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April 30, 2013

Pape Clement 2012 En Primeur

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Pape Clement scored a perfect 100 points in 2010, 98 points in 2005 and consistently year on year leads the pack of estates chasing the First Growths. The reason they can do this is multilayered: Chateau Pape Clement has the distinction of being the oldest clearly identifiable vineyard in Bordeaux. They have only employed the best: when Paul Montagne purchased the estate in 1939 he partnered with Emile Peynaud the leading Bordeaux consultant and viticultural pioneer. Later Pape Clement cleverly engaged Peynaud’s protegee and Parker’s intimate Michael Rolland in partnership with Bernard Magrez, owner of Chateau la Tour Carnet. The estate is flying and is to Pessac Leognon what Pontet Canet is to Pauillac; it is simply producing some of the best wines in Bordeaux, both red and white. 92-95 points for £550 a case fits perfectly for investment and consumption.

It has been well documented that Pessac Leognon produced some of Bordeaux best wine in 2012 and Pape Clement arguably made its best wine, scoring 92-95 Parker.

The 2012 Pape Clement is one of the stars of the vintage, which is not surprising given this estate’s performances over the last 10-15 years. A blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 46% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc, it exhibits an opaque ruby/purple color along with a beautifully sweet, graphite-scented nose with hints of black currants, Asian plum sauce, soy and forest floor. Impressively built with medium to full-bodied flavors, it has more layers than many wines from this vintage, an appealing density and a velvety texture.

Yields were a modest 37 hectoliters per hectare and the wine finished at 13.5% natural alcohol. This 132-acre estate has once again produced a prodigious wine in a challenging vintage. Bravo to proprietor Bernard Magrez! 92-95 Robert Parker