Paul Avril began producing and selling Clos des Papes all the way back in 1896. Clos des Papes was one of the first estates in Chateauneuf du Pape (all of the Rhone) to produce, bottle and sell their own wine. And Avril was one of the key people responsible for the official birth of the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation.
Clos des Papes makes two wines from Chateauneuf. A red that is 90% of production and a white. The grapes are from 35ha of biodynamically farmed, low yielding vines. They have 24 parcels across many of the great terroirs. The wines are 100% destemmed, not filtered and no new oak is used. They are wines of great quality and not covered by winemaker process. They live for the long term. The grapes used are 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah and the balance being Muscardin, Vaccarese to Counoise.
“Vivid ruby-red. Ripe, intensely perfumed raspberry, blackberry, cherry pit and pungent flowers on the highly expressive, mineral- and spice-tinged nose. Juicy and seamless in texture, offering palate-staining yet graceful red and blue fruit liqueur and floral pastille flavors and an exotic suggestion of candied fennel. Delivers flavor intensity without excess weight and shows no rough edges. Closes sweet, sappy and extremely long, with smooth, slow-building tannins framing lingering red fruit preserve and floral notes.” 95-97 points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous, July 2018.
Chateauneuf du Pape
The house of the New Pope. Where Grenache transcends its tendency towards mediocrity and because a noble variety. The reds can be a blend of up to 15 varieties with the main three being Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre. Some estates use all 15, some use as little as one. With a range of terriors and blending options it is hard to pin down CNDP to one style, so find a producer you like and find out their conspirators. The ability to age here is the same as great Burgundy or Bordeaux. The whites can be as outstanding as the reds but definitely on the expensive side.
AKA Garnacha. Originally a Spanish variety it is known for being aromatic, low in acid with moderate tannin and high in alcohol. Quite often Grenache is blended with other varieties to add structure and tame its exuberance. The top wines of Priorat, Rioja, Chateauneuf du Pape or Barossa can age extremely well.