Owner: Bernard Magrez and Leo
Vineyard area: 60 hectares
Average annual production: 7,000 cases (Pape Clement rouge) and 350 cases (Pape Clement blanc)
Vineyards: 57 hectares planted with 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot. 3 hectares planted with 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Semillon, 10% Muscadelle.
Other wines: Le Clémentin du Pape Clément and Le Prélat du Pape Clément
Chateau Pape Clement, located in Pessac, is one of the oldest estates in the region: it produced its 700th wine in 2006. It is named after Pope Clement V, who received the vineyard and surrounding property – then known as La Mothe – as a gift in 1299. This was when he was still Bertrand de Goth, Archbishop of Bordeaux; he managed the vineyard even after being promoted to Pope in 1305. In 1309 the demand of his papal duties was too great for him to sustain the vineyard, and he passed it to Arnaud de Cantelou, his successor as Archbishop of Bordeaux.
The vineyard remained in the possession of the Church until the end of the eighteenth century. During the Revolution it was confiscated and fell into the public domain. It was during this next period that the wine became a more commercial enterprise, especially after the negociant Jean-Baptiste Clerc acquired the estate in 1858. He expanded the vineyard and established the quality of Pape Clement, with the wine winning awards from various agricultural societies.
After Clerc’s death in 1880 the vineyard passed through various owners. Castellations and ramparts were added to the chateau by Cinto, another negociant. But by 1939 the estate was dilapidated, and the vineyard had been devastated by hail two years previously. At this point it was bought by Paul Montagne, who restored the estate and employed the late Émile Peynaud as oenologist. On Montagne’s death the estate was passed to his son Leo, who retains a small share in the property today. The majority is owned by his son-in-law Bernard Magrez, who also owns estates in St Emilion, Haut-Medoc and Sauternes. Michel Rolland acts as advisor on Pape Clement and Magrez’s other estates – the pair have been working together for over two decades.
Pape Clement 2010
In Liv-ex’s interview with Robert Parker last year the critic praised Magrez’s influence on Pape Clement, describing the wine as being “undrinkable” in the mid-1970s but one of today’s “great estates”. Certainly his score for Pape Clement 2010 would attest to this: it was one of his ten perfect wines of the vintage.