Clos des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2011
Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
As with many houses in the region, the cépage for the red wine at Clos des Papes is based on a majority of Grenache (65%), with smaller quantities of Mouvèdre (20%) and Syrah (10%). The remainder of the blend consists of small amounts of some of the lesser-known varietals approved in the appellation, namely Muscardin, Counoise and Vacarèse. The wines spend their infancy in tank and are then transferred to large foudres for an élevage which lasts approximately 14-15 months.
The Wine Advocate - "One of the stars of the vintage and coming from absurdly low yields of 18 hectoliters per hectare, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape is a full-bodied, seamless effort that exhibits copious kirsch, ground pepper, dried flowers and underbrush as well as incredibly fine tannin, great mid-palate concentration and ample length on the finish. Relatively forward by this estate’s standards, it will be approachable at an earlier age than normal. Nevertheless, it will have 20+ years of evolution and is an awesome effort in the vintage."
Wine Spectator - "Delivers a beautifully pure and velvety note of cassis that holds sway over an ample range of blackberry paste, blood orange, singed apple wood and bergamot notes. The long finish shows succulent flesh and a buried iron accent. The grip is integrated, the acidity mouthwatering and the depth impressive for the vintage. "
International Wine Cellar - "Vivid ruby. Smoky cherry, red berry and potpourri scents show excellent clarity and pick up spiciness with aeration. Stains the palate with intense black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors, with a sexy floral pastille quality adding complexity. Finishes with impressive energy and thrust, firmed by fine-grained tannins and piquant minerality. Avril thinks that this will be an ager based on its balance. "
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Clos des Papes Winery
the "Clos des Papes" estate inclueds 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. View all Clos des Papes Wines
About Chateauneuf-du-PapeView a map of Chateauneuf-du-Pape wineries (shah-too-NUHF due Pahp)Southern Rhone's landmark region, Chateauneuf du Pape, was the first region to gain AC status in France. That was the 1920s – it's history goes much further back than that. As the name suggests, the wine region was named after the "new papal home," referring to the period of time in the 1300's when the pope resided in Avignon instead of Rome.
Photo of galets covering the soil at Chateau de Beaucastel
Notable FactsThere are 13 allowed varieties in Chateauneuf du Pape (14 if you count Grenache Blanc separately from Grenache Noir). Grenache is the primary variety, followed by Syrah and Mourvedre as well as Cinsault. About 97% of the wines here are red, although many chateaux are producing whites ranging from quaffable to decadent and ageworthy. Reds from the best estates emit wonderful flavors of gamey spice, blackberries and currant, as well as the herbs and spices that are known to grow in the region.
Note on the soil: The grapes grow on soils covered in rounded, smooth stones called galets (gah-lay). The stones naturally cover most of the soils throughout Chateauneuf du Pape and are two fold in their duties. First, they are able to reflect and absorb the heat, to quicken the ripening of the grapes. They also help to hold in moisture so that the soils are not dried out by the hot Southern French sun.
About France - Other regionsWhen it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.