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En Primeur Releases: 17 June 2021

Giles Cooper

17 June 2021

Pape Clement 2020

Growing in quality and stature with each passing year, the wines of Pape Clement are deeply impressive; the 2020 has been released at GBP 752 and make no mistake, this has the potential to match the exceptional 2019 and could well turn out to be the best since the 100pt 2010. We found the wine to have that unique vintage character of intense, rich ripeness and yet fabulous precision from the powerful but fine tannins that somehow exude freshness in themselves. This is a wine of detail, harmony and balance but with huge power behind it… an Aston Martin of a Graves.

“Ranking with the top wines of the vintage… flawless balance, full-bodied richness, and ultra-fine tannins, it excels in this vintage... a gorgeous wine in the making.” Jeb Dunnuck

“tightly coiled with beautiful tension and a firm, finely grained texture locking in the layers of black fruits and minerals, finishing with great length and energy.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown

“Seamless in texture, this is a sophisticated Pape Clément in the making, an outstanding wine that should age brilliantly in bottle.” Neal Martin

“The 2020 exudes purity, energy and breathtaking balance. It is one of the finest recent vintages I can remember tasting.” Antonio Galloni

Over the past few years Pape Clement has seen an explosion of interest around the world. Just a stone’s throw from Haut Brion, it has had a superb decade since the start of this century, racking up a series of high scores from The Wine Advocate. Owner Bernard Magrez, described by Robert Parker as “one of Bordeaux’s most interesting visionaries”, has disposed of virtually all his ‘lower ranked’ properties across Bordeaux in order to focus on the cru classes, and in particular, his ‘jewel in the crown’ Pape Clement. This is definitely an estate moving up the ranks: as Parker also says of M. Magrez “He has done a remarkable job in turning around this once moribund property that made a bevy of undrinkable wines into one of the superstars of Bordeaux.”

The rare and explosive Pape Clement Blanc is made and released in tiny volumes. Their 2020 has been released at GBP 1070 so if you would like to purchase do please let us know your requirements and we will do our best to fulfil them.

Pape Clement Rouge 2020 tasting notes and prices

97-99pts Jeb Dunnuck “Ranking with the top wines of the vintage, the dense purple-hued 2020 Château Pape Clement offers a sensational bouquet of pure crème de cassis interwoven with notes of liquid violets and classy oak. Possessing flawless balance, full-bodied richness, and ultra-fine tannins, it excels in this vintage and has a pretty, elegant, yet also layered and concentrated profile. It will drink well with just short-term cellaring yet evolve gracefully for 20-30 years. I was able to taste this on multiple occasions, and it always checked in near the upper end of the scale. This is a gorgeous wine in the making.”

96-98pts LPB, robertparker.com “Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2020 Pape Clement comes barreling out of the glass with bold notes of cassis, plum preserves and licorice, giving way to scents of cedar chest, crushed rocks, charcoal and pencil lead. The medium to full-bodied palate is tightly coiled with beautiful tension and a firm, finely grained texture locking in the layers of black fruits and minerals, finishing with great length and energy. The blend this year is 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot, aging mainly in French oak barriques, 66% new, with about 10% aging in large oak foudres. The wine will spend approximately 18 months in barrels.”

96-97pts James Suckling “Superb aromas of blackberries, crushed stones, iodine and graphite. Full-bodied with ultra fine tannins and a balanced finish. Such length and beauty. Very close to the 2019 in quality.”

95-97pts Neal Martin, vinous “The 2020 Pape Clément, which I afforded an hour’s aeration, has a very precise bouquet of pure blackberry, cedar, mint and violet aromas, quite discreet but paradoxically intense; these aromas are very seductive. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe, lithe tannins framing wonderfully pure black fruit laced with crushed stone and a judicious touch of white pepper. Seamless in texture, this is a sophisticated Pape Clément in the making, an outstanding wine that should age brilliantly in bottle.”

95-97pts Antonio Galloni, vinous “The 2020 Pape Clément is so impressive. Red cherry, plum, cedar, mint, tobacco, blood orange and rose petal all build as the 2020 opens in the glass. Vibrant and beautifully delineated, the 2020 has a ton to offer. The 2020 exudes purity, energy and breathtaking balance. It is one of the finest recent vintages I can remember tasting.”

