Grape(s): 55% Grenache, 35% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah
Localization: Rhone, France
Tasting Notes: Beguiling, with a plume of black tea and incense leading off, followed by warmed black cherry reduction, cassis, melted black licorice, warm earth and 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.
98 Points - Decanter: 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. Drinking Window 2023 - 2042. (MW) Inner quote mark (9/2021)
96-98 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: Proprietor Paul-Vincent Avril expects to bottle 100,000 bottles of something approximating this "final blend," tasted out of foudre. A blend of 55% Grenache, 35% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah and other permitted varieties, the 2020 Chateauneuf du Pape looked exceptional on this day, offering up scents of framboise and kirsch alongside dried flowers and Asian spices. Full-bodied yet weightless, silky and long, this is special stuff, complex and balanced. Like many of the producers I visited in late 2021, Paul-Vincent Avril seemed happy to receive a visitor after so many months of virtual isolation. "We've had a good summer—not too hot," he said. The estates parcels were, however, badly affected by frost in the spring. His team began picking on September 20, paused over the following weekend for rain, and he expected them to finish on October 2. "The phenolic maturity is there, the sugars are there," Avril said. "No, it won't be like 2019, but I think we will come in around 14.5–15 degrees [of alcohol]. I think, I don't like to say before the vintage is finished." Of the vintages reviewed here, Avril said he finds the 2019 "more powerful and rich," comparing it to 2016 and 2007, whereas he calls the 2020 "really elegant." Clos des Papes farms 24 different parcels in the appellation, and Avril said they all bring something important to the blend. "Chateauneuf de Pape is a blend—a blend of grapes and a blend of the terroirs." The 2021 vintage marked his 36th vintage, and (JC) Inner quote mark (5/2022)
The Domain: The "Clos des Papes" estate includes some forty scattered hectares, approximately 80 acres.
There are no fewer than 24 different plots of land, which include some of the most beautiful soils in the Chateauneuf vineyards. The geographical separation of our vineyards enables us to control ripeness at harvest time since each sector does not necessarily reach the exact same stage at the same time. It also allows us to combine different varieties planted to the south. "Clos des Papes makes both red wines and white wines (10% of the production) for long-keeping, using traditional vinification and maturing. As I mentioned previously, our yields are deliberately low (an average of 28hl/hectare). and then undergo further strict sorting, to uphold our quality.