We have a major release this morning to start off this week’s en primeur bustle, Pape Clement Rouge and Blanc. In 2016 Pape Clement produced another stellar vintage, which has been awarded 95-97 from Neal Martin and 97-98 from James Suckling, his joint highest ever score, who states that it ‘Goes on for minutes. Truly great’. The price this morning is £770 per case of 12 or £385 per case of six. This represents a 12% euro increase on last year and a 23% pound increase. This is a subtler increase than the 29% pound increase from 2014 to 2015.
The 2016 is marginally more expensive than the 2015’s price today and the same price as the 97 point scoring 2012, the likely score for the 2015 and 2016 from bottle. The 2016 is, however, at a heavy discount to the 2010, 2009 and 2005, 57%, 48% and 53% respectively. It is also cheaper today than the lower scoring 2008. We consider the Pape Clement’s release price this morning to be at the upper limit of attractive and will sell well, particularly given the 20% reduction in production, with allocations being cut. This ranks as one of the finest Pape Clements ever produced and for a leading Estate, £64 per bottle is extremely compelling, that is a lot of class and pedigree at a very approachable price.
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Pape Clement Blanc 2016 has also released this morning for £1,185 per case of 12, or £592.50 per case of six. In sterling terms this is a 19.7% increase on last years release. We consider this to be overcooking what was already a hot vintage for the white grapes. In 2016, the Blanc has been awarded 92-94 points from Neal Martin and 94-95 points from James Suckling. We considered Pape Clement Blanc as one of the best white wines of the vintage. However, unlike for the reds, this is not a great white Bordeaux vintage and sadly the white wine’s price has been pushed up in lock step with the reds.
Chateau Pape Clement has the distinction of being the oldest clearly identifiable vineyard in Bordeaux. The property was planted in 1300 by Berald de Goth and presented to his brother Bertrand upon his appointment as Archbishop of Bordeaux. Bertrand became Pope Clement V in 1306 and gifted the vineyard to the incoming Archbishop, Cardinal Arnaud de Canteloup. The Estate remained the property of the church until the revolution and was sold a number of times in the following years.
Jean-Baptiste Clerc assumed ownership in 1858 and the Chateau flourished, commanding the same prices as the Medoc’s Second Growth wines. After a long period of decline, Paul Montagne purchased the ailing estate in 1939 and in partnership with winemaker Emile Peynaud managed to turn its fortunes around. Since 1985, the property has been producing top class wines under Montagne’s son and Bernard Magrez with the famous Michel Rolland as a consultant.
Pape Clement Rouge 2016, 12×75 – £770 EP
95-97 Points, Neal martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 Pape Clement is a blend of 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon this year, picked from 30 September until 19 October at 48 hectoliters per hectare. The first bottle that I tasted with Bernard Magrez and his team felt a little overdone, but I had a strong suspicion that it was not a representative bottle. A second bottle was more restrained on the nose with blackberries, red plum, a touch of cloves and a light iodine influence. I love the delineation and detail here. The palate is medium-bodied with a graphite-infused entry, plenty of black fruit, saline in the mouth with great depth and cohesion on the long and tender finish. It continues Pape-Clement/Bernard Magrez’ move towards a more classic style compared to the previous decade. Tasted four times, once as I mentioned, unnecessarily richer in style, but the other three consistent.
97-98 Points, James Suckling
This is phenomenal with a density and finesse that are hard to remember for this wine. Full-bodied, tight and polished. Seamless texture and salty undertones. Goes on for minutes. Truly great. What a barrel sample.
Pape Clement Blanc 2016, 12×75 – £1,185 EP
92-94 Points, Neal martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 Pape Clement Blanc is a blend of 55% Sauvignon Blanc and 45% Sémillon that was cropped at 45 hectoliters per hectare between 12-27 September. It has quite an understated bouquet, stony and a little distant at first but then opening up with lime flower, kiwi fruit and a touch of limestone. The palate is fresh on the entry, the Sauvignon Blanc driving this Pape Clement along, perhaps less flamboyant and viscous in style than previous vintages, but I appreciate the tautness and delineation here, the persistent and slightly saline finish. This is excellent.
94-95 Points, James Suckling
A solid and four-square white with lemon-rind and dried-apple character. Pears, too. Full and dense with layers of fruit and phenolic character. Red wine texture in a white. One for aging.
In terms of value for money there has been another red release this morning that deserves serious attention, Chateau Meyney. This is priced today at £245 per case of 12 bottles, which translates as £20.42 per bottle. We have been verbose about the outstanding quality made in the village of St.Estephe in 2016, where the wines will be modern day greats. Chateau Meyney is a leading St.Estephe, which has been awarded 95-96 points from James Suckling, giving it a Price Over Points Ratio of 15.8, the lowest of the campaign. In fact, Suckling declares that ‘Solid and incredible depth reminds me of the Meyneys of the 1960s that were so structured and incredible.’ It has also been awarded 90-92 from Neal Martin, who is a little more conservative, yet its highest ever potential score.
Chateau Meyney in Saint Estephe has a long history starting with the monks who first planted the first vines at Meyney in the 17th century. Meyney remained one of the leading Estates in St.Estephe and was purchased in 1917 by the Cordier family, who also owned Gruaud Larose and Cantemerle. In 2004 Meyney was purchased by the group CA Grand Crus, which also owned Grand Puy Ducasse, which lead to Hubert de Bouard from Chateau Angelus to consult. All this resulted in the 2014 vintage being one of their finest ever. This has been surpassed in 2016, a superb effort, which could be the best POP score of the campaign, this represents stunning value. To put it into perspective Suckling score of 95-96 equals his score for Leoville Barton £580, Leoville Poyferre £570, Gruaud Larose £480 and Petit Mouton £1140 (the prices represent the 2015 release price). The table below demonstrates how good the 2016 looks against the speculative release prices of these other 95-96 point wines. Meyney 2016 has taken incredible weather conditions and made an outstanding wine at a magnificent price.
Chateau Meyney 2016, 12×75 – £245 EP
90-92 Points, Neal martin, The Wine Advocate
The 2016 Meyney has quite an opulent and flamboyant bouquet, which is something I do not expect from this Saint Estèphe. It seems to calm down in the glass and attains more delineation and poise. The palate is sweet on the entry with impressive precision, quite linear in style with blackberry, graphite and smoky notes, leading to a finish that offers satisfying persistence. Excellent.
95-96 Points, James Suckling
Solid and incredible depth reminds me of the Meyneys of the 1960s that were so structured and incredible. Full-bodied yet polished and refined. Super structure.
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