Clos des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2009
Rhone White Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
#10 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2010
Wine Spectator - "Clos des Papes is widely recognized for its red cuvée (its 2005 earned Wine of the Year in 2007), but this estate also produces one of the appellation's best whites. From the Southern Rhône's excellent 2009 vintage, this wine blends equal parts Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne, Picpoul and Bourboulenc. To retain freshness, Vincent Avril fermented the wine in stainless steel tanks and avoided malolactic conversion. This white will benefit from a few years in the cellar. "
The Wine Advocate - "The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape blanc may be the finest white wine I have ever tasted from Clos des Papes. An equal part blend of every authorized varietal in Chateauneuf du Pape (six different grapes), it exhibits terrific fruit intensity, lots of quince, anise, nectarine and white peach notes, a full-bodied mouthfeel, terrific purity, a hint of honeysuckle and a layered, long finish. This stunning white Chateauneuf du Pape should drink nicely for 3-4 years, possibly longer. The malolactic is always blocked in this cuvee, and the wines have an uncanny ability to age for ten or more years in many vintages. "
International Wine Cellar - "Vivid yellow. Intense aromas and flavors of candied citrus fruits, quince and honey, with a floral topnote. Juicy and precise, with very good energy to its orange, orchard fruit and chamomile flavors. Closes with impressive thrust and floral character. This wine ages extremely well, by the way. I have recently drunk some older bottles that were all in fantastic shape. The 2004 shows impressive depth and a waxy, honeyed character, with bitter pear skin and citrus pith flavors and a velvety texture. And the 2001 is a rich, velvety wine that offers deep poached pear, honey and spice aromas and flavors, and excellent finishing bite and length."
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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 & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.