2020 Clos Des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape
"Clos Des Pape is One of My Top Chateauneuf Du Papes." - Dave Sokolin
Decanter | 98 DEC
Robert Parker Wine Advocate | 96-98 RP
A very Clos des Papes vintage,’ says Vincent Avril, and I know what he means - a vintage that naturally delivers the kind of fresh, elegant wines that this estate is famous for. A tasting of several foudres point to a wine with natural, easy balance. The Mourvèdre is excellent here this year, and adds great depth to the fresh and delightful Grenache that has notes of black tea, black cherry and iron. Elegant and very fine. (Drink between 2023-2042)
Decanter | 98 DEC
Beguiling, with a plume of black tea and incense leading off, followed by black cherry reduction, cassis, melted black licorice, warm earth, singed tobacco and garrigue accents. Offers breadth and depth with a seamless feel, capped by a subtle mineral edge that lingers lengthily amid the beautiful fruit. Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Best from 2024 through 2040. 8,000 cases made, 800 cases imported.
| 97 WS
Looking at the reds, the 2020 Châteauneuf Du Pape is a silky, elegant wine that shows the vintage to a T. I was able to taste through all the foudres of the cuvée as well as one that’s a final blend, with all showing beautiful red and black fruits, peppery garrigue, and floral nuances. The purity of fruit is remarkable, and this will be a medium to full-bodied, finesse-driven, yet still concentrated vintage for this cuvée that readers will love.
Jeb Dunnuck | 94-96 JD
Wine Details for 2020 Clos Des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape
|Type of Wine
Chateauneuf du Pape
: You can expect Chateauneuf-du-Pape reds selection to wash over you with a combination of leather, game, tar, and delicious dried herbs, creating a spice mixture that commands respect from even the harshest non-believers. Chateauneuf-du-Pape whites are ever so refreshing and bold, frolicking in a field of floral notes and earthy minerals.
: Proprietary Blend is a general term used to indicate that a wine is comprised of multiple grape varietals which are either “proprietary” to the winery or is blended and does not meet the required maximum or minimum percentage of a particular varietal. This also is the case for the grape’s place of origin, especially for region, appellation or vineyard designated wines. There are endless examples of blended wines which are labeled as “Proprietary Blend” and in conjunction with each region’s stipulated wine laws and regulations makes for a vast blanket for wines to fall into. Perhaps the simplest example is California; if a wine is to be labeled as Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, it is required to have at least 75% of the varietal (Cabernet Sauvignon) and 85% of the fruit must be cultivated from the Napa Valley wine district. If the wine does not meet the requirements, it is then labeled as Proprietary Blend.
: Wine is the lifeblood that courses through the country of France, pulsing with vigorous pride and determination. Viticulture is not just a hobby or an occupation in France; it is a passion, a cherished tradition that has been passed down through generations of wine stained hands. Winemaking is a beloved art that has been ingrained in the culture, an aptitude instilled in sons by fathers and the hallmark for which France’s reputation was built, allowing it to be renowned as, arguably, the most important wine producing country in the world.
For centuries, France has been producing wines of superior quality and in much greater quantity than any other country in the world. It boasts some of the most impressive wine regions, coveted vineyards and prestigious wines on earth. The regions of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhone, Sauternes and Champagne have become the benchmark, for which others aspire to become. Legendary producers such as Chateaux Margaux, Domaine De La Romanee Conti, Chapoutier, d’Yquem and Dom Perignon are idolized world-wide.
France has stamped its name on nearly every style of wine, from the nectar-like sweet Sauternes to hedonistic Chateauneuf Du Papes classic Bordeaux and Burgundy, to its sparkling dominance in Champagne. Many of the most infamous grape varietals in the world, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay originated in France and are not only beloved, but utilized in the creation of some of the greatest wines on earth. French wine production commands the attention of the wine market year after year. With over 860,000 hectares under vine, and numbers close to 50 million hectoliters of wine produced annually, France dominates the market and sets the standard for not only product quality, but also quantity.
France’s many contributions to the world of wine have been absolutely indispensable. The country is the originator of the term “Premier Cru,” coined the term Terroir (a French term so complex there is no literal translation) and has laid the blueprint for a structured appellation system, which others have implemented in their own countries. French vineyard techniques and winemaking practices are mimicked world-wide. California vintners have been replicating Rhone style wines for decades, South America has adopted the French varietal of Malbec and countries around the world are imitating Burgundian styled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
With vast diversity in terroir, France is home to some of the most hospitable winegrowing locations on earth. The combination of topography, geology, climate, rainfall and even the amount of sunlight combined with the long historical tradition of winegrowing and making, has allowed the vintners of France to not only hone their skills, but learn from nature to create a product that like the world in which it resides… is very much alive.
