JAMES SUCKLING: "Wild strawberries, red plums and wood on the nose. Some iodine and shells, too. It’s medium-to full-bodied with firm, fine and polished tannins. Juicy and savory. A little tight now. A blend of 80% merlot and 20% cabernet sauvignon. Try after 2024."
DUNNUCK: "Emerging from the team at Haut-Bailly, the 2018 Château Le Pape is mostly Merlot from deep, gravelly soils brought up in 20% new French oak. It's a classic Graves offering loads of gravelly earth and tobacco as well as chocolate black cherry fruits, medium to full body, a rounded, beautifully textured mouthfeel, integrated tannins, and a great finish. It's going to shine in 2-4 years (it's far from unapproachable today) and keep for 10-15 years."
WEINWISSER: "80 % Merlot, 20 % Cabernet Sauvignon. Purpurgranat. Betörendes Heidelbeer-Bouquet, SchattenmorellenSchattenmorellensaft und Veilchen. Am Gaumen mit cremiger Textur und stützendem, reifen Tannin. Im aromatischen Finale mit schwarzbeeriger Frucht, spürbarer Mineralik, etwas Wacholder, fein spröde endend."
DECANTER: "Welcoming berry fruit aromas make it clear that this is extremely concentrated. There are excellent floral and fruit aromatics that layer up over each other, and its power is latent. It's hard to ignore as it widens and deepens through the mid-palate. Brambly black fruits join tannins that build to the finish, making this a pretty serious Le Pape. 30% new oak. 3.87pH versus 3.85pH in 2009, so pretty high, which helps give this a luxurious feel although it lacks a little typicity. Hail affected 4ha out of the 9ha which, combined with mildew, meant a yield of 21hl/ha. Drinking Window 2026 - 2040"
WINE CELLAR INSIDER: "Medium-bodied, with a core of fresh, ripe, elegant red fruits, the wine is soft, sweet, refined and energetic. Forward in style, the finish shows off its savory ripe, red berries, dark chocolate, spice, herbs and tobacco leaf with ease. The wine blends 80% Merlot with 20% Cabernet Sauvignon."
WINESPECTATOR: "Ripe and structured, but succulent as well, with very juicy but youthfully compact blackberry and black currant fruit tightly wound with lacings of licorice, apple wood and tar. There is ample freshness and coiled energy though, so just give it a little time. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2023 through 2035."
ANTONIO GALLONI: "The 2018 Le Pape is surprisingly gracious in this vintage. Floral notes lift sweet red berry fruit, cedar, licorice and mocha flavors as this stylish, mid-weight Pessac-Léognan shows off its considerable allure. Even with all of the natural richness of the year, Le Pape remains elegant and nuanced. I would cellar the 2018 for at least a few years to allow the tannins to soften. If enjoyed young, a few hours of aeration will do wonders."
WINEADVOCATE: "The 2018 Le Pape is blended of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep garnet-purple colored, it comes bounding out of the glass with exuberant notes of crushed black plums, boysenberries and Morello cherries, plus suggestions of violets, tobacco leaf and underbrush. The medium to full-bodied palate is chock-full of juicy black and red fruits, supported by velvety tannins and well-knit freshness, finishing on a lingering peppery note."