Actor Gerard Depardieu has been named the 16th Pope of Chateau Pape Clement, at a ceremony at the Ritz in Paris.
Pape Clement under Bernard Magrez has since 1992 instituted the tradition of choosing a well-known ‘Pape’ to be a figurehead for the property for one year. They are chosen in recognition of their central role in the cultural life of France.
Previous Popes have included historian and author Alain Decaux (Pope of History), artist Bernard Buffet (Pope of the Arts), Peter Ustinov (Pope of Humour) and tv journalist and writer Patrick Poivre d’Arvor (Pope of Information).
Established in 1300 by Bernard de Groth, the future Pope Clement V, Château Pape Clement is a Cru Classé de Graves property that has one of the oldest documented histories of any Bordeaux vineyard.
The 59-year old Depardieu is a much-loved icon of French cinema. A long-time collaborator of Magrez, has starred in over 150 movies in France and abroad.
He makes a range of wines with Magrez, including Ma Verite de Gerard Depardieu in the Haut Medoc, and the Confiance de Gerard Depardieu in Cotes de Blaye. In 2005, he declared he was giving up acting to concentrate on wine-making. His title this year will be Pape de la Parole – the Pope of Words.
Magrez told decanter.com, ‘Depardieu has not only been an excellent winemaker for 20 years but, like all our Popes, he is a man of the arts. He has excelled in his domain not just because of his gift, but because of his force of character.’
Written by Jane Anson in Bordeaux