Paul Autard Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2018
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The base cuvée from this terrific producer, the 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape has a relatively modern style in its black raspberry and cassis-driven fruits as well as subtle hints of background oak, vanilla, scorched earth, and white flowers. Beautiful on the palate as well, with medium to full-bodied richness and a seamless, elegant texture, it’s very much in the style of this charming, front end-loaded vintage, and while it’s already hard to resist, I suspect it’s going to drink nicely for 10-12 years. This cuvee is 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre, aged 14 months in barrels, 50% being new.
The 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape has the same proportions as the Côtes du Rhône, being 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvèdre, but it is aged in barriques. Notes of cedar and wood spice do creep in on the nose, adding a bit of complexity to the black cherry fruit. There's a hint of leather on the palate, which is medium to full-bodied, but nicely ripe and supple without going over the top. Overall, it's contained and composed, with more fruit coming out with air and on the silky finish. Drink it over the next 5–7 years.
The Autard family effort began in Courthézon, with an old farm-turned-vineyard; then in 2005 the enterprise took a giant step forward, with the construction of a new cave that permits vast improvements at every stage in the winemaking cycle.
The Autard family effort began in Courthézon, with an old farm-turned-vineyard; then in 2005 the enterprise took a giant step forward, with the construction of a new cave that permits vast improvements at every stage in the winemaking cycle.In any undertaking that spans the generations, it is connoisseurship -- in the case of winemaking, a multiple matter of climate, land, vines, tools, and techniques -- that is the cornerstone...
Jean-Paul, as the heir of this expertise, brings to it his own ideas and intuitions, in order to enhance as well as perpetuate the Autard domaine’s well-deserved prestige. Jean-Paul, as the heir of this expertise, brings to it his own ideas and intuitions, in order to enhance as well as perpetuate the Autard domaine’s well-deserved prestige.
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.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.