Chateauneuf du Pape 2017

Clos des Papes

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Tasting Notes

One of the strongest wines in the vintage is the 2017 Châteauneuf Du Pape from Vincent Avril. This beauty has everything you could ask for. As with the 2018, the blend is heavily shifted toward Mourvèdre, and it offers a mammoth bouquet of black cherries, graphite, cured meats, Asian spices, and assorted garrigue-like nuances. Deep, full-bodied, and concentrated, it stays straight and focused on the palate (whereas the 2016 is more expansive and voluptuous), with a stacked mid-palate, ripe, silky tannins, and fabulous length. You’re going to want bottles of this in the cellar, and comparing the 2007, 2010, 2016, and 2017 over the coming two decades is going to be a treat.

Score: 98

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com Maturity: 2026-2046 16 August 2019

The 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape looks to be a huge success and reminds me of the 2007. As is normal, Vincent keeps multiple foudres with different blends (as well as a foudre of the final blend), and it's always incredibly educational tasting through the different barrels. The final blend has a classic, sweet bouquet of kirsch, spices, and garrigue, and it's full-bodied, deep, and thrillingly concentrated on the palate. The blend is shifted more toward Mourvèdre due to the tiny quantity of Grenache in the vintage, which makes me think this cuvée might close down shortly after bottling, but it's upfront and incredibly expressive today. Paul-Vincent Avril continues to be one of the most talented and passionate winemakers in Châteauneuf-du-Pape today. From his estate located on the southern end of the village and pulling from roughly 90 acres of vines spread throughout the appellation, he makes a single white and red Châteauneuf-du-Pape and has resisted the urge to produce any special cuvées. The wine is always a blend of 60% Grenache 20% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah and the rest a mix of permitted varieties, aged all in older foudre in a temperature-controlled and humidified cellar. His Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a staunchly traditional and world-class wine that always shines for its elegance and texture. Time will tell, but my money is on his 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape being the greatest wine ever made at this address, although the 2007 from my cellar will give it a run for its money. Also, Vincent always pulls out older vintages during visits and I’ve included those wines here as well as few from my cellar.

Score: 96 - 99

Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com 28 August 2018

Paul-Vincent Avril and I tasted from several foudres of the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape. Foudre #17 was Syrah-heavy, with plenty of blueberry and blackberry fruit tinged with licorice. Full-bodied and rich, it was also silky and long (93 - 95 points). Number 19 was 55% Grenache and 45% Mourvèdre, more floral, herbal and spicy, with black cherry fruit and ample concentration (95 - 97 points). From #18, an approximation of the final 60,000-bottle blend, the wine was full-bodied and velvety, ripe and concentrated without going over the top, with cherry and blueberry fruit that lingered on the finish (94 - 96 points). According to Avril, the 2017 will be approximately 45% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre, with the balance mainly Syrah, and a finished alcohol of about 15.3% (less than in 2016). 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.

Score: 94 - 96

Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate Maturity: 2020-2035 31 August 2018