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CLOS DES PAPES - Paul Vincent Avril

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Paul Vincent Avril, among the most famous winemakers in Chateauneuf du Pape.

clos-des-papes-cahteauneuf-du-papeClos des Papes covers 40 hectares divided into 24 distinct plots. This division enables to control the maturity of the berries during harvest and to mix several grape varieties (65% grenache, 20% mourvedre, 10% syrah, 5% counoise, vaccarese and muscardin for the reds) and different terroirs.

The yields are about 28 hl per hectare, sometimes falling below 15 hl as in 2013! On top of that the winemaker operates a severe sorting of the harvest, the goal is always to enhance the quality. Aged in oak casks for 12 to 15 months depending on the vintage, the wines are traditionally glued with egg white but not filtered.

The Avril family has been settled in Chateauneuf du Pape since 1600, and the first vintage of Clos des Papes is 1896. It is signed by the great-grandfather of the current owner, Paul Avril. He contributed greatly to the creation of the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation: he gathered a commission at the town hall of the village in 1911 to establish the bases of the AOC which was launched in 1936. His son Regis Avril continued the export of the Clos des Papes (75% of the production is exported to 25 countries!). It was served in particular at the Elysee to General de Gaulle and then under Pompidou.

His son, Paul, who joined at 26, has perpetuated the tradition of quality to gradually transfer the estate to his own son, Paul-Vincent from 1988. For more than 20 years, Paul Vincent still works with the same philosophy: tradition elaboration of fine wines made for ageing, and irreproachable quality. He kept ignoring the temptations to produce some "garage wines", offering only one quality of reds (90% of the production of Clos des Papes, the remaining 10% being white). This courageous choice makes each bottle of Clos des Papes unique, coming from an exceptional and harmonious blending of grape varieties and complementary terroirs.

Why should you buy Clos des Papes wines ?

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Jeb Dunnuck, déc. 2013). As always, I had a great visit with Paul-Vincent Avril, and he continues to fashion one of the most elegant and seamless wines in the appellation. Yields here remain absolutely miniscule, with 2012 coming in at an average of 18 hectoliters per hectare, and the 2013s even smaller, at a bankrupt inducing level of 13.5 hectoliters per hectare. His 2012 is certainly one of the shinning successes in the vintage, and his 2013 should also be outstanding, with a Burgundian-like texture and acid profile.

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