Learn everything about Clos des Papes, Chateauneuf du Pape with wine tasting notes, wine and food pairing tips, best vintages, a history of the property and information on the vineyards and winemaking. If you want to read about other important wineries and wine makers from the Rhone valley: Links to all Rhone Valley Wine Producer Profiles
Clos des Papes History, Overview
Clos des Papes (Paul Avril) has a long history in the region thanks to the first Paul Avril. Avril was born in 1873 and passed away after 91 great years in the appellation. In fact, Avril was one of the key people responsible for the official birth of the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation. Avril began producing and selling Clos des Papes all the way back in 1896.
However, the Avril family has a much longer history in Chateauneuf du Pape that can be traced back to the 18th century. During the second half of the 1700’s historical records show references to members of the Avril family having acted as treasurers and municipal consuls.
Clos des Papes was one of the first estates in Chateauneuf du Pape, as well as in all of the Rhone Valley to produce, bottle and sell their own wine. Their first wine bearing the Clos des Papes label was released in 1896!
The second Paul Avril joined Clos des Papes in 1963. He passed away in 2009.
Clos des Papes The Modern Age
The current owner and director is Paul Vincent Avril, who was born in 1965. He started to work at Clos des Papes in 1988. Paul Avril trained at several other wineries before joining the family business at Clos des Papes. Paul Vincent Avril even had a stint at Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux where he learned more about winemaking and the trade.
It could be said that Paul Avril is a modern traditionalist. On the one hand, he destems the grapes, seeks low yields and does not filter. On the other hand, Paul Vincent Avril eschews new oak and would not consider producing a high end cuvee.
His staunch philosophy is that would only serve to harm their main brand, which is Clos des Papes, a wine that has been produced for more than a century. In 2002, it was the idea of Paul Vincent Avril to start using the unique embossed bottle you see for Clos des Papes to this day.
Clos des Papes Vineyards, Wines, Winemaking
The vineyard of Clos des Papes consists of 35 hectares of vines that are spread over 24 separate parcels in the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation for the production of their wine. 4 hectares in their cooler terroir are reserved for grapes used in the production of Clos des Pape Blanc, their white Chateauneuf du Pape wine.
31 hectares are used to plant grapes for their red Chateauneuf du Pape. Part of what makes the wine of Clos des Papes special is the range of different terroirs and soils their vineyards are located in.
The vineyards of Clos des Papes have a wide array of terroirs ranging from the rocky soils of La Crau to areas of sand, limestone and gravel soil. Perhaps some of the complexities found in Clos des Papes are in the wine due to different soils their vines are planted in.
They also have some of their best Grenache vines planted in sandy soils in the west and and southeastern part of the appellation. In the northeastern part of the appellation, you find they have more of their vines planted in the on soils littered with rocks, stones, clay and limestone.
It is the blending of these diverse terroirs and the different grape varieties that create Clos des Papes.
Most of these vines are devoted to red wines. Only 10% are reserved for production of the white wine. The white wine of Clos des Papes made its debut in 1955. At Clos des Papes, they practice biodynamic farming. In 2010, the property was certified “Agriculture Biologique.”
Clos des Papes remains one of the top wines in the region. Prices have risen, but so has the quality. The wine has the ability to age and evolve for 2 decades or more. 2016 is perhaps the finest wine they have produced. But with so many great vintages produced here, it is really hard to pick a favorite.
However, a recently tasted bottle of 1945 Clos des Papes showed just how well this wine ages! That bottle was the greatest fully mature Southern Rhone wine I have yet tasted.
The best vintages of Clos des Papes are: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2012, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1995, 1990, 1989, 1979, 1978, 1961, 1959 and 1945.
If an award for the most consistent producer in Chateauneuf du Pape were given out for wines made over the past 60 years, or even longer, surely, Clos des Papes would be a contender to win the prize! This is easily borne out when looking at the list of top vintages from the property since the 1940’s.
Clos des Papes produces 2 wines, a red Chateauneuf du Pape and a Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc.
Clos des Papes Rouge is produced from about 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah and 5% from other varietals that range from Muscardin, Vaccarese to Counoise. It is the goal of Clos des Papes to always include a large portion of Mourvedre in the blend whenever possible, for its spicy qualities and structural backbone.
On average, the vines are at least 50 years or older. Yields are kept low. For an example, the young vines are on average 28 hectoliters per hectare while the older vines often have yields of less than 21 hectoliters per hectare. They have some of their best vines planted close to the village, and in the La Crau and Courthezon lieux-dits.
