Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016
Forward-thinking Burgundy fanatic Vincent Avril has turned Clos des Papes into one of the most highly regarded estates in the appellation. Encompassing 35ha of vines spread accross 24 different parcels, making wine here is not without its complications! Vincent achieves such high standards thanks to a meticulous approach to making wine, adopting practices including severe pruning, de budding, organic viticulture, severe harvest selections, and gentle winemaking. Vincent puts all of his energies in making just the one red cuvee, the result is a beautifully balanced, very intense but not at all heavy Chateauneuf du Pape of the highest quality. Grapes are harvested when ripe at tiny average yields, rarely more than 25hl/ha, and upon reception into the gravity-orientated winery are lightly crushed before a 3 week maceration and fermentation. The wines are then reared for 12 months in 50hl oak foudres. The final blend usually comprises 65% Grenache 20% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah with the remainder made up of the less known varieties of Chateauneuf.
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Jeb Dunnuck Another perfect wine from this brilliant estate is the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which matches the otherworldly 2007. A classic blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah brought up all in old foudre, this beauty's deep purple color is followed by a mammoth bouquet of kirsch liqueur, black currants, blueberries, Asian spices, and garrigue. Full-bodied, concentrated, and powerful, it nevertheless is as graceful as a ballerina on the palate and has ultra-fine tannins, a silky, seamless texture, and a finish that just won't quit. Hats off to vigneron Paul-Vincent Avril!
Decanter Yields are always low at Clos des Papes, but this was Vincent Avril's biggest harvest since 2007, with yields of 25hl/ha. A tasting of various different blends highlighted the part played by each main variety, but the final blend shows a young wine that is already aromatically harmonious, bright and detailed. It's fuller-bodied than an average vintage, deep yet fresh. It has a powerful tannic and acidic framework this year, but the wine is very well balanced and very long, with a sublime freshness. An effortlessly brilliant Clos des Papes. Drinking Window 2024 - 2040.
Vinous 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.
Wine AdvocateThe 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape is full-bodied but balanced, with plenty of richness and concentration but also a certain paradoxical lightness. It offers complex garrigue and anise notes, a blend of cherry and raspberry fruit, a silky texture and a long finish that shows no sign of the wine's 15.8% alcohol. For technocrats, the wine's pH is 3.7, which is sufficient acidity to maintain a fine sense of balance. This lovely wine should drink well for at least two decades. Together with the 2015 and the 2017, it will be a compelling trio of wines to follow over the years.