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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.
Chateau Pape Clement is located in Pessac, near Bordeaux, and was named after its most famous owner: Pope Clement V.
Born in Villandraut in 1264, Bertrand de Goth was appointed Bishop of Comminges, in the Pyrenees, on March 28, 1295 and remained so until 1299, when he was appointed Archbishop of Bordeaux by the pope.
On that occasion, he received a Bordeaux vineyard as a gift, then known as the vineyard “de La Mothe” (a name referring to an elevated plot of land). The books of the archdiocese provide us with many details about Bertrand de Goth’s ever-present concern and his strong involvement in always getting the most rational and efficient equipment for both the vineyard and in the vat-house. His work was continued by the Church whose efforts made the property of Pope Clement a model estate.
On June 5, 1305, the cardinals met in a conclave at Perugia and chose Bertrand de Goth as a successor to Pope Benedict XI, who had died in 1304 after eleven months of reign. The new Pope decided to adopt the name of Clement V and chose to be crowned in Lyons.
In 1309, Clement V made his entrance to Avignon, the city where he had chosen to establish his papal court, thus breaking with Rome, then in the throes of struggles for power.
From 1305 to 1309, the Pope continued to manage the vineyard with all the care that made it so special. On December 12, 1309, his papal duties no longer allowing him to carry out this task, he decided to donate the estate to the Archbishop of Bordeaux, Arnaud de Canteloup. In Clement V’s mind, entrusting his vineyard to the Church of Bordeaux meant that he was passing it on to eternity, and allowing Pope Clement’s vines to flourish for centuries to come.
Over the long period during which Chateau Pape Clement was administered by the archdiocese, modernism and technological progress made it a pilot area, one of the peculiarities of which was its early harvest. We now know that this vineyard was one of the very first in France where it was decided to plant stocks in rows to facilitate ploughing. This was a major cultural revolution, as plants were previously scattered over the plots.
In the late eighteenth century, the Archbishop of Bordeaux was dispossessed of his property, and the vines that the Pope had left him five hundred years before fell into the public domain.
Owners succeeded one another and in turn had to fight against the various scourges that affected French vineyards in the late 19th century: powdery mildew, downy mildew and phylloxera.
Mention should be made of Jean Baptiste Clerc, a Bordeaux wine merchant, who acquired the property in 1858 and turned it into a model vineyard. He was the one who confirmed the reputation and the delicacy of Pape Clément’s wines, which were rewarded at the 1878 World Fair by the Gold Medal of the Society of Agriculture of the Gironde and the Great Medal of the Ministry of Agriculture, two highly coveted awards.
It was also he who built the Chateau that would then be remodelled by the heirs of the subsequent owner, Mr. Cinto, also a Bordeaux merchant, resulting in the building we now know.
On June 8, 1937, a violent hailstorm destroyed almost all of Château Pape Clément’s vineyard. Paul Montagne bought it in 1939 and as soon as the war was over, he concentrated on restoring it and giving it back its well-deserved rank.
Thanks to these efforts, Chateau Pape Clement was able to regain its brilliance and resist urbanisation and the increase in urban building in a town where there were only two thousand inhabitants and fifty winegrowers at the beginning of the century.
In the tradition of Paul Montagne, his descendants, Mr. Leo Montagne and currently Mr. Bernard Magrez, continue to use every possible means to ensure that the exceptional terroir of Château Pape Clement continues to thrive through time and to express the finesse which has made its wines so famous.
Right up there with 1947, 1961, and 2005, 2009 is a year of almost exaggeratedly (for Bordeaux) flamboyant, opulent wines with elevated ripeness and low acidity. The tannins are unusually ripe, while the wines are quite voluptuous in style. The Left Bank recorded more sunlight hours than legendary vintages such as 1947 and 1982, and grapes had higher sugar concentrations than 2003 and 2005. The key was significant diurnal temperature swings that allowed grapes to handle the hot daytime temperatures. An exceptional vintage across the board.