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Clos des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2009

Rhone White Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
  • WS95
  • RP94
0% ABV
  • WS96
  • JD95
  • RP91
  • WS94
  • RP93
  • WS93
  • RP92
  • RP95
  • WS94
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Winemaker Notes

#10 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2010

Critical Acclaim

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WS 95
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.
RP 94
Robert Parker's 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.
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Clos des Papes

Clos des Papes

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Clos des Papes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
2009 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc
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.


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Famous for its full-bodied, seductive and spicy reds with flavor and aroma characteristics of silky black cherry, baked raspberry, garrigue, olive tapenade, lavender and baking spice, Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the leading sub-appellation of the southern Rhone River Valley. Large pebbles resembling river rocks, called galets in French, dominate most of the terrain. The stones hold heat and reflect it back up to the low-lying gobelet-trained vines. Though the galets are typical, they are not prominent in every vineyard. Chateau Rayas is the most obvious deviation with very sandy soil.

According to law, eighteen grape varieties are allowed in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and most wines are blends of some mix of these. For reds, Grenache is the star player with Mourvedre and Syrah coming typically second. Others used include Cinsaut, Counoise and occasionally Muscardin, Vaccarèse, Picquepoul Noir and Terret Noir.

Only about 6-7% of wine from Chateauneuf-du-Pape is white. Blends and single-varietal bottlings are typically based on the soft and floral Grenache Blanc but Clairette, Bourboulenc and Roussanne are grown with some significance.

The wine of Chateauneuf-du-Pape takes its name from the relocation of the papal court to Avignon. The lore says that after moving in 1309, Pope Clément V (after whom Chateau Pape-Clément in Pessac-Léognan is named) ordered that vines were planted. But it was actually his successor, John XXII, who established the vineyards. The name however, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, translated as "the pope's new castle," didn’t really stick until the 19th century.

Rhône White Blends

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Full-bodied and flavorful, Rhône white blends are made in France’s Rhone Valley and beyond, proving most successful in Spain, Australia, South America, and California’s Central Coast. They are made from a combination of two or more of the white varieties permitted in the Rhône, potentially including Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Viognier.

In the Glass

Each variety brings something different to the table. Round, textural Grenache Blanc contributes green apple and white stone fruit flavors; weighty Marsanne adds structure and delicate honeysuckle aromas; russet-colored Roussanne lends intriguing herbal, tea-like notes, and Viognier provides an oily texture and an elegant floral perfume. The flavor of the final wine will depend on the chosen components of the blend and their respective proportions.

Perfect Pairings

Since Rhône white blends tend to be fairly full-bodied, they can be quite versatile food pairing wines and can work with light to medium rich meals that might normally be matched with reds. Meatier fish dishes with bold seasoning like grilled swordfish with caper butter or baked, herb-crusted mahi mahi are natural allies for these flavorful wines. Other ideal dishes include roast pork in mustard sauce, poached lobster with beurre blanc, or a rich and savory vegetable quiche. `

Sommelier Secret

In the Northern Rhône, blends of Marsanne and Roussanne are most common, in the appellations of St.-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, and St-Péray (in Condrieu and Château-Grillet, whites are made from Viognier only). The Southern Rhône, on the other hand, has much more variety, with many more permitted grapes including Bourboulenc, Clairette, Picpoul Blanc, and Ugni Blanc.

CWC932044_09_2009 Item# 107368