95-97pts Jeff Leve “Close to opaque in color, the wine explodes from the glass with smoke, cigar box, espresso bean, black cherry liqueur, chocolate ganache, bay leaf and black currants. Rich, lush, concentrated and deep, the wine is fleshy, powerful, intense and polished. Incredibly long, balanced and complex, the finish keeps on going long after the wine has left the glass. The range of dark red berries sits with you growing in intensity on your palate. This is the finest vintage of Pape Clement in years.”

GBP 752 per case/12 IB

Other formats are available:

Halves – GBP 772 per case/24 IB

Magnums – GBP 762 per case/6 IB

Double magnums – GBP 842 per case/3 IB

Imperials – GBP 547 each IB

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Pape Clement Blanc 2020

97-98pts James Suckling “Lots of white peach and red apple with crushed-stone and pine-needle undertones. Full-bodied, yet compact and linear with beautiful toffee, light caramel, praline and nougat character to the fruit. Hints of wood. It shows phenolic tension and form, yet remains agile and energetic. Impressive for the vintage.”

94-96pts LPB, robertparker.com “Pape Clement's 2020 Blanc leaps from the glass with gregarious notions of fresh pink grapefruit, Bosc pears and lime blossoms with hints of coriander seed, yuzu zest and white pepper. The medium to full-bodied palate delivers fantastically intense citrus and pear flavors with a racy backbone and silky texture, finishing long and fragrant. The blend this year is 67% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Sémillon and 3% Sauvignon Gris, with anticipated bottling projected to be taking place on December 14 and 15, 2021. The alcohol is 13.5%.”

17/20pts jancisrobinson.com “Good lemon lift on the nose here. Really lively with some spritz and a kiss of oak rather than being dominated by it. This is clever winemaking with a mineral element. Really lively. I may be tasting this four days too late but it's still awfully impressive! Just the right balance of ripe fruit and fresh acidity. Sprightly even. Tension and a floral element. Great stuff!”

GBP 1070 per case/12 IB

Please enquire about other formats

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Pichon Baron 2020

17 June EP Pichon Baron


This morning sees the 2020 release of Pichon Baron at GBP 1327. This is one of the most consistent, and consistently brilliant, wines from the modern Bordeaux era.

Pichon Baron has been on a considerable roll for almost two decades now. In fact it’s hard to think of the last time they underperformed in any vintage, consistently being amongst the best wines. It is this metronomic excellence that causes critics of the stature of Neal Martin to opine “Pichon-Baron… is fast becoming the First Growth for those who are not bothered whether it says First Growth on the label.”

The Bordeaux Index team were fortunate enough to spend a good hour chatting with Managing Director Christian Seely, who summarised his feelings on the 2020 as follows: “I would probably say it sits somewhere between 18/19 and in terms of personality somewhere between the 19/16… The 2020 vintage is an interesting comparison to 2010, which is one of my favourite Pichons ever: it has been rather backwards in coming forwards and it is only just beginning to show… 2020 had the potential to be extremely tannic and reserved but it is not reserved at all, it is delicious to taste now - whereas the 2010 you could tell would age but wasn't delicious right at the beginning. This vintage is marked by the personality, purity and grandeur of the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The Pichon Baron was only 76% Cabernet Sauvignon in 2020 when it is often 85%+… there is an extraordinary freshness to the 2020 vintage which is surprising due to the sunny weather… This vintage is characterised by purity, freshness, harmony and delicate tannins. A third of a series of three great years.”

It was clear that M. Seely was very excited about his new wine and the critics share his enthusiasm:

“The 2020 Pichon Baron is utterly breathtaking, and also one of the very best young vintages I have tasted here… hands down one of the most impressive wines of 2020. Superb.” Antonio Galloni

“This young Bordeaux is totally seamless with fine, velvet-like tannins that are integrated and refined.” James Suckling

We also have the estate’s impressive second wine Griffons de Pichon Baron 2020 at GBP 346 per 12. This scores 92-94 from Neal Martin, Jeb Dunnuck and Antonio Galloni – mighty scores for a ‘humble’ vino… indeed Neal says “quintessentially Pauillac… this might well be the first Griffons that is just a mere nose behind the Grand Vin” and Antonio calls it “a terrific showing”. Not to be overlooked!

Pichon Baron 2020 tasting notes and prices

97-98pts James Suckling “This young Bordeaux is totally seamless with fine, velvet-like tannins that are integrated and refined. Underlying freshness and verve. It’s full-bodied, linear and long with a compact palate.”

