The 2004 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape has turned out to be one of the finest wines of the vintage, tipping the scales at just over 15% alcohol and actually coming a few tenths of a degree within the 2003 and 2005 in terms of power and alcoholic degrees. The wine displays gorgeously sweet black raspberries, kirsch liqueur, and resiny, loamy soil notes. Medium to full-bodied, this blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah, and the rest some of the other red varietals that are permitted, is performing beautifully and is certainly one of the vintage’s superstars. The wine is full-bodied, powerful, rich, and as accessible as the 2003, but slightly fresher and not as muscular and thick. Nevertheless, this is a top effort from the father and son team of Paul and Vincent Avril. This wine can be drunk now but can be cellared for 15-20 years.
This exquisitely run estate continues to turn out wines of great fragrance, richness as well as flavor authority and integrity. The yields are always among the lowest in the appellation. While they have 87 acres and can produce as much as 8,000 cases of Chateauneuf du Pape, the yields in 2003 were 23 hectoliters per hectare, in 2004, 22 hectoliters per hectare, and in 2005, 21 hectoliters per hectare. Their best value, and it’s one heck of a bistro wine, is the non-vintage concoction of Grenache, Syrah, Merlot, and Carignan actually cropped at an amazingly low 32 hectoliters per hectare.