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Clos des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape (1.5 Liter Magnum) 2003

Rhone Red Blends from Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
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Winemaker Notes

#2 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2005

Critical Acclaim

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RP 97
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
While I've always loved the 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape, it was extremely controversial in its youth due to its exuberance and ripeness. Yet today, with the wine at maturity, all of that controversy has been put to bed and I know of no one contesting the beauty of this wine - the 2007 vintage in Chateauneuf du Pape will be the same. Looking at the 2003 vintage, Paul-Vincent told me that they started harvest on September 5, but quickly had to stop due to rain on the September 7. They waited for the vineyards to dry out and the last plots weren't brought in until October 4! As to the wine, this beautiful 2003 offers a kaleidoscope of kirsch liqueur, Asian spices, ground herbs, blackberries and incense. Full-bodied, textured, ripe and plush, Avril commented that this would evolve similar to the '89, but I certainly see no need to delay gratification here and would drink up while the getting's good!
WS 97
Wine Spectator
Lilting and perfumy, with a grace that belies the vintage, this offers layer upon layer of raspberry, boysenberry, floral, mineral and mocha flavors that glide to a long, silky, refined finish. So seductive, you almost miss how powerful it is--a masterful job of winemaking. Drink now through 2030.
JD 97
Jeb Dunnuck
A wine that was controversial with a lot of tasters on release (not for me), the 2003 Châteauneuf-du-Pape has been drinking beautifully for a number of years now. It's showing classic sweet red fruits, spice box, and garrigue notes in an ethereal, pure, elegant style. It has the sweet fruit of the 2003 vintage but is classic Clos des Papes today.
ST 95
International Wine Cellar
Dark red. Exotic, even flamboyant on the nose, which displays strong red berry preserve, candied cherry, mineral and floral scents. Round and juicy, with deep red fruit flavors and a strong note of licorice. This is showing even more energy today than it did on release. Lush and sweet on the finish, leaving behind spicecake and cherry notes. I rated this wine 94 points on release and now think that I was stingy.
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Clos des Papes

Clos des Papes

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Clos des Papes, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone, France
Image of 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.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape

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Famous for its full-bodied, seductive and spicy reds with flavor and aroma characteristics reminiscent of black cherry, baked raspberry, garrigue, olive tapenade, lavender and baking spice, Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the leading sub-appellation of the southern Rhône 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 Cinsault, 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 Blends

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With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, red Rhône blends originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley. Grenache, supported by Syrah and Mourvèdre typically form the base of the blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. With some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in Priorat, Washington, Australia and California.

In the Glass

The taste profile of a Rhône blend will vary according to its individual components, as each variety brings something different to the glass. Grenache is the lightest in color but contributes plenty of ripe red fruit and a plush texture. Syrah supplies dark fruit flavors, along with savory, spicy and earthy notes. Mourvèdre is responsible for a floral perfume and earthy flavor as well as structure and a healthy dose of color. New World examples tend to be fruit-forward in style, while those from the Old World will often have more earth, structure and herbal components on top of ripe red and blue fruit.

Perfect Pairings

Rhône red blends typically make for very food-friendly wines. These can work with a wide variety of meat-based dishes, playing equally well with beef, pork, lamb or game. Braised beef cheeks, grilled steak or sausages, roasted pork and squab are all fine pairings.

Sommelier Secret

Some regions like to put their own local spin on the red Rhône blend—for example, in Australia’s Barossa Valley, Shiraz is commonly blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to add structure, tannin and a long finish. Grenache-based blends from Priorat often include Carignan (known locally as Cariñena) and Syrah, but also international varieties like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, anything goes, and it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.

ARP354877_2003 Item# 354877