2011 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
One of the stars of the vintage and coming from absurdly low yields of 18 hectoliters per hectare, the 2011 Chateauneuf du Pape is a full-bodied, seamless effort that exhibits copious kirsch, ground pepper, dried flowers and underbrush as well as incredibly fine tannin, great mid-palate concentration and ample length on the finish. Relatively forward by this estate’s standards, it will be approachable at an earlier age than normal. Nevertheless, it will have 20+ years of evolution and is an awesome effort in the vintage. Drink 2015-2030. One of the benchmark estates, Clos des Papes covers close to 90 acres in Chateauneuf du Pape and is run by the incredibly talented Paul-Vincent Avril. Favoring a single cuvee, his Chateauneuf du Pape is always a blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre 10% Syrah and the rest a mix of Vaccarese, Counoise and Muscardin. No new oak is used in the winery and all new barrels and foudre see three vintages of his non-vintage Le Petit Vin d’Avril before being used for his grand vin. Starting out, the two non-vintage Le Petit Vin d’Avril are both beautifully made (the vines are farmed just like Paul-Vincent Chateauneuf du Pape terroirs and the yields are miniscule) and well worth checking out.
Delivers a beautifully pure and velvety note of cassis that holds sway over an ample range of blackberry paste, blood orange, singed apple wood and bergamot notes. The long finish shows succulent flesh and a buried iron accent. The grip is integrated, the acidity mouthwatering and the depth impressive for the vintage. Best from 2015 through 2030.
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
I tasted the 2011 wine here in its four basic components, drawn from different foudres, followed by a sample of what Avril believes will be the final blend. #1: 75% grenache, 15% syrah and 10% mourvedre; intense, spice-accented red fruit aromas, with a sexy floral nuance and good back-end cut. #2: 50% syrah, 45% grenache and 5% everything else; richer and more masculine, offering deep dark fruit flavors and a hint of bitter chocolate; more serious than the first component but less precise and graceful. #3: 65% grenache and 35% syrah; graceful and silky in texture, offering vibrant red fruit and floral aromas and flavors. Very fresh, in an intriguing, pinot-like way, with excellent cut and length. #4: 65% grenache, 30% mourvedre and 5% syrah; emphatically spicy, with deep cherry and raspberry flavors and a hint of anise. The spiciness builds with air and carries through impressively. The final blend is bright ruby red with a heady bouquet of candied red fruits, potpourri and allspice, along with musky herb and mineral elements. Sappy and precise, with vibrant black raspberry and cherry flavors given lift by zesty acidity. Finishes clean and very long, with resonating floral and spice notes and harmonious tannins.