As a contender for wine of the vintage, especially if you exclude the special cuvées costing multiples of its price, then Clos des Papes faithfully represents the best of 2017. Due to the poor flowering and subsequent drought the wine here is going to be less than 50% Grenache, which even here is unusual. Paul-Vincent Avril has been increasing his proportion of Mourvedre and Syrah and the small crop in 2017 really accentuates the style as well as vindicating his planting decisions.
The naturally low yield meant the vines had no problem ripening the crop as the volumes were so low and the deep roots of the biodynamically farmed vines were able to scavenge sufficient water to avoid excess stress. So what we have is a beautifully balanced wine that beats most 2017 Chateauneufs on freshness - always a challenge in this warm zone. This year production has been less than two thirds of the average, meaning that our allocation has been cut back.
So what's it like? It's a classic Clos des Papes with those quasi-Burgundian, super-fine tannins and a complex array of fruit and savoury flavours together with a fresh mineral balance. It works with the vintage but isn't dominated by it, showing a cooler blue fruit and concealing its alcohol behind the flavour intensity of the low yields and the minerality. It's good for at least twenty years and is likely to be delicious at every stage. /CW
Offered subject to remaining unsold; available autumn 2019
To place an order, click on the wine name below, reply to this email, or call 020 7638 5998