the 2006 chateauneuf du pape (15.2% alcohol, with essentially the same technical statistics as the 2005) is a completely different animal in terms of tasting. opulent, full-bodied, and lush, it tastes as if someone had blended 65% of the 2003 with 35% of the 2005, and 2006 was the result. deep ruby/purple-colored, with a sweet nose of framboise, raspberries, garrigue, spice box, and earth, the wine is gorgeously concentrated, with low acidity, and very ripe but high tannins. the overall impression is one of opulence, generosity, and a sexy, hedonistic style of chateauneuf du pape that puts it among the very finest of the vintage. nevertheless, i still suspect 2-3 years of bottle age will be essential, and this wine will keep for 25 or more years. this remains one of the irrefutable reference point estates for traditional chateauneuf du pape. the wine is always aged in a battery of foudres in the air-conditioned and humidified cellars. vincent avril told me that yields have been very low since 2003 at clos des papes, with 24 hectoliters per hectare in 2003 and 21 hectoliters per hectare in 2004, 2005, and 2006. alcohols have consistently been above 15%, with the highest in 2003, and lower but still above 15% in 2004, 2005 and 2006. this estate has produced one of the great chateauneuf du papes of the 2006 vintage, and to my taste, it is a sexier, more hedonistic, and compete wine than even the 2005. of course, the classic blend is 60% grenache, 20% mourvedre, 10% syrah and the rest very small percentages of vaccarese, counoise, and muscardin.