2009 Wine Spectator Top 100: #42
"Absolutely stunning, with a deep well of crème de cassis that's thoroughly pure and captivating, while black tea, fig cake, hoisin sauce, incense and graphite notes weave throughout. The supervelvety finish lets blackberry, boysenberry and crushed cherry fruit take an encore¿as if this needed any more fruit. A fantastic display of precision in a very opulent year. Best from 2010 through 2030. 8,000 cases made." (WS)
"Paul Avril was a bigger-than-life vigneron, a visionary, and a great teacher, but Vincent has been in charge for a number of years, and he has rewarded his father with what I believe is the greatest Chateauneuf du Pape made since 1978 and 1990, the 2007. I have not only tasted this wine at the estate, but I purchased it for my cellar, and have now drunk it on three separate occasions out of bottle. It is unquestionably one of the great Chateauneufs of my lifetime, and I suspect it will merit a three digit score after another 3-4 years of cellaring. The blend is generally 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre, and the rest small amounts of Muscardin, Vaccarese, Counoise, and Syrah. It exhibits what is probably the deepest color I have ever seen here, and the finished alcohol is a high (for Clos des Papes) 15.5%. Still slightly restrained because of its recent bottling, but wow, what potential complexity, mind-boggling richness, and compelling flavor profile are apparent. It is a sublime expression of the art of winemaking as evidenced by its dense purple color and big, sweet kiss of kirsch, framboise, blackberries, licorice, roasted herbs, and smoked meat. It hits the palate with a fascinating combination of substance, power, full-bodied authority yet extraordinary freshness, elegance, and precision. Give it 3-4 years of cellaring, and watch it unleash its glory over the next three decades. This is a prodigious wine of great quality from one of the most important reference point estates in Chateauneuf du Pape.
Paul Avril, one of the legendary figures of Chateauneuf du Pape, passed away this year, but his talented son, Vincent, will continue to produce estate-bottled, traditional Chateauneuf du Papes. Visiting here without Paul in the cellars was melancholy." (WA)
"Deep ruby. Powerful, pungent aromas of kirsch, dark berries, smoky herbs and spicecake, with notes of black olive and tobacco coming on with air. Chewy, palate-staining dark fruit flavors are complicated by bitter chocolate, licorice and black cardamom. Acts like a 2005 today, with serious structure but also superb depth of powerful, densely packed fruit. A hint of cherry skin adds grip and refreshing bitterness to the long, smoky, focused finish. Not an easy read right now: this demands cellaring." (VM)