5 Dec 2010

wine of the week 2


Château Pape Clément blanc 2008, Pessac-Leognan


I am definitely NOT a wine snob. In other words I do not like wines on account of their "prestige" (supposed or otherwise), or the height of their prices, or for any other reason other than the fact that their taste greatly pleases me (or, in some cases, moves me) at a particular moment. Therefore you will discover, in the future, wines on this blog at all prices, from 5 euros or less and upwards.

This week's wine is not cheap (120 euros or more per bottle), but it is very good, and it came out top wine for me in a recent blind tasting of its peer group from its appellation. Pape Clement 2008 was simply the best of 50 white wines of the Pessac-Leognan appellation that I tasted on Friday December 3rd, without knowing which was which. Two recent vintages were involved, 2007 and 2008, with about 25 wines from each vintage represented.

It should be said that two of the regular stars of this appellation were not present at the tasting: Haut Brion and Laville Haut Brion. This is because these wines do not deign to submit themselves to comparative blind tastings by us humble members of the press. Quite why, I am not too sure, as, at least in this case, the most expensive wine actually came out on top. Maybe they do not like taking risks. Of course one can go and taste them at the estate, knowing exactly what they are. But this does not seem fair to all the others, who are all tasted under identical conditions and without my seeing their labels. So I did not go.

So what did I like about it?

The finely-tuned and smooth complexity of the nose, that manages to blend subtle hints of wax and very gentle touches of vanilla with deliciously elegant fruit aromas. On the palate the wine is full of these fine flavours, and is well rounded by the ripeness of the fruit while staying alert and refreshing. It seems polished and yet quite delicate. The balance between all the ingredients strikes a note of harmony and the flavours taper off gradually and gently. This is a wine that should probably be drunk quite young, in fact as from now, although it will certainly keep well for a few years.