Château Pape Clément L'Âme de Pape Clément, Bordeaux, France, 750mL

Château Pape Clément L&

Château Pape Clément L'Âme de Pape Clément, Bordeaux, France, 750mL

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The 2019 Château Pape Clément L'Âme de Pape Clément is one of the year’s most exciting Bordeaux debuts. Culled from the same historic vineyard that produces the estate’s $136-per-bottle flagship Claret, it’s a massively plush, Merlot-forward beauty that left a huge impression on us. If the estate’s Grand Vin is the older sibling—a bit buttoned-up and requiring time to overcome its natural reserve—L’Âme de Pape Clément is the fun-loving, party-starting younger brother who exudes irresistible charm from the first encounter.

Here, Michel Rolland—one of Bordeaux’s most famous winemakers—has been given free rein to pack this Graves-grown bottle with as much New World punch as he pleases. And in 2019, a Bordeaux vintage that will thrill Napa Cab lovers, he took full advantage. Some stewed berries with walnut and light sultana undertones. Chocolate, too. It’s full-bodied with a nice core of fruit and a medium finish, with soft enticing tannins. Led by owner Bernard Magrez, the winemaking team is employing the same philosophy for this bottling that has made Pape Clément a serious challenger to the top wines of the Médoc.

The name of the cuvée, translating as “the Soul of Pope Clement,” gestures at the incredible history behind this wine. Pape Clément is one of the oldest properties in Bordeaux, as the vineyard was originally planted in 1300 by Bernard de Groth, who would become Pope Clement V. Today, under Magrez, the estate marries technological prowess with old-school techniques to drive quality and site-transparency to the limit: Drones float above the vines, gathering data about hydric stress and potential disease, even as horses churn and till the soil as they have for centuries. Pape Clément is a place where innovation serves tradition, and this new bottling draws from a rich past as it looks to the future. One of Bordeaux’s great buys!

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