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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.
The 2011 vintage is not easy to handle.
Smith Haut Lafitte not only makes great white and red wine from Bordeaux in Pessac Léognan, they are also at the cutting edge of technology. They were one of the first Bordeaux wine producers to begin using optical sorting, which came in handy with the difficult 2011 Bordeaux harvest. Fabien Teitgen, long-time general manager, joined us for a long detailed conversation about what happened at Smith Haut Lafitte for the 2011 Bordeaux vintage.
“In my opinion, 2011 is balanced with a low pH and a medium alcohol level. So for those who picked at the right time, their wines will be balanced, with good concentration and good freshness. This vintage is not so easy to handle. »
Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe, began its 2011 Bordeaux harvest on Monday, September 5.
Jean Guillaume Prats told us that 2011 set a modern record for an early start to their harvest at Château Cos d’Estournel. He added: “It was the second earliest harvest on record. To find an earlier date, we had to go back to 1893! » Although the precise date to begin picking was not set in stone, the original plan was not to begin their Bordeaux harvest on September 5. But due to a ferocious storm that swept through the region, the massive 2011 Bordeaux storm hit the northern Médoc, any hope of waiting has gone out the window. “We had initially planned to start around September 9, with the young vines. After the storm, we gave ourselves time over the weekend to assess the situation and make the appropriate decision: wait and see how it will evolve in the coming days depending on the weather. We are “lucky” that this vintage is extremely early. The damage in terms of phenolic maturity of the grapes should be very minor. If it was a later year, like 2008, 2009 or 2010, the effects would be much worse.
" said Prats
The day starts before sunrise
Château Haut Brion and Château La Mission Haut Brion began harvesting their young Merlot vines on August 29. It’s early for the First Growth domain. To give you an idea of when Haut Brion started picking its young Merlot vines in 2010, September 8. In this vintage, the harvest continued until October 9.
Between the two properties of Pessac Léognan, with red and white grapes to pick, they have a busy schedule. Harvesters begin their day working on the grapes for their Bordeaux white wine, often starting their day before sunrise.
Jean-Philippe Delmas explains why they harvest early in the morning: “The goal of picking white grapes early in the morning is to ensure that the fruit stays fresh. This helps the berries retain their unique, fresh flavors. This year, we picked our white grapes between 7 a.m. and noon. The reason is that at this time of the day, the skin is dry. There is nothing left of the dew of the night. »
Château Lafite Rothschild began harvesting Cabernet Sauvignon from their northernmost plots, located not far from Château Cos d’Estournel, on Friday September 2. 2011. This is one of the first harvests recorded for the property. You will read quotes from many Bordeaux wine producers that 2011 Bordeaux, for many châteaux, will be their earliest harvest on record since 1893! However, producers located in certain districts of Bordeaux have brought forward their harvest calendars even earlier than expected.
Due to the enormous deluge and rain in the northern Médoc, centered near the border of Pauillac, Saint-Estèphe, to avoid possible rot problems, many châteaux in this vicinity decided to start picking sooner than they had originally planned. The most notable property is the famous Premier Cru, Château Lafite Rothschild. It is possible that the storm, which dropped half an inch of massive rain in a twenty-minute period, caused flooding in Lafite Rothschild's cellars.
“With our 2011 harvest, we harvested earlier because the cultivation of the vines was earlier than usual, due to the very hot spring. But the ripening weather conditions in summer were cool and cool, so the wine is of a cooler style than a late vintage. The pleasant weather conditions at the end of August and September were very good for phenolic maturity.” Fabien Teitgen from Château Smith Haut Lafitte.
Bordeaux 2011 /The earliest harvest recorded since 1893