The grapes are 100% destemmed at Clos des Papes. The first vintage they began destemming their grapes 100% was 1991. Clos des Papes co ferments all their different grape varietals.
Vinification takes place in temperature controlled, stainless steel tanks. The wines are fined and not filtered. The wine is aged in old foudres for about 15 months before bottling. The production of Clos des Papes is close to 7,100 cases per year.
Clos des Papes Blanc which made its debut in 1955 is produced from a blend of 20% Roussanne, 20% Grenache Blanc, 20% Clairette, 20% Bourboulenc and 20% Picpoul. The wine is vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks for 6 months. The average annual production is close to 1,000 cases per vintage.
Character and Style of Clos des Papes At its best, the wine combines intensity, concentration, complexity, purity of fruit and elegance. The texture as the wine ages ranges from silk to luscious velvet.
When to Drink Clos des Papes, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time
Clos des Papes can be enjoyed on the young side. But this is a wine that is much better with cellaring. Young vintages can be decanted for about 1-2 hours or so. This allows the wine to soften and open its perfume. Older vintages might need very little decanting, just enough to remove the sediment.
Clos des Papes is usually better with 5-8 years of bottle age. Of course that can vary slightly, depending on the vintage. In the best vintages the wine should be consumed within 7-25 years after the vintage.
Serving and Decanting Clos des Papes with Wine, Food Pairing Tips
Clos des Papes is best served at 15.5 degrees Celsius, 60 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift.
Clos des Papes is best served with all types of classic meat dishes, veal, pork, beef, lamb, duck, game, roast chicken, roasted, braised, stewed dishes, barbecue, sausage and cassoulet. Clos des Papes is also good with Asian dishes, hearty fish courses like tuna, mushrooms pasta, eggplant, tomatoes and cheese.
The white wine of Clos des Papes is best served with a myriad of different seafood dishes, shellfish, crab, lobster, sushi, sashimi, chicken, pork and veal, as well as Asian cuisine.
Clos des Papes also produces the value priced, Southern Rhone wine, Petit Vin d’Avril.
Clos des Papes Wine Tasting Notes
24 Vintages 243,740 Views Sort by Vintage-Rating
|2016||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
The spicy cherries might be the first thing you notice, but it only gets better from there with all the flowers, pepper, herbs and kirsch that kicks in from there. Full bodied, rich, concentrated and luxurious in texture, the sensuous layers of cherry, plum and kirsch seem endless as they build and expand in the finish. The fruit has a beautiful purity and intensity that makes you want to taste it again and again. There is a hint of licorice and salinity in the finish that comes out with air. The wine is a blend of 55% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah and the remaining 5% consists of various, allowable grape varieties. This is a monumental vintage for Clos des Papes that should not be missed by fans of this wine.
3,180 Views Tasted Sep 18, 2018
|2015||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Elegance, purity of fruit, silky tannins and the ability to harness power, concentration, and freshness, keeping everything in balance is what takes place here. Perhaps this is the most consistent wine of the appellation for the past 5 decades. But I digress. This is really a fabulous, sensuous, sexy wine, with velvet textured tannins and ripe, sweet red fruits and spice that does not want to quit. The wine was made using 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah and the remaining 5% consists of various, allowable grape varieties.
5,978 Views Tasted Aug 21, 2017
|2014||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Elegance, purity of fruit, freshness and energy are at a very level for this semi difficult vintage. The wine serves up ripe, sweet, pure red fruits and spicy berries in suave, polished, sexy finish.
3,202 Views Tasted Aug 7, 2014
|2013||Clos des Papes Blanc (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Apricot, orange, melon and floral scents are coupled with a spicy, oily, fat, ripe, nutty, sweet wine.
1,952 Views Tasted Aug 7, 2014
|2012||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Violets, red cherries, raspberry and spicy plum scents make up the perfume. On the palate, the wine is silky, lively and fresh, expressing sweetness in the fruit, round, voluptuous textures and purity of flavor.
8,513 Views Tasted Aug 7, 2014
|2011||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Medium bodied, but not light, the nose kicks in with 5 spice, kirsch and peppery scents. The wine offers soft, round textures and a spicy, fresh, cherry, fennel and black raspberry finish that is further complicated by a hint of spearmint on the endnote.
