One thing I’ve learned after visiting a few wine regions in France is that popes really liked wine.
Château Pape Clément was Clement V’s love. The vineyard was given to him as a gift when he was appointed Archbishop of Bordeaux. It was an ideal grant since the pope (well, back then he was known by his civilian name, Raymond Bertrand de Goth) became deeply involved in overseeing and managing the property and the resulting wine.
In 1305, de Goth became Pope Clement V. He continued working at the vineyard until 1309, when he was forced to prioritize his papal duties.
Eventually, Clement V donated the estate to the Church of Bordeaux, who successfully ran it for five centuries. In the late-18th century, however, the vineyard fell into public domain and to a subsequent string of private owners.
The current owner, Bernard Magrez, has run the estate since the 1980’s and has perfected the Grand Cru Classé while adhering to the traditional methods.
At harvest time, hundreds of people are hired to pick and sort the grapes by hand. A few skilled men take very short shifts in harnesses, stirring the lees and (I’m being serious here) trying not to die of asphyxiation. The men are harnessed because they can only survive for a few precious seconds if they fall into the vat. Luckily, there has not been an accident in modern times.
We attended the “Visite du Connaisseur de Vins” for €20/person. The château offers a suite of visits, including lunch with the winemakers.
216 avenue du Docteur Nancel Pénard-BP 164
33 607 PessacTweet