Clos des Papes is one of the great established names of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and in recent years has produced a succession of remarkable wines made by Paul-Vincent Avril.
For the red Chateauneuf, Clos des Papes uses up to 20% of Mourvedre in the blend. Grenache and Syrah are the other main components at around 50% and 10% respectively, with the balance being a mix of all the other permitted varieties. Clos des Papes is one of the few estates to use all permitted varieties for both red and white Chateauneuf. They are well-known for producing one of the most authentic and long-lived examples of the appellation having started estate bottling in 1896. The white Chateauneuf-du-Pape also ages extremely well providing great drinking pleasure for 20 years or more. It is made from almost equal percentages of all the permitted white varieties. The property has today 32ha, of which 3ha is planted to white varieties. 24 different parcels are spread around the town. A parcel is nearby the pope's castle and has been surrounded by walls (clos). From here came the name of the domain. These wines are very limited and always in high demand.
“Tasting in the cellar at Clos des Papes with Paul-Vincent Avril is an experience not to be missed, as he drops winemaking facts and philosophical nuggets into every discussion. With the focus on crafting only a single cuvée of red and white Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a visitor inevitably misses out on many of the decisions that led to the blending of any given foudre's contents, but it is easier to see a picture of the overall vintage, at least as seen through the lens of Avril's winemaking. Grenache yields in 2017 were approximately 15 hectoliters per hectare, versus 25 hectoliters per hectare in 2016, so there is much less wine, and the 2017 Clos des Papes will have a higher proportion of Mourvèdre as a result. Fortunately, the quality of the Mourvèdre was exceptional in 2017, Avril says. As readers seem to always demand updates at ten-year intervals, I asked Avril about his 2008. It's one of the wines of the vintage and remains delicious to this day. Without prompting, he also opened the 2003 (not overdone at all and still drinking well) and the 2000 (still yummy and in no danger of tipping over). "I like the wines between 15 and 20 years," Avril says. Sounds like good advice to me, although I find them wonderfully drinkable all throughout their roughly two-decade lifespan.” The Wine Advocate, September 2018.
Producer of the Year 2010 Paul-Vincent Avril, CLOS DES PAPES Le Grand Guide des Vins de France 2010, Bettane & Desseauve
2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc
Made from roughly equal quantities of all 6 permitted white varieties, Grenache blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Roussanne, Picpoul and Picardin fermented cool and kept on lees for 5 months, no malolactic. These whites have not only amazing richness and depth, but also fabulous acidity and structure enabling them to age effortlessly for 2 or decades.
’Vivid straw-yellow. Highly perfumed citrus and orchard fruit and floral qualities on the mineral-accented nose. Shows excellent concentration as well as vivacity, offering palate-staining pear, Meyer lemon and brioche flavors that stretch out steadily with air. The floral and mineral elements return emphatically on the intense, sharply focused finish, which lingers with serious persistence.’ (94-95) points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous, Oct 2018.
2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc
'Pale gold. Intense honeydew, Meyer lemon, pear nectar and toasted brioche aromas on the mineral-accented nose. Juicy and expansive in the mouth, offering densely packed, sharply focused citrus and orchard fruit flavors and a suggestion of gingery spices. Shows superb energy and mineral bite on the clinging finish, which features a sexy floral quality and repeating minerality. Drink 2021-2030.' 96 points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous, Oct 2018.
2013 Châteauneuf-du-Pape blanc
'Incorporating less Grenache than normal, the 2013 Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc is a beauty! Aged all in tank (no wood) and never going through malolactic fermentation, it’s beautifully fresh and delineated, with gorgeous apple blossom, white flowers, spice and hints of minerality all emerging from the glass. Medium-bodied and balanced, it can be enjoyed anytime over the coming two decades. Drink 2015-2033.' 94 points, Jeb Dunnuck, RobertParker.com, October 2014.
2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape rouge
'Paul-Vincent Avril and I tasted from several foudres of the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape. Foudre #17 was Syrah-heavy, with plenty of blueberry and blackberry fruit tinged with licorice. Full-bodied and rich, it was also silky and long (93 - 95 points). Number 19 was 55% Grenache and 45% Mourvèdre, more floral, herbal and spicy, with black cherry fruit and ample concentration (95 - 97 points). From #18, an approximation of the final 60,000-bottle blend, the wine was full-bodied and velvety, ripe and concentrated without going over the top, with cherry and blueberry fruit that lingered on the finish (94 - 96 points). According to Avril, the 2017 will be approximately 45% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre, with the balance mainly Syrah, and a finished alcohol of about 15.3% (less than in 2016).' (94-96) Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate, September 2018.
2014 Châteauneuf-du-Pape rouge
'(bottled with 14.3% alcohol and a pH of 3.7): Deep ruby. Highly perfumed scents of candied dark berries, cola and lavender oil develop a suave, smoky Indian spice nuance. Fleshy, expansive red and dark berry and floral pastille flavors display an impressive blend of richness and energy, picking up a mineral flourish with air. Finishes juicy, sweet and very long, displaying lingering, spice-tinged dark fruit flavors and slow-building tannins.' (93-95) Josh Raynolds, Vinous, April 2016.