: While the Northern Rhone produces only about 5% of all wine coming out of the Rhone Valley, the quality of these bottles is not to be underestimated. The terroir in this region is heavenly for growing Syrah, Viognier, Marsanne or Rousanne - the only permitted grapes in the AOC. Picture this - the Rhone flows through the valley like an azure thread piercing the landscape, a reflection of the dreamy skies hovering above the vineyards, ready to produce rainfall at a moment's notice. The rocky soil of the steep, almost surreal hillsides provides a bountiful feast for the grapevine roots. The flavors and texture of Northern Rhone wines tell you everything you need to know as soon as your lips touch the elixir, like a whisper in the vigorous valley winds
As per the Southern Rhone wine, it is like taking a plunge into a whirlpool of juicy flavor. Every sip explodes forward like a crashing tsunami, bathing your tastebuds in delicious aromas of prune, chocolate, grass, and black fruit. The wines are so compelling that it can be hard to drink them casually at a social event without getting lost in their intricate textures and emotional depths. Let's set sail together, and drink deep from these luxurious bottles with our friends and loved ones.
|Chateauneuf Du Pape
Clos Des Papes
: The appellation of Chateauneuf-Du-Pape has a rich and illustrious history in the Rhone region of France. It is the birthplace of one of the most familiar names in winemaking. The foundation of this mighty appellation can be greatly credited to Paul Avril (the first), who was instrumental in placing Chateauneuf-Du-Pape on the map. He is one of the founding pioneers responsible for the official creation of the Chateauneuf-Du-Pape AOC, and assisted in devising rules and regulations in the construct of its winemaking procedures.
The Avril’s have remained in control of its family estate of Clos Des Papes since its inception and has imprinted an image of success not only on Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, but the entirety of Rhone. There is no room for experimenting at Clos Des Papes, as there is a straightforward and traditional approach to winemaking. There are two wines produced, a red and a white, and though it seems a simple production and not one of ambition, the method has been successful and prosperous since its first bottling in 1896.
Winemaking has remained relatively unchanged and has been carefully handed down from generation to generation and is now resting in the faithful care of Paul Vincent Avril. Considered a modern traditionalist, he is a proponent of destemming, low yields and not filtering. On the other hand, he eschews new oak and would not consider producing a high end cuvee, as his staunch philosophy is that it would only harm their main brand, Clos Des Papes Rouge, which has been in production for more than a century.
The estate consists of 35 hectares of vines that are spread over 24 separate parcels in Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, four of which are reserved for their green grapes used in the production of their white wine. These hectares are found in their cooler terroir which is optimal for their growth and ripening. The wine is comprised of 20% Roussanne, 20% Grenache Blanc, 20% Clairette, 20% Bourboulenc and 20% Picpoul. It debuted in 1955 and has been highly coveted since. The annual output for the Blanc is a mere 12,000 bottles.
Their flagship red wine is harvested from the remaining hectares and is a constant fixation for consumers around the world looking for top quality Chateauneuf-Du-Pape. The average age for the vines are 50 years or older and planted in the greatest lieu-dits in the appellation, including La Crau, Courthezon and areas near the village. One such parcel is located near the Pope’s castle that is walled in, which gave name to the estate itself. Clos in French can be loosely translated to wall or closed off.
The varieties planted for the rouge (red) consists of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah and 5% from other varietals which all blend and give to its unique, spicy quality and structural backbone. Clos Des Papes at its finest combines intensity, concentration, complexity, purity of fruit and elegance. It is a true expression of the appellation and the Rhone varietals that have such success in the soils here. The outcome is a supple, silky and luscious, velvet wine that is a beautifully crafted Chateauneuf-Du-Pape, which can age gracefully for decades. Since yields are kept low, the annual production is only around 7,000 cases.
Very few estates in France remain in the founding father’s family; however, such is the case for Clos Des Papes. It has been carefully and faithfully handed down, never losing its identity nor its importance on the appellation of Chateauneuf-Du-Pape. The Avril family and Clos Des Pape’s inspiration and influence on Southern Rhone has been tremendous, as is there wine. Clos Des Pape is a top tier wine with a history that precedes nearly every producer in the region and has become a staple in the wine market. If it were not for Paul Avril and his vision of perfection, Chateauneuf-Du-Pape may not be what it is today.