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.
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. 6,880 cases made.
Dark violet with a bright rim. Powerful, intensely floral aromas of kirsch, candied licorice and rose oil, plus a sweet damp earth quality that reminded me of a great young vintage port. But this is by no means porty in the mouth, as the vivid strawberry and raspberry flavors are streamlined and nervy, showing excellent lift. Finishes with fine, dusty tannins, very firm structure and outstanding length.
Here's another classic-scoring wine from father-and-son team Paul and Paul-Vincent Avril of Clos des Papes (the 2003 ranked No. 2 on last year's Top 100 list). The 2004 comprises 65 percent Grenache with 20 percent Mourvèdre, 10 percent Syrah and other local varieties, and was aged for 12 months in large, old oak barrels prior to final blending. The grapes are sourced from more than 25 parcels located around the appellation (the estate owns 77 acres of vines), and Paul-Vincent feels that this diversity of terroir adds to the wine's complexity. 6,880 cases made.
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.