4,288 Views Tasted Aug 7, 2014
|2010||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Full bodied, packed and stuffed with sweet, spicy berries, red fruits and floral notes. The wine is sweet, concentrated and dense. There is a lot of volume and depth in this wine. At 16% alcohol ,there is no sensation of heat at any point in the experience. I could be short changing this wine on the 98 Pt score, it's sublime and really leaves a lasting impression. A few years in the bottle should add a lot to this elixir.
8,147 Views Tasted Aug 7, 2014
Move on over 2007 and make room for the 2010. Until now, I was sure the best vintage of Clos des Papes was the sublime 2007. As good as that wine is, the 2010 is even better! This is intense, pure, rich, mouth coating and long, yet everything is in balance and harmony with its decadent layers of perfectly ripe, lush, opulent layers of fruit. There is so much depth and focus to this wine, it’s close to off the charts! At close to 16% alcohol, there is no sensation of heat as it’s buried under the avalanche of fruit.
8,465 Views Tasted May 27, 2013
|2009||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Black raspberries, cherry, floral and bay leaf on the nose, with silky textures, freshness, cherry griotte and raspberry flavors that feel soft, fresh and silky on the medium bodied palate. The wine leave you with sweet cherries on the end note.
6,007 Views Tasted Aug 7, 2014
|2008||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Earthy, smoky, red plums, medium bodied, lighter style of Clos des Papes with a focus on freshness, elegance, bright red fruits and spice. Drink this Burgundian styled wine on the young side. If you are thinking Parker is off his game on all the high scoring years, due to too much alcohol and fruit, you will like this wine a lot.
3,130 Views Tasted Aug 7, 2014
|2007||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Luscious, supple, rich, concentrated and focused on its purity of fruit. Ripe, sweet and yet, no heat, or jammy character, just silky, pure fruit here. This is really drinking well today. With time, this will even be better...
6,480 Views Tasted Feb 9, 2017
Showing some lightness in the color, the complex nose offers garrigue, kirsch, licorice, cherry, mint and forest scents that work perfectly with the silky, luscious, fresh, berries. There is a beautiful sense of sweetness, purity and freshness in the fruit that stays with you and lingers in the mouth.
8,244 Views Tasted Aug 7, 2014
This wine has been a beauty since I first tasted it in tank! What more could you ask for in a Chateauneuf du Pape? A complex nose packed with kirsch liqueur, garrigue, jam, spice and earth, sexy, lush, sensuous textures and a long, fresh, sweet, dark, black raspberry and cherry filled finish.
12,518 Views Tasted Nov 18, 2012
With a rich, deep color, the perfume exhibits pepper, black raspberry jam, grenadine, garrigue, licorice and raspberry liqueur. The opulent, silky textured fruit coats your mouth and palate, ending in a long, peppery, sweet, pure, red cherry liqueur finish. This is one of the most sensuous Chateauneuf du Pape wines I've ever tasted. WOW!
17,327 Views Tasted Dec 14, 2011
|2006||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
This is really drinking in the sweet spot. the showy nose, with its ripe and over ripe cherries, kirsch, pepper and garrigue starts you up, and the boatload of perfectly ripe, red fruits, spice and herbs, coupled with wild, silky textures finishes the job.
4,638 Views Tasted Jan 17, 2016
Just a lovely example of everything that makes Clos des Papes such a pleasure to drink. Combining freshness, opulence, ripe fruit, spicy notes and a complex nose, there is ample structure to age and a vibrant quality in the finish giving the lift and length. Still young, this is drinking well today, but a few more years will add more to the wine.
5,934 Views Tasted Jul 27, 2015
Thick, dense, yet light on its feet, the wine is packed with delicious, sweet, spicy red berries, kirsch, wet earth and floral scents with just a hint of sweet jam. Silky, plush and mouth filling, you can drink now, or age it. This is a beauty!
5,833 Views Tasted Aug 7, 2014
|2005||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Bright, fresh, peppery, black raspberry, kirsch, garrigue and fennel scents open to a rich, sweet, spicy plum and black cherry jam filled wine this is still young. But if you like your Chateauneuf du Pape on the young side like I do, it's showing nicely.
8,765 Views Tasted Dec 9, 2012
|2004||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
A beautiful nose with peppery red cherries and black cherries, earth, black raspberry jam and fresh herbs open to a soft textured, kirsch filled wine that is already drinking well.
