Learn everything about Chateau Le Pape Pessac Leognan, Bordeaux with wine tasting notes and wine with food pairing tips. Learn the best vintages, a history of the property, and information on the vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important, Bordeaux Chateaux: Links to all Bordeaux Wine Producer Profiles
Chateau Le Pape History, Overview
Chateau Le Pape has a history that dates back to the 1700’s when the estate was founded by Pierre Bobineau. The background for Pierre Bobineau was not in the wine trade. In fact he was known as one of the best makers of sails for boats that sailed in and out of Bordeaux.
In 1805, he built the original chateau and continued planting the vineyard. At some point that started during the 1960’s, and continued through the 1980’s, and for most of the 1990’s as well, the vineyard was leased to the Perrin family that owned, Chateau Carbonnieux.
In late 2011, Patrick Monjanel sold Chateau Le Pape to Bob Wilmers, the American owner of the neighboring estate, Chateau Haut Bailly, also located in the Pessac Leognan appellation.
The first thing Bob Wilmers did after purchasing Chateau Le Pape was to bring in Veronique Sanders to manage the estate. Veronique Sanders was already the director of Chateau Haut Bailly, so of course this was a natural fit.
The next step was a complete renovation of the chateau, the wine making facilities, cellars and gardens. Everything was completely modernized and redesigned, including the label, which was changed from the older, original type font and design to a more streamlined design that is similar to that which is used on the labels for Chateau Haut Bailly.
The size of the vineyard has since been increased as well, going from 7 hectares to 9 hectares of vines starting with the 2018 vintage.
After the passing of Bob Wilmers, the estate is now owned and managed by his son Chris Wilmers.
Chateau Le Pape Vineyards, Terroir, Grapes, Winemaking
The 9 hectare Pessac Leognan vineyard of Chateau Le Pape is planted to 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, making this probably the highest proportion of Merlot planted in the Pessac Leognan appellation. Many of the vines are old, at close to 50 years of age.
However, the majority of the vineyard needs to be replanted. At the time of the purchase, the vineyard was only planted to 2,600 vines per hectare, which is well below the AOC rules for the appellation, which requires a minimum of 6,500 vines per hectare.
It is hoped that the winery will be in good shape by the 2020 vintage. The terroir is gravel with sand and clay based soils that is in a single block of vines. All vineyard management techniques are conducted using only self sustaining viticultural techniques.
To produce the wine of Chateau Le Pape, the wine is vinified in temperature controlled cement tanks. Malolactic fermentation takes place in vat. The wine is aged in 30% new, French oak barrels for between 12 to 15 months, depending on the character and quality of the vintage.
The same team that is responsible for producing the wine at Chateau Haut Bailly is now in charge of making the wine at Chateau Le Pape.
The average annual production for Chateau Le Pape is close to 3,500 cases per year. With the team headed by Veronique Sanders, and the spare no expense attitude of Bob Wilmers to produce the best wine possible, this is an estate to watch.
In September 2015, Chateau Le Pape announced they were entering the oenotourisme field. For wine lovers looking to experience life in the vineyards accompanied by great meals and stunning wines, it was now possible to stay at a real chateau.
Chateau Le Pape offers rooms and suites that provide guests with the true atmosphere of Bordeaux, along with all the comforts of a luxury hotel. To learn more about the hotel, please visit the website of Chateau Le Pape.
When to Drink Chateau Le Pape, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Chateau Le Pape can be enjoyed on the young side with decanting. Young vintages can be decanted for an average of 1 hour to 90 minutes, give or take. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.
Chateau Le Pape is usually better with at least 5-7 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage character. Chateau Le Pape offers its best drinking and should reach peak maturity between 6-15 years of age after the vintage.
Serving Chateau Le Pape, with Wine, Food, Pairing Tips
Chateau Le Pape is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. The red wine of Chateau Le Pape is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised and grilled dishes.
Chateau Le Pape is a perfect match with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms and pasta as well as cheese.
Château Le Pape Wine Tasting Notes
6 Vintages 10,303 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating
|2019||Château Le Pape (Pessac-Léognan)|
Elegant, medium-bodied, finesse driven, floral, silky and accessible, the wine is going to be beautiful on release, with all its ripe sweet raspberry and even sweeter cherries. 2019 marks their 8th vintage here, and the wine has never been better! The wine was produced from a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. 90-92 Pts
1,688 Views Tasted Jun 11, 2020
|2018||Château Le Pape (Pessac-Léognan)|
Flowery with deep, dark red fruits, what you really notice here is the silky texture. Medium bodied with an elegant, refined character, the cherries show their sweetness, the soft, slightly dusty tannins are polished and the finish is fresh and juicy with just a hint of cocoa in the end note. 2018 marks their 7th vintage here, and things are really coming together now. The wine was produced from a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. 90-92 Pts
1,192 Views Tasted Apr 19, 2019
|2017||Château Le Pape (Pessac-Léognan)|
An herb garden overflowing with thyme, the last bite of a cherry griotte and a thin veil of smoke excite the nose. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, gentle, fresh and elegant, leaning toward the red fruit side of the style range. There is sparkle and charm here but not much length. The wine was produced from a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.
1,428 Views Tasted Apr 26, 2018
|2016||Château Le Pape (Pessac-Léognan)|
Licorice, black cherries, wet earth and caramel scents come easily to the front. On the palate, the wine balances between the fresh fruit and ripe tannins. The finish leaves you with spicy, plums. The wine was produced from a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine reached 13.8% alcohol with pH of 3.7.
2,093 Views Tasted Apr 29, 2017
|2015||Château Le Pape (Pessac-Léognan)|
Smoke, licorice, caramel, sweet cherries and spice, this wine is medium-bodied, soft, fresh and forward with an elegant appeal. Produced from a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine reached 13.8% alcohol. 89 - 91 Pts
2,395 Views Tasted Apr 23, 2016
|2014||Château Le Pape (Pessac-Léognan)|
Licorice, caramel and sweet cherries, this wine has a soft, open, early-drinking charm. Produced from a blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is the second vintage here for winemaker Veronique Sanders. 87-89 Pts
1,507 Views Tasted Apr 24, 2015