|Subregion||France > Bordeaux > Left Bank > Pessac-Léognan|
Owner Bernard Magrez has made serious investments here since the late 1990s 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 1980s and before. The 42 hectares are planted with 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and 55% Merlot.
The 2021 Pape Clément exhibits notions of sweet berries and cherries mingled with rich aromas of espresso roast, black truffles, toasty new oak and loamy soil. Medium to full-bodied, deep and quite extracted in style, it's a rich, fleshy wine that gained in integration and harmony over the the three weeks I spent in Bordeaux. Tasted three times.
The 2021 Pape Clément was picked from 28 September until 14 October matured for a planned 18 months in 90% French oak and 10% in the foudres introduced in 2018. It is a completely diametrically opposite style to the previous vintages, partly a result of Michel Rolland handing the reins over to his right-hand man, Julien Vilaud, who has always had a different winemaking philosophy. On the nose: blackberry, sous-bois and cedar, not austere yet certainly a more reserved style. The palate is framed by quite gritty tannins, fine acidity, fresh and saline with modest depth on the finish that feels a little austere. Tasted several times, this is a fascinating, perhaps divisive Pape-Clément that might throw a few accustomed to its style of yore. One you have to get to really understand.
The 2021 is a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep ruby. The nose is dominated by wood spice for now, showing smoky barbecue, baking spices and liquorice. Briary fruit comes through on the palate, which finds better balance. This remains a smoky, dense, powerful wine that has attempted bold richness and structure. For now, it remains somewhat awkward, but there is fruit underneath that may well flesh out with elevage. The long finish suggests it may get there, but it will be a wine for those who like their Pessac with muscle and oak extract.
Pape made a very finely crafted and elegant wine this vintage, with plenty of berry, spice and earth character. Medium-bodied. Savory and lightly spicy on the finish. Creamy tannins.
The 2021 Pape Clement rouge is composed of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, harvested from 28 September to 14 October, aging for about 18 months in French oak, 60% new, and 10% in foudres. Deep garnet-purple colored, it bounds out of the glass with bold notes of baked black plums, black cherry compote, and cassis, plus suggestions of wild sage, pencil lead, and tilled soil. Medium-bodied, the palate has a solid backbone of firm, grainy tannins and appealing freshness to support the pure black fruits, finishing with a skip in its step.
Confident extraction, pushing the vintage a little more than most have done, but Pape Clement is on warm soils close to the centre of Bordeaux, and got more natural ripeness. It will still stand out as savoury in future vertical of the property, but this has tannic weight along with juicy and delicious damson, blueberry, slate, pencil lead and liqourice flavours. Has a sense of careful progression and build through the palate. Tasted twice.
60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. Cask sample.
Ridiculously heavy bottle! Not much nose. Thick palate that almost seems to be fizzing. Then nothing much on the pinched finish. There seems to have been a (rather unsuccessful) attempt at concentration which has left an unbalanced wine with a hole in the middle.
Drink 2027 – 2040