5,627 Views Tasted Nov 25, 2012
|2003||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Concentrated, lush and full bodied, the powerful wine kicks off with jammy black cherries, pepper, figs and Provencal herbs. Not exactly delicate, this is more focused on the volume and stylistic character. There is a touch of dryness in the finish that is not off putting, but part of the wines character. There is no touch of heat or over-ripeness here. Still young, this is not your grandmother's Clos des Papes.
3,438 Views Tasted Jan 10, 2018
Much better than a bottle tasted a few months ago, still, while there was a lot to like here, with its jammy kirsch, spice, earth and peppery profile, this is not a wine I'd hold for more development. Drink up over the next few years is my advice.
4,894 Views Tasted May 18, 2017
Hopefully, as my instincts say, this was an off bottle. Much of the freshness and red fruit were missing, and instead, the wine showed an intense jammy, fig like quality that was far too overripe, and flabby. This was from the same case as other bottles that have been stunning. So, sadly, your guess was as good as mine.
3,554 Views Tasted Feb 10, 2017
Not as robust as it was during the prime of its youth, but then who is? Layers of sweet, ripe, very ripe and over ripe dark red fruits, licorice, spice, earth, herbs and kirsch liqueur are all over the place. Rich, lusty, but not over the top, this is not a wine to hold from here.
4,831 Views Tasted Oct 2, 2016
Perfectly ripe cherries, lavender, pepper and garrigue, with a faint hint of prune in the nose. Silky, soft and plus, with a great sense of purity, there is nothing over the top, or out of place in this wine. The sweet, ripe, cherries and kirsch carry all the way through. One could quibble and with the minor sense of heat in the finish, but that does not detract from the experience. At 11 years of age, this could be in the sweet spot.
5,614 Views Tasted Apr 27, 2014
Ripe scents of black cherry liqueur, raisins, pepper, black raspberry, spice and kirsch lead to a full bodied, packed youthful Chateauneuf du Pape. This is a very ripe, concentrated, powerful style of Clos des Papes that some tasters like more than others.
9,639 Views Tasted May 24, 2013
Smokey black cherry, garrigue, lavender, all spice, kirsch liqueur, fresh cut herbs and intense black raspberry scents create the compelling perfume. Dense, corpulent, concentrated and packed with layers of sweet, ripe, juicy fruit, this wine grabs your attention without an apology.The wine fills your mouth and coats your palate with layers of fruit and flavor. This seems young and should only get better over the next decade or two... This is not a wine of finesse. But it is a delicious wine of Chateauneuf du Pape.
10,987 Views Tasted Feb 27, 2012
When this wine was first delivered to the states, it stirred an intense controversy over the Internet. Awarded a high score by Robert Parker, some tasters called the wine a mess. I've enjoyed stunning bottles of this wine at times. On other occasions, the wine seemed like it suffered heat damage at some point. One specific friend has opened it numerous times and everyone of his bottles have been flawed. All my bottles have been sublime. At dinner last night, a guest brought a bottle and clearly, the wine endured damage along the way. The wine was light in color, flavor and density. There was an enjoyable level of kirsch, garrigue and herbs, but that is not what the wine delivers at its best. It was not a bad tasting experience, but this bottle was at best average.
9,730 Views Tasted Dec 30, 2011
This sports one of the darkest colors I’ve seen in a young Chateauneuf. Intensely concentrated with massive layers of ripe, dark and peppery, ripe red fruit. Full bodied, alcoholic and richly concentrated, I'm not sure why this wine invites all the controversy.
5,861 Views Tasted Oct 15, 2007
|2001||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
If you're seeking to get seduced by a mature, Chateauneuf, look no further The purity in the sweet cherries is perfectly matched by its earthy floral and spicy quality, soft textures and sensuous, red fruit filled finish.
2,926 Views Tasted Nov 13, 2017
What a super wine and in the perfect sweet spot too. Complex aromatics are in synch with the rich, sweet, concentrated, pure black cherries, earth, plum and spice notes that take up most of the room in your mouth. Fresh, long and clean, with great purity of fruit, what are you waiting for? Pop a cork!
3,112 Views Tasted Aug 23, 2014
A rich perfume of fresh black pepper, kirsch, 5 spice, fennel and black raspberry jam open to a wine filled with soft, velvet like tannins. The wine ends with a juicy mouthful of ripe Grenache, spice and kirsch. This is drinking great today.
6,743 Views Tasted Jan 24, 2012
|2001||Clos des Papes Blanc (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Good rich character, ripe, full bodied in an exotic style. Already showing well. Might not be long lived.
