more tasting notes...

The 2012 Pape Clement is one of the stars of the vintage, which is not surprising given this estate's performances over the last 10-15 years. A blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, it exhibits an opaque ruby/purple color along with a beautifully sweet, graphite-scented nose with hints of black currants, Asian plum sauce, soy and forest floor. Impressively built with medium to full-bodied flavors, it has more layers than many wines from this vintage, an appealing density and a velvety texture.

Yields were a modest 37 hectoliters per hectare and the wine finished at 13.5% natural alcohol. This 132-acre estate has once again produced a prodigious wine in a challenging vintage. Bravo to proprietor Bernard Magrez!

Robert Parker, Wine Advocate (206), April 2013

This is already a gorgeous wine with spices, berries, dark chocolate and walnuts. Full body, soft and silky. Beauty. Better than 2011.

James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, April 2013

Owner Bernard Magrez has made serious investments here since the late 1990's and recent vintages have been outstanding thanks to extremely low yields, labour-intensive sorting of grapes and modern wine-making techniques. Prices are moving up at Pape Clément but so is the quality, which bears no relation at all to the weedy wines of the early 1980's and before. The 42 hectares are planted with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot. There is intense ripeness on the nose here with attractive cassis and opulent vanilla and spice. Intense on the palate with genuine ripeness and a sexy, rounded, supple style. Silky tannins and touches of kirsch, coconut cream and cherries. Smooth and impressive without being extracted.

Farr Vintners, March 2013
Please note that these tasting notes/scores are not intended to be exhaustive and in some cases they may not be the most recently published figures. However, we always do our best to add latest scores and reviews when these come to our attention. We advise customers who wish to purchase wines based simply on critical reviews to carry out further research into the latest reports.