Today marks the second major release of the 2017 en primeur campaign, Pape Clement Rouge and Blanc. Pape Clement produced a very good red in 2017, awarded 95-96 points from James Suckling, 94-96 points from Jeb Dunnuck and 92-94 points from the Wine Advocate. Suckling calls it ‘Very polished and refined at the end’ and Dunnuck gives it one his highest scores in the campaign, declaring that ‘Too many 2017s lack excitement, but that’s not the case here’. Today’s price for Pape Clement Rouge is £758 per case of 12 or £379 per case of six. This represents a 7.2% reduction in euros on last year and a 1.6% sterling decrease.
This is a surprise release with a major 2014-2017 Bordeaux tasting taking place in London today, Bernard Magrez and team have not been deterred by this and have released enthusiastic prices. Another surprise is the relatively decrease in price from the Estate, which is known for being one of the most sensibly priced throughout past campaigns. Today’s price does represent a discount to today’s market price on the superb 2015 and 2016, but it has positioned itself with the 2011 and 2012, while slightly above the very good wine they made in 2014. That said, it does represent a reasonable discount to the 2006 and 2008. The leading vintages of Pape Clement also prove that this Estate can command prices to match that of leading Super Seconds in the top vintages.
It is noteworthy that Pape Clement was significantly affected by the frosts in 2017, as is the case for several of the leading estates in Pessac Leognan. As such, they have released 60% less in 2017, which should encourage Pape Clement collectors to buy on release, the price certainly isn’t going down. This is a fine Pape Clement rouge indeed, so while collector’s should not be deterred, it doesn’t leave a lot on the table in the short term
It has been well documented that the whites in 2017 are superb; Haut Brion Blanc was declared one of the wines of the vintage by the Wine Advocate. As such, it comes as no surprise that its neighbour, Pape Clement Blanc, is one of their best ever. Suckling awarded the Blanc 97-98 points, describing it as ‘Focused and tight. Layered and fascinating. Lots of minerals and lemon rind. Great young white’. Lisa Perrotti-Brown scored it 94-96+, remarking on the ‘fantastic freshness, finishing very long’. Today’s release of £1,200 per case of 12 and £600 per case of six represents a 3.6% reduction in euros, yet a 1.3% rise in sterling.
Pape Clement Blanc is an exceptional wine. We would have liked to see a reduction in price, but this is going to be unlikely with the whites throughout the campaign due to the immense quality. It is certainly superior to the last two vintages. Pape Clement Blanc does command a premium due to the limited supply, no more so then the undisputed 100 point 2009, which trades at an impressive £4,300 per case of 12. It is also noteworthy that Pape Clement Blanc has been stylistically evolving over the last few years, becoming slightly more restrained. They are making beautifully balanced wines and lovers of Bordeaux Blanc should carefully consider Pessac’s greatest offerings in 2017.
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.
Other noteworthy releases
Pape Clement is the second major release of the campaign after Chateau Palmer last Monday. Other notable Chateaux that have released this week are listed below. The prices are all slightly lower to last year, but we don’t feel that the discounts are sufficient. Malartic Lagravieres is another very good Pessac Blanc, awarded 94-95 points from James Suckling.
Braniare Ducru, 12×75 – £410, 92-93 JS, 88-90 WA
Trotteveille, 12×75 – £735, 94-95 JS, 90-92 WA
Langoa Barton, 12×75 – £360, 93-94 JS
Malartic Lagravieres Rouge, 12×75 – £400, 92-93 JS, 89-91 WA
Malartic Lagravieres Blanc, 12×75 – £500 94-95 JS, 90-92+ WA
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