96-98pts Antonio Galloni, vinous “The 2020 Pichon Baron is utterly breathtaking, and also one of the very best young vintages I have tasted here. An exotic mélange of red cherry, mint, rose petal and blood orange comes alive in the glass. More than anything, though, the Pichon-Baron possesses remarkable energy and vibrancy that builds to an intense, beautifully focused finish. This is hands down one of the most impressive wines of 2020. Superb.”

95-97pts LPB, robertparker.com “The 2020 Pichon-Longueville Baron is a blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Merlot aging for an estimated 18 months in French oak barrels, 70% new. The production of the grand vin represents 48% of the harvest this year. Opaque purple-black in color, it comes bounding out of the glass with exuberant notions of blackberry pie, preserved plums and crème de cassis, plus suggestions of Chinese five spice, chocolate mint, graphite and cedar chest with a touch of violets. The medium-bodied palate is built like a brick house, featuring firm, ripe, grainy tannins and bold freshness to support the taut, muscular black fruits, finishing long and spicy.”

95-97pts Neal Martin, vinous “The 2020 Pichon Baron underwent an early picking with relatively low yields. A blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Merlot, it has a very tight nose at first that demands 15–20 minute coaxing in the glass. It eventually reveals enticing blackberries, blueberries and hints of balsamic and undergrowth, all very precise; crushed rock scents surface with aeration. The palate is medium-bodied with sappy black fruit, fine-grained tannins and touches of hoisin toward a dense but structured finish of unerring symmetry.”

96pts Jane Anson, Decanter “Intense, concentrated, rippling with power while still delivering finesse. A muscular Pichon Baron, layered with liquorice and chocolate shavings. Unmistakably Pauillac, and hugely Cabernet dominant, with savoury spice notes of grilled cumin and the same muscular, saline-backed tannins that you find in Les Griffons, just here with more definition and depth. 70% new oak for 18 months, 48% of overall production. Harvest September 14 to 30. Yields on the old vines here just above 30hl/ha.”

GBP 1327 per case/12 IB

Other formats are available:

Halves – GBP 1347 per case/24 IB

Magnums – GBP 1337 per case/6 IB

Double magnums – GBP 1417 per case/3 IB

Imperials – GBP 930 each IB

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Les Griffons de Pichon Baron 2020


92-94pts Neal Martin, vinous “The 2020 Les Griffons de Pichon Baron is deep purple in color. Matured in 50% new oak, it has a clean, precise bouquet, a mélange of black and blue berry fruit laced with cedar and mint, quintessentially Pauillac. The wonderful palate is very smooth and silky, delivering quite lush black fruit that disguises the structure behind it. Almost symmetrical in poise, this might well be the first Griffons that is just a mere nose behind the Grand Vin, perhaps in part thanks to the contribution of the 8% Petit Verdot. Not to be overlooked.”

92-94pts Antonio Galloni, vinous “The 2020 Les Griffons de Pichon Baron is fabulous. Bright and intensely savory, the 2020 screams with character. The Cabernet seems especially expressive today. Inky red fruit, spice, dried flowers, crushed rocks and blood orange build as this exquisitely perfumed, nuanced Pauillac shows off its considerable pedigree. This is a terrific showing.”

92-94pts Jeb Dunnuck “Lots of bright red and blue fruits, violets, graphite, and cedar notes emerge from the 2020 Les Griffons De Pichon, which is normally a more Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated second wine from this estate, but in 2020 checks in as 50% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8% Petit Verdot. The élevage will span 18 months and it sees slightly more new oak than the Les Tourelles, being brought up in 50% new French oak. Medium to full-bodied, balanced, and elegant on the palate, it has ripe tannins, notable freshness, and a great finish. It's going to need bottle age. The quality of both second wines from Pichon Baron is sky-high.”

GBP 346 per case/12 IB

Other formats are available:

Halves – GBP 366 per case/24 IB

Magnums – GBP 356 per case/6 IB

Double magnums – GBP 436 per case/3 IB

Imperials – GBP 276 each IB

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Pontet Canet 2020

This is a singular, fascinating expression of the vintage and highly recommended!” Lisa Perrotti-Brown

“Highly successful Pontet, one of the few Pauillacs that, for me, overperforms on its 2019.” Jane Anson

a captivating effort from the Tesseron family. The intensely perfumed, savory bouquet is immediately alluring.” Antonio Galloni

The ever-distinctive Pontet Canet have released their 2020 this morning at GBP 890. Looking at this price versus comparable physical vintages it looks a very well priced release – and indeed it is one of the highest rated Pauillacs of the vintage!

