2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge, Clos des Papes, Paul Avril et Fils

2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge, Clos des Papes, Paul Avril et Fils

Product: 20091110487
Prices start from £375.00 per case Buying options
2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge, Clos des Papes, Paul Avril et Fils

Description

No-one understands Châteauneuf-du-Pape better than Vincent Avril. Vincent maintains that ripeness is all, yet ripeness differs quite radically between the many varieties of this commune. His control of this, in combination with his zealous and unabashed proclivity to perfectionism, makes Vincent a true master of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Yields are low in 2009 (19 hl/ha), the harvest was surprisingly early and the fermentation, according to Monsieur Avril, was unusually slow and difficult. Despite this, he has succeeded in crafting utterly delicious wines.

His Châteauneuf-du-Pape Rouge is an outstanding wine, by any standards, imbued with finesse and power, elegance and breeding. A quintessential expression of blended Grenache with red fruits, damson and cloves to the fore, this is also amazingly complex, thanks to the number of other varieties present.
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About this WINE

Paul Avril et Fils

Paul Avril et Fils

With Vincent Avril at the helm, Clos des Papes is one of the most highly regarded properties, not only in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but in the world of wine. This family estate has been certified organic for 15 years, with such high attention to detail often translating into impressively low production levels.

The 2019 vintage has come as a blessing to Clos des Papes. After the disasters of hail damage in 2017 followed by severe mildew pressure in 2018 (leading to tiny yields of 9hl/ha), it is brilliant to see that the new vintage is both extremely high in quality as well as generous in quantity. As ever, the fundamental work at this wonderful estate is firmly focused on getting things right in the vineyard, managing the synergy between the vines and the challenges that local weather can bring. Given that the vines here average over 50 years of age, they are firmly prepared and able to withstand many ordeals, including Mistral winds at 140km/hr and, in the case of 2019, a severe heatwave and drought conditions.

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Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The most celebrated village of the Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the birthplace of the now indispensable French Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée system – imperfect though it may be. Compared to the Northern Rhône, the vineyards here are relatively flat and often feature the iconic galet pebbles – the precise benefits of which are a source of much debate. Minimum alcohol levels required by the AOC are the highest in France, but at 12.5% it is well below the natural generosity of Grenache, which only achieves its full aromatic potential when it is fully ripe and laden with the resultant high sugars. Syrah and Mourvèdre contribute the other defining elements in the blend, adding pepper, savoury spice and structure to the decadent Grenache. There are a further 10 permitted red grape varieties which can be used to adjust the “seasoning”. Of the five white varieties permitted, it is Grenache Noir’s sibling – predictably perhaps – Grenache Blanc, which dominates, though Roussanne shows a great deal of promise when handled well, notably at Château de Beaucastel.

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Southern Rhône Blend

Southern Rhône Blend

The vast majority of wines from the Southern Rhône are blends. There are 5 main black varieties, although others are used and the most famous wine of the region, Châteauneuf du Pape, can be made from as many as 13 different varieties. Grenache is the most important grape in the southern Rhône - it contributes alcohol, warmth and gentle juicy fruit and is an ideal base wine in the blend. Plantings of Syrah in the southern Rhône have risen dramatically in the last decade and it is an increasingly important component in blends. It rarely attains the heights that it does in the North but adds colour, backbone, tannins and soft ripe fruit to the blend.

The much-maligned Carignan has been on the retreat recently but is still included in many blends - the best old vines can add colour, body and spicy fruits. Cinsault is also backtracking but, if yields are restricted, can produce moderately well-coloured wines adding pleasant-light fruit to red and rosé blends. Finally, Mourvèdre, a grape from Bandol on the Mediterranean coast, has recently become an increasingly significant component of Southern Rhône blends - it often struggles to ripen fully but can add acidity, ripe spicy berry fruits and hints of tobacco to blends.

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Critics reviews

The Wine Advocate97/100
Jancis Robinson MW19/20
Wine Spectator 96/100
Decanter96/100
Jeb Dunnuck95/100
Josh Raynolds, Vinous95/100
The Wine Advocate97/100
Still relatively young tasting, the 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape accents lush red fruit with hints of leather and Asian five spice powder. It's full-bodied and velvety, ripe, plush and long, a completely delicious taste experience that culminates in a lick of salted licorice. Owners should count themselves lucky to have purchased some, as this still has a decade or more of life ahead of it. As Paul-Vincent Avril said, "2009 is still a baby—decant it if you can.
Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate (August 2019)
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Jancis Robinson MW19/20
This year for the first time he’s made a blended cuvée for tasters because he found the blend in the glass didn’t last very well. We tasted each of his five separate cuves: one Grenache dominated and rich; one with more Syrah and liquorice and stricter; one all cherry charm; one very sappy with lovely ripe tannins.
The blend: still a little reduced even after a long walk of swirling round the chai but there is class here. But it’s meaty and masculine. He thinks it will close up fast after bottling in May 2011. A bit of liquorice and leather on the nose but wonderful richness on the palate, glorious breadth and the tannins are nowhere to be seen! Majestic. Great power but no beast, early signs are very good indeed. Structure and fine tannins, lightly leathery, starts to close a little on the end but it’s really a miracle of improvement over the five lovely ingredients.
Jancis Robinson, jancisobinson.com (October 2010)
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Wine Spectator 96/100
Sinewy and reserved, with a light dusting of cocoa powder over the tangy damson plum, red licorice and cassis notes. The long, supple finish, with a lovely wafting note of Lapsang souchong tea, is packed with minerality and tight-grained tannins that will need time to fully evolve. One of the more backward 2009s, though this should pick up steam in the cellar. Best from 2013 through 2025. 9,000 cases made.
James Molesworth - Wine Spectator (November 2011)
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Decanter96/100
A real winter warming glass of wine, with structure and weight. Initially tight-knit, it develops in the glass to reveal ripe, fleshy fruit and a long, rich finish. It is still youthful, with plenty of potential. The blend is one-third Mourvèdre, which is high for Châteauneuf, with Grenache, a little Syrah, and tiny amounts of the other varieties, all planted together.
Rosemary George, Decanter (December 2017)
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Jeb Dunnuck95/100
Considered by Paul-Vincent to be a hypothetical blend of the '05 and the '07, the 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape was showing its Mourvedre component on this occasion and had lots of kirsch, spice-box, dried flowers, Provencal garrigue and cured meat on the nose. Full-bodied, ripe and voluptuous, yet still showing the telltale elegance and seamlessness that's the hallmark of this great estate, it can be enjoyed today or cellared for another decade or more.
Jeb Dunnuck (September 2015)
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Josh Raynolds, Vinous95/100
Full ruby. Intense aromas of red fruit preserves, anise, lavender and exotic spices. Supple and expansive on the palate, offering deep raspberry and cherry flavors accented by floral pastille and spice nuances. Tannins come on late and build with air, but the fruit keeps pace. Finishes firm and very long, with resonating floral and spice notes and impressive energy.
Josh Reynolds, vinous.com (January 2012)
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