2014 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Clos des Papes, Paul Avril & Fils, Rhône

2014 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Clos des Papes, Paul Avril & Fils, Rhône

Product: 20141110490
Prices start from £67.50 per bottle (75cl). Buying options
2014 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Clos des Papes, Paul Avril & Fils, Rhône

Description

No visit to the preternaturally generous Vincent is complete without a vertical tasting of his white wine (his red too, come to think of it). The evolution of the white recalls Shakespeare’s seven ages of man, although in this case the youthful and senior manifestations are more impressive.

This is relevant because in youth the wine is dominated by notes of poached pear, white flowers and nectarines, approachable and textured but hitherto reticent about the joys and complexity to come. These are both guaranteed in this year which was particularly successful for the white wines. There is a little less Grenache Blanc (8%) than sometimes, the balance shared equally between Roussanne, Clairette, Picpoul and Bourboulenc. Drink 2016-2023
Simon Field MW, Wine Buyer
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About this WINE

Paul Avril et Fils

Paul Avril et Fils

A father-and-son team, Paul and Vincent Avril run the firm and are already established as one of the very finest wine making-partnerships in the southern Rhône. The domaine's situation is not helped by having plots of vines scattered throughout the area, but this does mean that they can spread the length of harvesting over a longer period of time and get the very best from each of their sites.

The blend, though this will vary annually depending on conditions, is predominantly Grenache (65%) with the remaining being made up of Mourvèdre, Syrah and a tiny amount of Counoise. Châteauneuf-du-Pape comes in many guises, its popularity has led to unscrupulous merchants driving prices up, and therefore quality down, to achieve light, thin wines that are frequently part-vinified by the carbonic maceration process more often seen in a Beaujolais.

To find the true character of these wonderful wines which age so well, one has to search out the dedicated growers such as the Avrils.

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Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the largest and most important wine appellation in the southern Rhône. It is home to more than 3,200 hectares of vineyards and over 80 growers; more wine is produced in Châteauneuf than the whole of the northern Rhône put together. The vineyards are bounded to the west by the Rhône river and to the east by the A7 autoroute.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape was the first ever Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée established in France, in 1932. Small, rounded rocks from the ancient river bed known as galets roulés are a key aspect of what makes Châteauneuf -du-Pape wines so distinctive, with the rocks reflecting heat back into the vines at night, thus increasing ripeness and reducing acidity.

The gloriously rich red wines, redolent of the heat and herbs of the south, are enhanced by the complexity which comes from blending several grape varieties. Fourteen are permitted for reds: GrenacheMouvedreSyrah, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Counoise, Teret Noir, Muscadin, Picpoul Noir, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Rousanne, Picpoul Gris and Picardin. With red Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache typically dominates with Syrah and Mourvèdre in support.

White Châteauneuf-du-Pape is becoming increasingly sought-after, even though it represents less than 10 percent of the total production. Here, five grapes are permitted: Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Roussanne, Bourboulenc and Picardin.

Recommended Producers: Château de Beaucastel, Clos de Papes, Vieux Télégraphe, Château Rayas,, Domaine de la Charbonnière, Sabon, Château La Nerthe, Domaine Perrin

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Grenache/Garnacha

Grenache/Garnacha

Grenache (Noir) is widely grown and comes in a variety of styles. Believed to originate in Spain, it was, in the late 20th century, the most widely planted black grape variety in the world. Today it hovers around seventh in the pecking order. It tends to produce very fruity, rich wines that can range quite widely in their level of tannin.

In many regions – most famously the Southern Rhône, where it complements Syrah and Mourvèdre, among other grapes – it adds backbone and colour to blends, but some of the most notable Châteauneuf du Pape producers (such as Château Rayas) make 100 percent Grenache wines. The grape is a component in many wines of the Languedoc (where you’ll also find its lighter-coloured forms, Grenache Gris and Blanc) and is responsible for much southern French rosé – taking the lead in most Provence styles.

Found all over Spain as Garnacha Tinta (spelt Garnaxa in Catalonia), the grape variety is increasingly detailed on wine labels there. Along with Tempranillo, it forms the majority of the blend for Rioja’s reds and has been adopted widely in Navarra, where it produces lighter styles of red and rosado (rosé). It can also be found operating under a pseudonym, Cannonau, in Sardinia.

 

Beyond Europe, Grenache is widely planted in California and Australia, largely thanks to its ability to operate in high temperatures and without much water. Particularly in the Barossa Valley, there are some extraordinary dry-farmed bush vines, some of which are centuries old and produce wines of startling intensity.

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Reviews

Customer reviews

Wine Advocate91/100

Critic reviews

Wine Advocate91/100
The 2014 Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc incorporates slightly less Grenache Blanc than normal and has more Bourboulenc and Picpoul in the blend. As always, it didn’t go through malolactic fermentation and was raised all in stainless steel. Hitting 13.6% natural alcohol, its medium-gold color is followed by lots of apple, lemon curd and citrus-like fruit characteristics that give way to more spice, toast and minerality with time in the glass.

Vibrant, fresh and borderline racy, while not being lean, it’s an outstanding white that will benefit from a year in bottle and have a graceful evolution for another decade or more.
Jeb Dunnuck eRobertParker.com #221 Oct 2015 Read more