2020 – 96-98+ WA, GBP 890

2018 – 98 WA, GBP 1050

2016 – 98+ WA, GBP 1180

2010 – 100 WA, GBP 1695

2009 – 100WA, GBP 1765

Pontet Canet stands alone not only from Pauillac, but from Bordeaux. They simply don’t follow the same rules as everyone else and the results of their work are often extraordinary. A wine that almost defies its appellation, Pontet Canet is utterly distinctive and combines the best of modern and traditional production techniques. Their ‘overweight’ of Merlot versus their peers in the appellation certainly helps it to stand out in this vintage which so favoured this earlier-ripening varietal and their persistence with only half the production in new oak, with at least a third in concrete amphorae, helps to even further express their unique terroir.

Recognising the possible high demand this release may be subject to allocation but let us know your requirements and we will do our best to fulfil them.

Pontet Canet 2020 tasting notes and prices


98-99pts James Suckling “This is integrated, with superb density and beauty, offering blackcurrant, mineral and some bark. Full-bodied, yet so polished and refined. Crushed stone. Lots of expression and texture to this wine. Creamy. Pure and precise. Elegant, yet layered. Slightly plusher than the 2019. Dense, yet agile. Fresh as always. 60% cabernet sauvignon, 32% merlot, 4% cabernet franc and 4% petit verdot. 50% new oak 15% old oak and 35% concrete amphorae.”

96-98+pts LPB, robertparker.com “The 2020 Pontet-Canet is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot, aging in 50% new French oak barriques, 35% concrete amphorae and 15% in one-year-old barrels. Harvest began on the 14th September for the Merlot, and the final lot of Cabernet Sauvignon was harvested on 30th September. Opaque purple-black in color, it needs significant aeration and swirling to coax out evocative notes of black cherry preserves, raspberry pie, blackcurrant pastilles and damp soil, before launching into gorgeous floral and spice notions of red roses, cinnamon stick, star anise and cardamom, with a waft of crushed rocks. The medium to full-bodied palate reveals a lot of depth and polish, delivering mouth-coating red and black fruits with loads of fragrant earth and floral sparks, framed by velvety tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and mineral tinged. This is a singular, fascinating expression of the vintage and highly recommended!”

97pts Jane Anson, Decanter “Highly successful Pontet, one of the few Pauillacs that, for me, overperforms on its 2019. Inky purple with ruby reflections in colour. Lots of firm but upright tannins, a good dollop of graphite, pencil lead and cassis bud, there is depth through the mid palate shot through with wild blackberry, hawthorn, sage, rosemary and wild mint. It has personality, and is a little old school in the best possible way. Recommended. They have avoided the over-concentrated feel of some Pauillacs in the vintage, while remaining true to the appellation. 4% Petit Verdot completes the blend, 50% new oak 35% amphoras, 15% one-year barrels. First full vintage for Mathieu Bessonnet who replaced the previous long-term director Jean-Michel Comme in 2020. 100% first wine, as it has been for the past four years. 45% will be aged in new oak barrels, 15% one year, 40% in amphoras. The mildew pressure was stressful in the early part of the year, but they had learnt from 2018, and brought in the manpower to get around the whole vineyard in a (very long) day, so their yields ended up being close to normal.”

95-97pts Antonio Galloni, vinous “The 2020 Pontet-Canet is a captivating effort from the Tesseron family. The intensely perfumed, savory bouquet is immediately alluring. Deep and substantial, the 2020 is luxuriously rich from start to finish. Swaths of incisive tannin wrap around a core of dark red cherry fruit, gravel, dried herbs and rose petal, and a whole range of floral and savory accents lend aromatic presence. The Pontet-Canet is often a charmer en primeur, but the 2020 comes across as quite serious. I can't wait to see how it develops. As always, one of the signatures of Pontet-Canet is a high proportion of Merlot vis-à-vis its peers among top Left Bank châteaux that lends tremendous midpalate weight. In 2020 production is within historical norms. Mildew pressure was high, but not as severe as in 2018, when two-thirds of the crop was lost in a single day. Harvest took place September 14–30, a bit more of a compact time frame than normal, and a good 7–10 days earlier than is typically the case. Aged in 50% new oak, 35% amphora and 15% once-used barrels.”

GBP 890 per case/12 IB

Other formats are available:

Halves – GBP 910 per case/24 IB

Magnums – GBP 900 per case/6 IB

Double magnums – GBP 980 per case/3 IB

Imperials – GBP 683 each IB

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