Only keep wines you love
with our Society's Promise
Free delivery on
12 bottles or orders over £75
and get £20 off your first order
An outstanding wine made from what was the lowest yields on record at this estate, with grenache particularly affected. As a result, it makes up a little over half of the blend with more mourvèdre to make up the balance. It offers a full-bodied palate with remarkable texture, a multi-dimensional range of flavours, with liquorice and kirsch, culminating in a long finish.
Product Code: RH38141
View all products by Paul Avril et Fils
Attaining perfection has been Vincent Avril’s aim ever since he took over the running of the Clos des Papes estate from his father, Paul. He is unquestionably an outstanding winemaker with an attention to detail that is second to none, seeing the estate move to the top rank of Châteauneuf producers. Yields are extremely low and likely to get lower as the vineyard is being converted to organic viticulture. The Clos itself is right by the ruins of the castle at the top of the village and is beautifully laid out in terraces, a showcase with all of Châteauneuf’s 13 grape varieties present. It is, however, just one of 18 separate plots scattered across the appellation, enabling the Avrils to play with the many different soil types and expositions. It also means they can spread the harvesting over a longer period of time thus obtaining the best from each of their sites. Whilst this is certainly demanding work, it is this amount of diversity in the estate that without doubt is behind the greatness of Clos des Papes. What also makes Clos des Papes stand out is the Avril family’s belief in the mourvèdre grape which was planted here long before it became fashionable. A normal vintage of Clos des Papes is around 65% grenache, 20% mourvèdre and 10% syrah, the balance being made up by all the other Châteauneuf varieties. With such a high percentage of mourvèdre, Clos des Papes is, unsurprisingly, long lived and needs plenty of bottle age.
In many ways Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the southern Rhône just north of Avignon, is the birthplace of the appellation controlée system in France. The Baron Le Roy, owner of Château Fortia, with the co-operation of his peers drew up a set of rules in 1923. Initially the regulations drawn up by the good Baron specified 10 grape varieties which could be used to make the wines, and when official AOC status was conferred in 1936 this became 13, and when revised again in 2009 the number of varieties permitted rose to 18. To be fair, the 18 include variations on varieties rather than adding new ones but it is still a number that represents the pragmatism of the rule-makers in the face of the plethora of grapes used by various growers.Indeed, although Châteauneuf is famous for its large, heat-radiating galet stones, the soils of the 3,200 hectares of vineyards in the AC are also diverse, ranging from the galets to pebbles, clay, sand, iron-rich limestone, marl, quartzite and sandstone with combinations and variations thereof. Almost all are alluvial, deposited by the shifting course of the Rhône over millennia having been left behind by retreating glaciers, and most are what might be described as impoverished. Many growers own land in different parts of the AC and so possess an assortment of terroirs. The land is relatively flat with the highest altitudes being some 120m above sea-level. The most famous vineyard area is Le Crau, which is covered with galets and on which the renowned Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe is among the owners. Some wines are blends across terroirs, but there are an increasing number of single-vineyard or terroir bottlings.The common factor to all areas is the heat of the growing season, made even more arid by the action of the mistral winds which carry away moisture. Temperatures during the growing season can reach 40oC, and ripeness in the grapes is rarely a problem, particularly in those terroirs where the galets act as storage heaters, soaking up the heat of the day and radiating it back at night. In fact, Châteauneuf-du-Pape has the highest minimum required alcohol level of any AC in France at 12.5%, though in reality most reds reach 14.5% quite easily. Some growers have planted vineyards with a northerly aspect to reduce the effects of the sun. Grenache, syrah and mourvédre are required under the AC laws to be pruned as gobelet or bush vines, without wires or trellises, in order that vine can shade the fruit to some extent and retain moisture within its shade.90% of Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s production is red, principally utilising grenache noir and often with the support of syrah and mourvédre. The remaining grapes, including white varieties that will make the 10% of production bottled as such or co-vinified with red varieties, are cinsault, counoise, vaccarese, terret noir, muscardin, picpoul noir and blanc, picpoul gris, grenache blanc, grenache gris, clairette blanche and rose, bourbulenc, roussanne and picardin. In theory a producer can use all these varieties in one blend. Château de Beaucastel is one domaine which has used all 13 of the originally specified varieties in their bottlings. Oak is used in reds or whites by many growers to mature their wine though not all do so, and the wood might be new, old, small barrels or huge vats. White wine is made using a variety of the grapes mentioned above. They are usually full-bodied and aromatic, and the best examples can age wonderfully.With the natural sugars in the red wine grapes being high, it is important that the grapes are allowed to reach phenolic ripeness, in particular that the tannins are balanced. Generally, the vine stems are removed from bunches, and some winemakers use carbonic or semi-carbonic maceration to emphasise fruit flavours.
