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The Top 10 Wines of 2014

#7

Clos des Papes

Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2012

97

Score

$135

Price

6,000

Cases Made

Clos des Papes has a long history of accomplishment, however, current proprietor Vincent Avril has raised the bar to even greater heights. He works organically as much as possible and maintains low yields, which between 2008 and 2012 averaged 1.3 tons per acre. Grapes are destemmed, and new oak is never used, resulting in elegant yet powerful wines. Grenache dominates the 2012 red (65 percent), followed by Mourvèdre (20 percent) and Syrah (10 percent). The remainder of the blend is made up of small amounts of the appellation’s lesser-known varieties.

Clos des Papes ages its wine in large wooden vats for up to 12 months before final blending.

Vincent Avril has boosted quality even higher at his family estate since taking over in 1987.

Tasting Note:

A stunner, with a gorgeous cassis aroma that soars from the glass, reinforced by a core of cherry and plum pâte de fruit, hoisin sauce, warm ganache and well-roasted apple wood notes. Hefty, but suave and seamless. The finish lets graphite and licorice elements glide through. The structure is dense, polished and perfectly integrated, resulting in lovely length. Should be a beauty after cellaring. Best from 2017 through 2032. –James Molesworth

  • Special Designation: Collectibles
  • Region: Southern Rhône Valley, France
  • Issue Date: Nov. 15, 2014