The 2003 Clos des Papes was the winning bottle in the July Installment of Pick My Next Bottle. The wine was briefly decanted and served with Beef Stew on a stormy Summer night in Seattle.
Clos des Papes is owned by the Avril family, now headed by Paul Avril and his son Vincent. The family has been making wine in Chateauneuf-du-Pape for 300 years. The name Clos des Papes comes from the fact that the original vineyard was part of a papal estate located inside a chateau. The Avril family now owns parcels through the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation, giving the estate a total of nearly 90 acres of vineyards planted mostly to Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah.
The wine is light crimson in color and checks in at a modest 14.5% ABV. Soaring nose of ripe red fruits, grilled meats, white pepper and iron. Dense, concentrated and immensely powerful. Full bodied with more than enough acidity. Super fresh with exceptional balance. Garrigue, kirsch, pepper, raspberries and strawberry liqueur on the palate. The finish is exquisite. For my money there is nothing controversial about this wine. Great bottle from a great producer. Exciting Châteauneuf-du-Pape that will continue to develop for at least another 5-7 years. In retrospect I should have decanted this wine for more than 30 minutes. What a blockbuster!
My rating: 96 points.
Current vintages of Clos des Papes are readily available. Look for the the 2010-2012 but expect to pay upwards of $125 per bottle.
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