TN: Pape Clement at the Musket Room NYC

Monday night we had a Pape Clement vertical at the Musket Room on the Lower East Side. One bubbly and 3 whites to start

NV Doyard “Oeil de Perdrix” Rose Champagne
Very pale pink (I had to hold up to be sure was rose), quite dry, more toasty than fruity and I found a touch severe. Others liked more. B/B-

I started with a pretty scallop with citrus and herb dish

1994 Ch. Pape Clement Blanc
Ben said he had lots of oxidation from this case, but this was quite lovely to me, with only the oxidation you’d expect in a 23 yr old. Pear and pit fruits, a waxy/oily note, good length. I really enjoyed, a bit more acid and I’d have thought it extraordinary. Some others liked less. B+/A-

1996 Lopez de Heredia “Tondonia” Rioja Blanco Reserva
Typical oxidative notes, lemon curd and almond, good. B+

2013 F. Carillon “Champ Gains” Puligny-Montrachet 1er
Pretty ripe white peach and pear fruit, touch of sourness on finish. Maybe just needs time, for now B

Then the reds (not blind)
I had quail legs with cipollini onion & blackberries

1986 Ch. Pape Clement
Full, not especially tannic, some coffee and tobacco leaf over blackcurrant fruit. I enjoy. B+

1990 Ch. Pape Clement
Redder fruit than others, cigarbox, earthy. Still some structure. B+/A-

1996 Ch. Pape Clement
Lean but not austere, very minerally (a ferric note), cocoa. I liked but liked even more on retaste. A-/B+

1998 Ch. Pape Clement
Some people preferred this to the ‘96, but to me this is where the modernity is beginning to show, though not overpower. Ripe fresh fruit, some mocha, good length. B+/B

My main was red deer with (a little) farro

2000 Ch. Pape Clement
Fresh fruit, nice balance, young but giving. This is modern but I really enjoy. B+/A-

2001 Ch. Pape Clement
Big ripe fruit, but overlaid with a bit of gloss. Someone says “fudge” and I can’t argue. Oak tannins. B/B-

2003 Ch. Pape Clement
I’m surprised this isn’t roasted as I expect, there is some freshness, some acids, moderate tannins, but open and ready. B+/B

2009 Ch. Pape Clement
Redder, kirschy, wood tannins, not sure how this will age. B-

2014 Ch. Pape Clement (from 2 375s)
Primary, just tannin and oak, not sure how this will emerge. B-?

{Windsor Blue cheese]

1988 Guiraud
Apricot, pineapple, not intensely sweet. I didn’t write anything else down for this but enjoyed.

Afterwards, we did our 3/2/1 voting for favorites of the red. An extra point scooted in there somewhere, but 2000 won going away.

2000 22 pts
1996 9
2001 8
1990 6
1998 3
2003 1

Good night with good people. Service was very good, I quite liked the space, food was delicious but we all left wishing we had a little more (some vegetable sides or more than a ¼ cup of farro would have made a big difference).

Grade disclaimer: I’m a very easy grader, basically A is an excellent wine, B a good wine, C drinkable. Anything below C means I wouldn’t drink at a party where it was only choice.Furthermore, I offer no promises of objectivity, accuracy, and certainly not of consistency.

Amazing to think they have been making wine on that soil for 500 years.

Enjoyable read, Dale. I am heartened to see that you found redeeming qualities in the newer vintages (1998-present). The youngest PC I’ve had is the 96, but lots of folks have disavowed the newer style.

Thanks as always for your concise notes Dale.

Two vintages of Pape I really like are the 1994 and 1995, and my least favourite I have tried is the 2001, where the style had morphed into full blow modernity and which was an oaky mess. Tried next to the 1995 over a decade ago the contrast was stark and at the same time sad.

Is it worth hanging on to a case of the 1998? It fetches a decent amount and your review is among several mixed feelings I have read about this wine.

I’m an easy grader (at least an easy B), and generally try to look for what I like more than what I don’t like. But nothing post '96 would be something I’d look for (I’d buy '00 but not at current pricing).
I was saying at dinner I think the '01 was last Bdx I bought solely on RP review. I had given up on him on RB, but still had some agreement on Medoc/Graves, and he said “greatest PC ever” so I bought on futures. I almost gagged when I tasted. I’ve been donating when I furnished lots to charity auctions, but liked more last 2 times I’ve tried. Still not something I’d buy, but not awful as on release. And note it got a good # of votes.

I only own the 2000 and I’m glad because that was my WOTN. I also enjoyed 90 and 96 very much.

That was a fun dinner. I liked the 90, 96, 00, and 01. Also liked the 86. Was not a big fan of the 03, 09, or 14.

90, 86 and 98 were my top 3. Thanks for the notes, Dale. It was a fun dinner.