|France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pessac-Léognan
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. Quality bears no relation to the weedy wines of the early 1980's and before. The 42 hectares are planted with 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 55% Merlot.
The 2016 Pape Clément bursts out of the glass, offering ripe blackberry, raspberry coulis, fresh mint and hints of licorice on the well-defined nose. It is perhaps a little more opulent than its peers, but unlike in the past, I don’t find it excessive. The palate is well balanced with supple tannin. There is a killer line of acidity and real panache toward a velvety, almost Pauillac-like finish armed with shimmering black fruit laced with graphite. Superb. Drink 2024-2050.
Stunning concentration of perfectly ripe blackcurrants here with a delicate whiff of vanilla oak and extremely fine tannins that are almost perfectly integrated on the seductive and delicate palate, right through the almost literally breathtaking, super-long and very polished finish. Try from 2022.
The 2016 Pape Clement has a deep garnet color. It features scents of vibrant baked plums and crème de cassis, with suggestions of garrigue, charcoal, forest floor, and violets. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is laden with juicy black fruits, supported by velvety tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and spicy.
Pape Clément retains its customary oak and black fruit impact on the nose in 2016, but without doubt they have sculpted the body. This has thrillingly bright dark berry fruits and a sharp shot of vitality that takes you through from beginning to end. Beautiful touches of minerality on the powerful palate, wrought into an elegant style without losing its texture and sense of depth. This is a step-change in many ways from the vintages where Pape Clément went all-out for power.
Drinking Window 2027 - 2050
Tasted blind. Freshness and lots of fruit. Neat and racy with lots of mineral excitement.
Drink 2026 – 2042
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. Quality bears no relation to the weedy wines of the early 1980's and before. The 42 hectares are planted with 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 55% Merlot. A 50:50 blend in 2016, with the second wine 73% Merlot. A very deep colour for the vintage, with a classic sweet smoke, incense and clove spice nose underneath pure black cherry. The palate is rich and chewy, dense in both fruit, tannins and oak, presenting as a modern but not over-extracted style. Sweet vanilla and cinnamon, kirsch and blackcurrant and just a hint of cedar. The fruit gets a lift of a acidity at the finish, offering savoury scorched earth and flowers as an additional layer. A well made wine, true to the Pape Clement style.
Tasted on two separate occasions, the 2016 Château Pape Clément never failed to disappoint, offering a huge, powerful, full-bodied personality as well as beautiful notes of cassis, graphite, high-class cigar tobacco, asphalt, and graphite. About as sexy as it gets in the vintage, with silky tannins and loads of fruit, it’s perfectly balanced and has a great finish. The 2016 is a blend of 60% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the balance Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, all raised in 60% new barrels. Drink 2022-2047.
Sweet ripe fruit the nose has depth the palate fleshy black fruits mid richness. Lighter at the back there is an underlying freshness the finish is quite tight and lacking a bit of length. 2025-38
This is the best young Pape-Clément I’ve tasted for a long time, partly thanks to the vintage conditions, which made it hard to produce ultra-ripe wines. The oak is better integrated, too, complementing the rich, glossy, spicy fruit flavours and refreshing acidity. 2022-30
The 2016 Pape Clement is a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon this year, picked from 30 September until 19 October at 48 hectoliters per hectare. The first bottle that I tasted with Bernard Magrez and his team felt a little overdone, but I had a strong suspicion that it was not a representative bottle. A second bottle was more restrained on the nose with blackberries, red plum, a touch of cloves and a light iodine influence. I love the delineation and detail here. The palate is medium-bodied with a graphite-infused entry, plenty of black fruit, saline in the mouth with great depth and cohesion on the long and tender finish. It continues Pape-Clement/Bernard Magrez' move towards a more classic style compared to the previous decade. Tasted four times, once as I mentioned, unnecessarily richer in style, but the other three consistent. Drink 2024-2050.
This is phenomenal with a density and finesse that are hard to remember for this wine. Full-bodied, tight and polished. Seamless texture and salty undertones. Goes on for minutes. Truly great. What a barrel sample.
Blended of 60% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, the 2016 Pape Clement has a deep garnet-purple color and quite a serious, earthy nose with truffles, tilled soil, underbrush and smoked meats over a cassis, baked plums and redcurrants core plus a touch of lavender. Medium to full-bodied, firm and grainy, the palate is built like a brick house, supporting muscular black fruit and earthy notions and finishing very long and mineral laced. Drink 2022-2042.
Very luscious nose with enormous opulence. Then on the palate there is no great sweetness but drying tannins on the finish. Something not quite fully ripe phenolically on the palate. Hint of greenness. Falls away on the end. It’s definitely front-loaded!