1,462 Views Tasted Jun 6, 2004
|2000||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
All good things must eventually come to an end, which is this wine is going. At weeks before its 14th birthday, the wine does not have the same freshness, level of fruit or vivacity it displayed in its youth. It was easy to find the kirsch, licorice and garrigue character, along with its trademark supple textures, but the wine is clearly fading. I'm going to finish my few remaining bottles over the next year or two.
3,959 Views Tasted Dec 4, 2013
Lush textures and a perfume packed with kirsch, Provencal herbs, earth, strawberry jam and pepper. Elegant, charming, sensuous, fresh, pure and drinking perfectly today.
6,060 Views Tasted Jun 4, 2012
Jammy blackberries, raspberries, cherry liqueur, Provencal herbs and black pepper are easy to find. The texture melds power with Chateauneuf styled elegance. Very concentrated wine. The long, pleasurable, multi-faceted finish is a treat.
3,042 Views Tasted Dec 17, 2008
|1999||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
On the fresh, bright, crisp and floral side, the cherries are still sweet, crisp, floral and elegant. The finish offers an elegant, bright, kirsch filled note. Not the deepest or more concentrated wine from the estate, but it is among the more refined and charming vintages produced here.
648 Views Tasted Oct 6, 2018
|1998||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Elegant in style, there is good freshness to all the sweet, ripe, kirsch, cherries and black raspberries, accompanied by spice, herbs and black pepper aromatics. Medium bodied, silky and refined, this is already fully mature. There is no reason to hold it for further aging.
2,711 Views Tasted Sep 23, 2016
|1995||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Kirsch, pepper, fresh herbs, strawberries and ripe cherries open to a soft, ripe, elegant expression of Grenache. At close to 20 years of age, this seems to be a fully mature Chateauneuf du Pape that is right on top of its game.
4,317 Views Tasted Aug 11, 2014
Black cherry, kirsch, earth, truffle and fresh market herbs. Robust, concentrated black cherry and herb flavors end with a dense melange of dark cherry, jam and plum flavors. This fully mature Chateauneuf du Pape might have been a little more interesting a year or two ago. There is no reason to age this any longer.
4,491 Views Tasted May 15, 2011
|1990||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
This fully mature Chateauneuf du Pape offered a lot of excitement on the nose. Fresh black cherry, garrigue, kirsch, herbs, camphor and anise made up the perfume. Full bodied with soft textures, concentration and finesse. If the spicy, kirsch filled finish was a bit longer, it would have earned a higher score. This is not going to improve. I'm going to enjoy my two remaining bottles over the next year or two.
4,633 Views Tasted Jun 10, 2010
Calling it a mini version of Rayas is an accurate description. The nose exploded from the glass with spicy cherry tones, herbs, jammy black fruits and pepper. As good as the nose was, the palate might even have been better! Dense, thick, full bodied fruits filled your mouth with layers of elegant red and black fruits. The finish lasted at least :35.
2,103 Views Tasted Feb 12, 2005
|1979||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Every time I have this wine, I walk away impressed and this bottle was no exception. Still vibrant, fresh, lusty and full of life, the fruit were there in abundance and the delicious finish really sticks with you.
1,774 Views Tasted Apr 16, 2016
Tasted blind, I was sure this was several years younger than its true age. The attention grabbing aromatics with their earthy, pepper, kirsch, garrigue and spice don’t let go. The silky, ripe, array of ripe fruits on the palate are even better. There is no reason to hold back from popping a cork if you are lucky enough to own this wine.
3,263 Views Tasted May 21, 2013
|1945||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
Cloudy, red in color, ample scents of kirsch liqueur, truffle, grilled steak, cherry wood, cherry pipe tobacco, spice and black cherry caught your attention and kept it. Soft, sweet, pure and intense, with time in the glass, the elegant, spice, red berry filled wine began to fade. On the other hand, a wine like this is a time machine. World War Two had just ended. The Nazis were defeated in and much of Europe was in shambles, needing to be rebuilt. Knowing that was taking place while this wine was alive, once again, wine became the only working time machine!
3,218 Views Tasted Mar 29, 2012
|1937||Clos des Papes (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)|
The oldest Rhone I have ever tasted was the color of light tea. The smoky, mineral and herbal perfume had no hints of fruit. Soft, rustic herbs and tart cherries were found in the finish. While this was not a great or even good wine, tasting bottled history is always a treat.
2,502 Views Tasted May 7, 2014