Cities may not be particularly associated with winemaking, but Pape Clement is one of several Pessac-Leognan estates that are actually located within the city limits of Bordeaux. In difficult vintages, Pape Clement actually benefits from the slightly warmer urban temperatures. This is also one of the oldest properties in Bordeaux, named in 1305 for its proprietor, Pope Clement V, who inhabited the Château during his time as Archbishop. In 1985 Bernard Magrez purchased a stake in the property, owned by his wife's brother, and today he has levered it into 90% ownership. During that time investment in the vineyards and cellars has resulted in the property rising to the very top ranks of Bordeaux. The only point of contention boils down to a matter of style, with some criticizing the wines for being too over-oaked and extracted, and others loving them for their opulently lush style. To each their own!
The vineyard, which covers 32.5 hectares, is composed primarily of gravel and clay soils with some sand. Cabernet Sauvignon is planted on the gravel, while Merlot is reserved for the clay. These two varieties cover most of the vineyard -- 30 hectares -- and are planted at 60% and 40% respectively. The small white vineyard is planted to 45% Sauvignon Blanc, 45% Semillon and 10% Muscadelle. The wines here are dense and full, typically characterized by notes of raspberry, gravel and exotic woodsmoke.
Château Pape Clement is the Grand Vin, of which 7000 cases of red and as few as 350 of white wine are produced each year. Le Clementin du Pape Clement and Le Prelat du Pape Clement are the second wines.