Clos des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2004
"Amazingly refined, with a pure, silky current of raspberry ganache and cassis flavors that glides along supple tannins. Hints of mocha, mineral and garrigue check in on the long, pure finish. Has serious structure for the long haul. All about balance and finesse. Drink now through 2030."
The 2004 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape is a surprisingly powerful wine that actually came in at alcohol levels equivalent to the 2003 (both 15.3%.) The wine is certainly one of the top wines of the vintage, with a dense ruby/purple color and a fresh nose of black raspberries and white flowers intermixed with kirsch, licorice, and spice. It is medium to full-bodied, not as voluminous and fleshy as the 2003, but beautifully made from their traditional blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, and the rest tiny percentages of other miscellaneous grapes. Everything is aged in large wood foudres prior to being bottled unfiltered. This wine is a strong effort from father and son Paul and Vincent Avril, and looks to have at least 20 years of longevity ahead of it. Think of it as a richer, more intense version of the 2001." Barrel Tasting: 93-95 points -The Wine Advocate
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.
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.