2016 Clos des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Year: 2016
Appellation: Rhone
Country: France
Wine Advocate: 97+
Vinous Media: 95-97+
Jeb Dunnuck: 100--Jeff Leve: 100
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.0%
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"The 2016 Chateauneuf du Pape is full-bodied but balanced, with plenty of richness and concentration but also a certain paradoxical lightness. It offers complex garrigue and anise notes, a blend of cherry and raspberry fruit, a silky texture and a long finish that shows no sign of the wine's 15.8% alcohol. For technocrats, the wine's pH is 3.7, which is sufficient acidity to maintain a fine sense of balance. This lovely wine should drink well for at least two decades. Together with the 2015 and the 2017, it will be a compelling trio of wines to follow over the years.

Tasting in the cellar at Clos des Papes with Paul-Vincent Avril is an experience not to be missed, as he drops winemaking facts and philosophical nuggets into every discussion. With the focus on crafting only a single cuvée of red and white Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a visitor inevitably misses out on many of the decisions that led to the blending of any given foudre's contents, but it is easier to see a picture of the overall vintage, at least as seen through the lens of Avril's winemaking. Grenache yields in 2017 were approximately 15 hectoliters per hectare, versus 25 hectoliters per hectare in 2016, so there is much less wine, and the 2017 Clos des Papes will have a higher proportion of Mourvèdre as a result. Fortunately, the quality of the Mourvèdre was exceptional in 2017, Avril says. As readers seem to always demand updates at ten-year intervals, I asked Avril about his 2008. It's one of the wines of the vintage and remains delicious to this day. Without prompting, he also opened the 2003 (not overdone at all and still drinking well) and the 2000 (still yummy and in no danger of tipping over). "I like the wines between 15 and 20 years," Avril says. Sounds like good advice to me, although I find them wonderfully drinkable all throughout their roughly two-decade lifespan." (WA)

"Vivid ruby-red. Ripe, intensely perfumed raspberry, blackberry, cherry pit and pungent flowers on the highly expressive, mineral- and spice-tinged nose. Juicy and seamless in texture, offering palate-staining yet graceful red and blue fruit liqueur and floral pastille flavors and an exotic suggestion of candied fennel. Delivers flavor intensity without excess weight and shows no rough edges. Closes sweet, sappy and extremely long, with smooth, slow-building tannins framing lingering red fruit preserve and floral notes." (VM)

"Another perfect wine from this brilliant estate is the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, which matches the otherworldly 2007. A classic blend of 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvèdre and 10% Syrah brought up all in old foudre, this beauty's deep purple color is followed by a mammoth bouquet of kirsch liqueur, black currants, blueberries, Asian spices, and garrigue. Full-bodied, concentrated, and powerful, it nevertheless is as graceful as a ballerina on the palate and has ultra-fine tannins, a silky, seamless texture, and a finish that just won't quit. Hats off to vigneron Paul-Vincent Avril!" (JD)

"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. 3694 Views Tasted Sep 18, 2018 (JL)