Spread over 155 acres in the commune of Pessac, Château Pape Clément (Grand Cru Classé de Graves) is one of the oldest winemaking estates in Bordeaux. The first recorded harvest took place in 1252, when the property belonged to the archbishop Bertrand of Goth, who in 1305 would become Pope Clément V. It is from this rich history that the current name of the estate was born.
During the French Revolution, the estate was seized and entered into public ownership. For the next few centuries, its ownership changed hands numerous times and was subject to hardships such as the arrival of phylloxera and destructive storms. In 1939 Paul Montagne took control of the estate, and through his leadership was able to bring the property back to proper form.
Bernard Magrez has owned the estate since 1980. In modern times the estate has focused on modern techniques and technological advancements, but without ever forgetting its past.
Terroir and Varietals
Château Pape Clément’s parcels are located on a mix of sandy gravel and chalky-clay soils, with an underlay of iron-rich limestone. 74 acres of vines—with an average age 40 years old—are planted with red grape varietals: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. White varietals (45% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Semillion, and 10% Muscadelle) cover just 6 acres, with an average age of 18 years.
The Intersection of Tradition and Innovation
Meticulous, tireless work is the focus of Chateau Pape Clément in their quest for higher and higher quality wines. One of the fundamental characteristics of the estate is their unique duality of tradition and innovation. Though they use animals to plow the vineyards, they also recently purchased a drone to better survey the growth of the vines. Preserving biodiversity is of utmost importance to the teams at Pape Clément. Vinification is done by parcel in order to accentuate the expression of each grape varietal and specific terroir, and thus of each wine.
In 2009, Robert Parker gave a perfect 100/100 rating to Chateau Pape Clément, entering it into the pantheon of legendary wines.