The years go by and no two vintages are ever the same. In 2013, there was no spring. In its place, the cold, wet winter just seemed to go on forever. It wasn’t until July that temperatures began to rise, and suddenly summer arrived. Flowering was poor and the grenache grape suffered especially. The Indian summer, which was never too hot, came as blissful respite for growers who began to wonder whether they would ever be able to pick. Northern RhôneThe first thing Thierry Allemand said was: ‘At last! A true Cornas vintage’. His wines have virility, lift and an abundance of fruit; there is a definition to the wines that mark them out. 2013 northern Rhône syrah is sleek, succulent and concentrated. The tannins are present but, by and large, they’re ripe. So much so that many growers have gone back to whole-bunch fermentation, stalks and all. Crozes-Hermitage, the portal to understanding Rhône syrah, was outstanding in 2013. Wines from Cornas, Côte-Rôtie and Hermitage will all require patience, such is the weight of matter in these wines, but it will be rewarded. Southern RhôneThe south was more challenging. Not only were the yields incredibly low but there was hardly any grenache. What to do? Growers had to adapt, make fewer cuvées and then bring to the world wines with more syrah or mourvedre. So some of these southern 2013s are atypical, with more colour, more grip and more fruit. In some cases, the wines are fractionally less alcoholic too. The results are surprising though uneven and so the line up from the south looks a little different to normal as we too have had to adapt. There is more from Gigondas as unquestioningly 2013 is a great Gigondas vintage. Success in Châteauneuf-du-Pape was also possible: Vincent Avril at Clos des Papes made a great Châteauneuf but did so by severe pruning. He yielded just 13.5hl/ha, a record low at this estate.The whites - In a word: stunning. From Condrieu in the north all the way down to the Roussillon, 2013 is a stunning white vintage where fruit, grip and concentration combine perfectly.
There are no member reviews for this product. Click the 'Leave a Review' button to be the first.
Decanter 6th Oct 2016
mourvèdre than usual this year and tiny yields of just 13hl/ha. Pretty red
fruits, wild strawberry, samson and raspberry on the nose. Violet top notes
and a spicy side. Medium- to full-bodied with some darker fruit and firm
tannins that ride in on the long juicy finish - dry but not drying.
- Matt Walls
Decanter 1st Mar 2015
"Firm and fresh (30%
mourvèdre makes a mark) but with abundant fruit. Cherry, spice and loquorice
aromatics. Less power than some years but balanced and harmonious. - James Lawther"
Log in to view notes
Sign up for a carefully-curated selection of recipes, guides, in-depth expertise and much more.
By using The Wine Society website, you agree to cookies being used in accordance with the policy outlined below. If you do not agree to this, you must alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you or cease using the website.
You may alter your browser settings to turn off cookies or block those types which are unacceptable to you, but this will cause difficulties when accessing and using some areas of the site. Instructions on how to do this can also be found below.
4.4.1. What are 'Cookies'?
4.4.2. How do Cookies help The Wine Society?
Cookies allow our website to function effectively. Cookies also help us to arrange content to match your preferred interests more quickly. We can learn what information is important to our visitors, and what isn't.
The Wine Society does not accept advertising from third parties and therefore, as a rule, does not serve third-party cookies. Exceptions to this include performance/analytical cookies (see below), used anonymously to improve the way our website works, the provision of personalised recommendations, and occasions when we may team up with suppliers to offer special discounts on goods or services.
The Society uses technology to track the patterns of behaviour of visitors to our site.
4.4.4. What type of cookies does The Wine Society use?
We use the following three types of cookies:
184.108.40.206. Strictly Necessary CookiesThese cookies are required for the operation of our website, enabling you to move around the website and use its features, such as accessing secure areas of the website. Without these cookies, services like shopping baskets or e-billing cannot be provided. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:
220.127.116.11. Functionality & Targeting/Tracking CookiesThese cookies are used to recognise you when you return to our website and to provide enhanced features. This allows us to personalise our content for you. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:
18.104.22.168. Performance/analytical cookiesThese cookies collect information about how visitors use a website, for instance which pages visitors go to most often, and if they get error messages from web pages. These cookies don't collect information which identifies a visitor. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. It is only used to improve how a website works. Under this heading, we currently use the following cookies:
22.214.171.124. Authentication CookieIn order for us to ensure that your data remains secure it is necessary for us to verify that your session is authentic (i.e. it has not been compromised by a malicious user). We do this by storing an otherwise meaningless unique ID in a cookie for the duration of your visit. No personal information can be gained from this cookie.
4.4.5. How do you turn cookies off?
All modern browsers allow you to modify your cookie settings so that all cookies, or those types which are not acceptable to you, are blocked. However, please note that this may affect the successful functioning of the site, particularly if you block all cookies, including essential cookies. For example, In Internet Explorer, go to the Tools Menu, then go to Internet Options, then go to Privacy. Here you can change the rules your browser uses to accept cookies. You can find out more in the public sources mentioned below.
4.4.6. Learn more about cookies