Château Pape Clément
Ethos: Never give up.
Red and White Bordeaux
It isn’t often you get to stay at an estate dating back over 700 centuries once owned by a pope, let alone rely on a butler to steer you through the veritable menu of sensorial experiences on offer, but guests in one of Château Pape Clément’s five suites are in for a unique treat.
Grapes were first harvested here in 1252 and, by 1305, it had fallen into hands of oenophile Pope Clément V, whose name it still carries. The neo-Gothic castle came in 1864 but its modern incarnation is down to ardent entrepreneur Bernard Magrez, who owns a handful of notable wine estates and imbues every nook of this one with his imaginative passion for the arts. In addition to artworks scattered across the grounds (like the aluminium Rolls Royce), his support for classical music extends from hosting concerts and festivals to scouring the globe for rare instruments, which he then loans to up-and-coming musicians.Your visit
There is, of course, a standard tour and tasting option, which includes three wines. This is, incidentally, complimentary for guests of the château but is really just a starting point - you can also try workshops in blending, tasting, blind tasting and pairing wines with food, plus how to serve wines, how glasses are made and more.
A walk around the gardens is fascinating in itself, but the ancient olive trees (over 1,000 years old), tropical plants and Lebanese cedars are brought to life through digitally-led multimedia tours available on your smartphone. For an even deeper immersion, sylvotherapy sessions (or ‘forest bathing’) connect you with nature in a calming treatment for body and mind.
For more indulgence, opt for the painstakingly paired menu of La Table du Château, watching out for seasonal and themed events too.The wines
Château Pape Clément was classified a ‘Cru Classé’ in the 1959 rankings of the Graves region of Bordeaux, and its wines most certainly live up to that today. An early champion of drone usage to monitor his vineyards, Magrez also ensures that the land is impacted as little as possible with constant biodynamic studies. Surprising amounts of the production process are done manually and the vines are tended plot by plot to allow the true characteristics of the fruit to develop before the base wines are blended. Using the typical Bordeaux grape varieties (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc for the reds, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, Sauvignon Gris and a hint of Muscadelle for the whites), these are classic wines of power and finesse.