Pape Clement, Pessac Leognan History

Here is a little info about Chateau Pape Clement from one of my favorite sources on Bordeaux The Wine Journal. Neal Martin is one of the most entertaining wine writers on the web and if you have not checked out his web site you should it is both informative and funny.

Excerpt from

Like Château Haut-Brion, Château Pape-Clément is located within the urban desert landscape of the Bordeaux suburbs and is ergo a bugger to find for the first-time visitor. It is arresting to find the vinous aristocracy hemmed in by the tide of urban expansion - you would imagine that these revered names would at least be afforded some refuge upon a higher plateau or buffered by tracts of verdure or manicured gardens. Yet both properties abut featureless bungalows that could be mistaken for any conurbation in the world, although few of them could trace their history back to the 13th century, for Pape-Clément is one of the most ancient estates in Bordeaux.

The name obviously has ecclesiastical origins, namely one Pope Clement V, born Bertrand de Goth. His elder brother decided that his pious sibling deserved his own property within close proximity to the city of Bordeaux and so handed him an estate called "Magonty" in 1300. When he took the papacy in 1306 and moved it to Avignon, cultivating the surrounding vineyards now known as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, he continued to grow vines at Pape-Clément before handing it over to the church who were the dominant wine-growers of the time. Since only about 12 barrels (300 cases) of their "Vigne du Pape-Clément" was produced, it was not commercially sold but reserved for those thirsty clerics and their ceremonial rituals. All ecclesiastical properties were sequestered by the state after the French Revolution including Pape-Clément in 1791, ending almost five centuries of sacerdotal ownership. The property was purchased by Charles Peixotto and the wines seeped onto the general market. During the 19th century Pape-Clément passed through the hands of several owners and garnered a fine reputation, second to Château Haut-Brion within the Graves region. The estate was ameliorated further when it was purchased by Monsieur Jean-Baptiste Clerc in 1858 who renovated the château, planted Cabernet Franc (which has now disappeared) and improved the vineyard which was increased in size to 30-hectares.

The mid-1990's wines lack a little flair, but this pale against an imperious 1990, an awakening giant when tasted at the end of 2004. Of the older vintage, the 1971 vintage was a bit of a dark horse when tasted blind, whilst the 1966 was very fine, beautifully balanced, vigorous - simply a glorious mature claret that recent vintage should aspire to become.

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