On the Ninth Day of Christmas…


…my true love gave to me nine bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape Clos des Papes Blanc 2004.

The default setting for Chateauneuf is red – rich, ripe, the ruler of the Southern Rhone. Consequently this delicious white is often overlooked.

One of the oldest winemaking families in Châteauneuf du Pape, the Avrils began their vinous adventures in the early 17th century. Today, the domaine is run by Vincent Avril who took over from his father Paul in the early 1990s.

Traditional producers with a modern twist, the Avrils no longer use stems in vinification and vinify in large ceramic-lined vats but do age their red varieties in large, old foudres in a humidity-controlled cellar. In addition, they are one of the few domaines in Châteauneuf du Pape to use all 13 recommended regional varieties in their red and all 6 varieties in their white.

Their fruit comes from multiple parcels that span the appellation which include the esteemed, La Crau. As a result, they have become masters of matching specific varieties with terroir and microclimates that best suit them. Needless to say, they have one of the longest harvests picking the grapes at the peak of perfection.

Robert Parker has a lot of time for the Avril’s wines and gave this white 89 points, “One of the best white wines of the appellation is made at Clos des Papes, the non-malolactic yet full-bodied and powerful 2004 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf du Pape blanc. Notes of white peaches, pears, citrus oil, and honeysuckle are present in the medium to full-bodied, fleshy 2004. It shows good acidity and a lively, vibrant mouthfeel. Drink it over the next 4-5 years, although some vintages have an amazing ability to last much longer.”