French complex personality from Grave, Bordeaux

We are very in to the religion of having only one grape of the type that is so impressionable and delicately, affected by its origin – its terroir, that it sometime gets hard to convince us to to taste a blended one with multiple grapes building that wine. 🙂

Bordeaux, by tradition are skilled on the art of blending grapes; in this case they blend as much as 52% merlot and the rest is cabernet sauvignon for structure and backbone. Thus a lot of the charmy, fruity and sappy character is added from the merlot that grows in clayey soil in Pessac-Léognan, Graves. They de-stem absolutely 100%, i.e. removing each grape by hand which is very time-consuming. The wine ages for 18 months in french oak barrels. Bernard Magrez is the current owner of the Château Pape Clement that dates back to 1305.

The vintage 2006 was troublesome, with uneven weather that was quite hot in summer until harvest in September were it turned soggy and caused a lot of rot and grapes did not reach full ripeness in many places. The vintage in general is more tannic, a little off-balance and fruit may not be as ripe as a classic year like 2005, but Graves suffered less than many other areas.

2006 Château Pape-Clément

Colour: Very dark ruby red, crimson-red edges.
Nose: Smoke, dusty gravel, obvious stable, lead pencil, distinct shale, earth, forest floor and minerals. A complex nose, quite deep really that is driven by the unique terroir of Graves.
Taste: The mid palate offers very dark, fresh, sappy and distinct black- and blue mineral-fruit, hints of coffee, grape juice, broth, shale, new wedged grass, smoked wood and saline mushrooms. Acidity impresses with its very balsamic and fresh quality. Structure is full-bodied, it is powerful and persistence is good. Texture is coarse sandy and tannins are thick and offers chewy, not yet polished tannins but of good quality.

This wine needs plenty of airing, about 3-4 hours and until then it is peevish, quite flat and harsh. Then in a decanter, suddenly and surprisingly, everything changes and the wine emerges as complex and offers deep fruit and flavours from the terroir of Graves, it is rich and has some elegance. Open 2015-2030.


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