The spoofulation history of Ch. Pape Clement ??

I love traditionally styled Graves more than any other Bordeaux.

I read recently that Michel Rolland became consultant to Pape Clement in 1998. So would it be the case that from that point forward, the wine is more Rolland than Graves? Ultra ripe? Malo in barrel? Micro-ox? Or does the Graves character continue as the central theme of this wine?

I have a few bottles of 1998 and 2000, buried in off site storage, and trying to decide if I should fetch some to open soon. Thanks in advance.

It started moving in a more modern direction earlier than that but I still liked the 1998 quite a bit. It was right at my maximum tolerance for spoofilation. The 2000 had passed said tolerance by a considerable margin.

But it depends on your preference, many other people like the 2000.

Just had the 1996 Pape Clement (rouge) a couple of days ago, and it was excellent with zero spoof. A friend who loves the old style of this chateau tells me the '96 is the last of the traditional Pape Clements.

Lewis, I agree with you on the wines from the Graves. Definitely my favs from Bdx.
I had the '98 Pape Clement not too long ago. Wouldn’t call it ultra ripe and it was definitely a serious wine, but I didn’t think it overly typical. I’ve had the same “issue” with '98 Smith Haut Lafitte and Larrivet Haut Brion. Good wines but not as tobacco or scorch earth oriented as I had hoped.
A very good wine that is usually under the radar is Malartic Lagraviere, '98, '99, and '00 are quite good.

Could just be that 98 isn’t an awesome year for Graves. La Mission is fairly unimpressive, or at least all three I had last year were just “good,” but certainly not explosive, or super noticeably terroir driven.

I am holding a few 2000s to see if the terroir can defeat the winemaking in the long run.

Oh, drats. That is the other Graves I have from '98 and '00, plus Haut Brion which I’m not worried about. I guess I need to pop a few to see what’s up.

Pape Clement was one of my dad’s house wines when we lived in Europe so when I started buying Bordeaux it was one of the ones I bought. On the strength of the '90 I started buying regularly ('96, '98, '99, '00) and at that time it was difficult to tell that there was a real style change underway. Even if you read Parker’s notes carefully today I think is very hard to tell, because in his view more is better. Some notes in CT indicate a change and others don’t.

I am also waiting out the '98 and '00. I prefer my Bordeaux fairly mature and some experience with other Rolland wines leads me to believe that I’m not offended by them even if I might prefer something more elegant. '98 Bon Pasteur was actually pretty tasty.

In the long run, the dirt might win out, I suppose. It often does. But I do hate the current fashion in Bdx to ignore the dirt, go for ultra-ripeness, and cap it off with the “winemaking magic recipe” in terms of cellar process. And I can’t help but think that is short-sighted thinking on the part of chateaux that actually have great dirt, such as Pape Clement. How can it be good business strategy for Pape Clement to make a wine that anyone can make, just about anywhere??

Keep in mind that Pape Clement is just recently closing in on 14% alcohol in '09 and '10. I don’t know the numbers for the earlier years, but I think the '90 was 12.5%. It’s not obvious that they have obliterated the terroir. I know John Gilman would disagree but I think he is like the canary for spoofed Bordeaux and just because John hates it doesn’t guarantee we all will.

It would be cool to do a tasting spanning these years, since the early Magrez years are getting to an age where they should show some of whatever they may become.

Lew, I opened one bottle and sold the rest of my 2005s. It was as pure of an expression of spoofilation as I have ever encountered. Some might say give it more time, and I have often wondered if Kevin has it right, that these(this style) wines will overcome their winemaking, but I doubt it. There was absolutely no way to pick out anything Graves from from the bottle that I drank.TO ME It had more in common with the likes of Jonata, modern Cos, 2003 & 2004 Quilceda Creek, 2007 Les Pavots, Luc Morlet’s Passionment, Long Shadows, and 2003 Bond wines…

FWIW I have saved a few bottles of some modern Bordeaux that were spoofy,-maybe Kevin has it right- with the hope that they will overcome their ‘modern-ness’. The Pape Clement did not make the cut.

Fixed . . . in order to make an additional point beyond yours, which is well made. I loved the '96 Pape Clement, all of which I drank too young.

My story here: Some Brief Thoughts on the 2006 Vintage in Bordeaux - WINE TALK - WineBerserkers

Thanks for the link, Guillaume. Very helpful.

You’re welcome. I like how I mentioned 98 from memory for one event (Magrez purchase) and you mentioned the same year for another event (Michel Rolland being hired) and both point in the same direction.

If we go back several years, the 2001 Pape Clement was a hot commodity on the wine boards. Amazing how our collective palates shifted.

The last memorable Pape Clément for me was their 1985 which I opened around 6-7 years ago. All the others I’ve had ranged from “not to my liking” to “ok”. I’ve not bought any Pape Clément in many years, but I do have them once in a rare while (either at trade events or when a friend opens one). The change in style from the late '90s and up is very marked (the '99 was a bit shocking for me).

Lewis look no further…the wine you want is the '04 smith haut lafitte…possibly the best bottle of bordeaux i have ever tasted…all old school graves…wet slate, coffee, truffles…pure palate love…destroys the '05…some bottle variation, but recently 2 out of the 3 were jaw dropping

2000 SHL is quite tasty as well . . . never had the 04, but the 2000 I had several months ago was quite amazing!

I had the 1998 Pape Clement in November and described as having flavors of cassis, scorched earth and tobacco with a silky feel. You should definitely dig one out and try it. BTW, it was popped and poured and drunk over a couple of hours.