The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.
Château Pape Clément's red wines are vinified in oak casks. This favors uniform fermentation, unlike steel vats which are prone to temperature variations. Maintained between 29 and 30°C during fermentation, then between 27 and 29°C during maceration after fermentation, moderate temperatures allow for gentle extraction of tannins and color. Before the wine is drawn off, fermentation varies between 20 and 35 days depending on the evolution of taste in each vat.Hand harvested in small crates with initial sorting in the vineyard. Grapes hand-picked from clusters. Aged for 18 months in new French-oak barrels.
The 1960s ushered in an era of technological advances. Steel tanks and temperature control were new phenomena. Latour followed the lead of La-Mission-Haut-Brion and installed steel tanks at its vineyards in 1964. New vines were planted and irrigation systems were installed on the plantations. Changes were also made in the structure of the wine trade, as vineyard bottling became mandatory in 1969.
The long-standing use of négociants had come to an end. During the 1960s the popularity of Bordeaux had also increased and interest in Bordeaux wines expanded beyond the borders of the dominant market England. The new market situation made English merchants work hard to ensure that the wines would remain affordable, even in the future. As a result, companies such as Harvey’s of Bristol and the Pearson Group acquired Delor and Château Latour, respectively.
1966 also saw the advent of an institution that had a significant impact on Bordeaux’s wine trade. Michael Broadbent MW resurrected the Wine Department at Christie’s, which had been closed for decades. It had been precisely two hundred years before—in 1766—that Christie’s held the very first wine auction in the world. The timing couldn’t have been better. The market was on the rise and those who invested their money in wines at that time would later see a manifold return on their investment. Bordeaux´s finest wines were already then the main attraction; they are still today, accounting for some 70% of all wine transactions.
In terms of vintages the 1960s are generally considered to be weaker than previous decades. The decade only saw one outstanding year – 1961. This was, together with the 1945, one of the most legendary vintages to come out of Bordeaux. In addition to the 1961, other good vintages were the 1962, 1964 and1966, all of which produced excellent wines. 1967 was the exception in Sauternes, where one of its finest vintages of the century was produced.
1961 was to become the decade’s and one of the century’s most adored vintages of Bordeaux red wines. Despite a frost in March, the growing season started on time and well. The frost combined with weak pollination caused by poor weather reduced the crop volume significantly. July’s rains gave way to drier weather in August, and September bathed Bordeaux in beautiful sunshine. The grapes were small, thick-skinned and extremely concentrated, much as they were in 1928 and 1945. However, unlike these earlier vintages, the vineyard now had at its disposal new technologies and equipment, which made it possible for the wines to be produced with greater subtlety, thus avoiding such problems as excessive tannicity. On the whole, excellent wines, both red and white, were produced in Bordeaux. Even though the vintage was a red, very good dry whites and Sauternes were also produced. The reds are eminently drinkable right now, although the Château Latour vintage will just get better with age.
Some of the more incredible drinking experiences were had with the Château Pétrus and Château Palmer, Haut-Brion and La-Mission-Haut-Brion, and Château Margaux. These wines all shared an uncommon elegance and balance, not to mention a massive rise in price in recent years. The finest wines should be decanted for at least 2-3 hours before drinking. This is also one of those rare years, during which wholesaler bottling is almost qualitatively on a par with vineyard bottling, even if the price points are not
1961 - the greatest Bordeaux vintage of all time?
I am writing this during the primeur campaign and I notice that Bordeaux château owners and merchants have been exceptionally quiet this year. I've been following this part of the market remotely for almost 30 years now and have been told about a lot of the "vintages of the century". Once wines are bottled and sold or vice versa, as is the case in Bordeaux, these claims tend to be changed.
Who are the serious contenders for the title of “The Greatest Vintage Ever”?
During the 19th century there were a number of vintages with great reputations made from pre-phylloxera vines. These include the legendary "Vintage Comet" 1811, 1864, 1865, 1870, 1893, 1895 and 1899. Most are too old for anyone now alive to have tasted them in their prime.
During the 20th century, claims were raised for the vintages 1900, 1921, 1929, 1945, 1947, 1949 (by me), 1959, 1961, 1982, 1989 and 1990.In the current century already three of the eight vintages produced – 2000, 2003 and 2005 – were mentioned by an overly excited press as candidates for the title, as well as the superb duo - 2009 and 2010.
In the book “The 1,000 Best Wines Ever Made” 1961 is the Bordeaux vintage most often mentioned, with 22 châteaux. 1945 is mentioned 19 times, 1947 16 times, 1982 14 times and 1959 13 times.
What is the definition of a great wine?
It’s a wine that has an extra dimension giving you an unforgettable drinking experience – in other words, a “Wow!” effect. ". It is a wine that has a long drinking life. It should be good to drink young, but it should also be able to age for a long time without losing its appeal. A good vintage produces wines that meet these requirements.
A great vintage, however, is equally good in all major regions of Bordeaux, both on the left bank and the right bank. It’s also a vintage where something special was produced in every appellation, from the lowest Cru Bourgeois to the most powerful Premier Cru.
1961 meets these requirements better than any other vintage.
This was the vintage where the most incompetent winemaker simply couldn't make a bad wine and the wines drank very well at an early stage; In most cases, they still do this today.
Some extremely impressive wines were produced in 1945, but these came primarily from the Left Bank and many of the wines had excessively high tannin levels, making them increasingly dry as they aged.
1947 produced the most amazing Right Bank wines, but many Left Bank wines had problems with volatile acidity.
1959 has produced a number of wines that are on the same level and sometimes even a bit higher than the corresponding '61, and some experienced wine critics like Michel Bettane prefer 1959 to 1961. But 1959 does not have the same consistent quality at all levels.
1982 undoubtedly produced a lot of very impressive wines but I have the impression that the Right Bank wines lack structure and have not aged very well and that very few Margaux and Médoc wines have had a great success. The twin vintages of 1989 and 1990, or 2009 and 2010 may come closest in overall quality, but it is still too early to judge their aging capabilities.
What made 1961 so special?
It was a very small harvest, the smallest since World War II. This was partly due to coulure (cold weather at flowering) and in some parts due to frost on the night of May 30-31, together reducing the yield per plant to about a third of the usual size at that time. period (which, compared to today's harvests, seems tiny). This concentrated the minerals and power of the vine among the few remaining grapes and was the reason for the success of minor châteaux, which would normally produce much higher yields than would be good for their wines.
August and September were hot and extremely dry. This drought meant that maturation took longer than the 100 days usually prescribed. The harvest was delayed until September 22, but benefited from perfect conditions. Thanks to better aging techniques, winemakers avoid the harsh tannins of 1945 and the volatility of 1947. The wines have a very deep color, an attractive nose and a ripe, concentrated and full-bodied fruitiness, with sufficient tannins and acidity to give the wines structure and freshness.
I organized a large tasting of over sixty years from 1961 to 1989 and all the wines were very good, even from small châteaux