2019 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone Valley, France

Bright and floral on the nose. The tannins are extremely fine, almost imperceptible, but very much present, giving the wine a strong base for long aging. It's perfectly balanced resulting in a rich but surprisingly classic vintage.



So says Vincent Avril of 2019. After the paucity of yield in 2018 (9hl ha), he no doubt breathed a huge sigh of relief at the end of the harvest. For 2019 had heavily compensated them with a highly qualitative and generous crop, at least by Clos de Papes standards, which means yields of 20-25 hl /ha. This has meant a return to a more typical Clos des Papes blend, favouring Grenache. 2019 is a powerful, incredibly silky and balanced vintage that seems destined for a long life. In Vincent’s opinion it is comparable to legendary vintages 2016 and 2010.

Early summer was marked by an extreme heatwave in June. The rest of the summer was largely hot (but less extreme) and dry, punctuated by a small shower in July and again in the middle of August. Harvest started on 5th September with the white grapes, all of which were picked perfectly ripe and healthy by the 9th. Picking continued on the 10th with the Syrahs and earliest-ripening Grenache vines, but the heatwave returned on 12th September with temperatures of 35°C and no rain. Harvest continued but only in the mornings to preserve the freshness of the grapes (and of the picking teams!) Warm afternoon temperatures of around 28°C prevailed for the rest of September, as did the drought, but the harvest was of excellent quality and the grapes were impeccably healthy. Picking finished on 1st October. Trouble-free but slower than normal fermentations brought additional complexity to the wines, according to Vincent.

Vines are typically 30 to 40 years old, spread across 24 parcels. Matured for 12 months in foudres of at least four years of age.


Clos des Papes (Paul Avril) has a long history in the region thanks to the first Paul Avril. Avril was born in 1873 and passed away after 91 great years in the appellation. In fact, Avril was one of the key people responsible for the official birth of the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation. Avril began producing and selling Clos des Papes all the way back in 1896. However, the Avril family has a much longer history in Chateauneuf du Pape that can be traced back to the 18th century. During the second half of the 1700’s historical records show references to members of the Avril family having acted as treasurers and municipal consuls. Clos des Papes was one of the first estates in Chateauneuf du Pape, as well as in all of the Rhone Valley to produce, bottle and sell their own wine. Their first wine bearing the Clos des Papes label was released in 1896!

The second Paul Avril joined Clos des Papes in 1963. He passed away in 2009.

The current owner and director is Paul Vincent Avril, who was born in 1965. He started to work at Clos des Papes in 1988. Paul Avril trained at several other wineries before joining the family business at Clos des Papes. Paul Vincent Avril even had a stint at Chateau Mouton Rothschild in Bordeaux where he learned more about winemaking and the trade. It could be said that Paul Avril is a modern traditionalist. On the one hand, he destems the grapes, seeks low yields and does not filter. On the other hand, Paul Vincent Avril eschews new oak and would not consider producing a high end cuvee. His staunch philosophy is that would only serve to harm their main brand, which is Clos des Papes, a wine that has been produced for more than a century. In 2002, it was the idea of Paul Vincent Avril to start using the unique embossed bottle you see for Clos des Papes to this day.

The vineyard of Clos des Papes consists of 35 hectares of vines that are spread over 24 separate parcels in the Chateauneuf du Pape appellation for the production of their wine. 4 hectares in their cooler terroir are reserved for grapes used in the production of Clos des Pape Blanc, their white Chateauneuf du Pape wine.
31 hectares are used to plant grapes for their red Chateauneuf du Pape. Part of what makes the wine of Clos des Papes special is the range of different terroirs and soils their vineyards are located in. The vineyards of Clos des Papes have a wide array of terroirs ranging from the rocky soils of La Crau to areas of sand, limestone and gravel soil. Perhaps some of the complexities found in Clos des Papes are in the wine due to different soils their vines are planted in. They also have some of their best Grenache vines planted in sandy soils in the west and and southeastern part of the appellation. In the northeastern part of the appellation, you find they have more of their vines planted in the on soils littered with rocks, stones, clay and limestone. It is the blending of these diverse terroirs and the different grape varieties that create Clos des Papes. Most of these vines are devoted to red wines. Only 10% are reserved for production of the white wine. The white wine of Clos des Papes made its debut in 1955. At Clos des Papes, they practice biodynamic farming. In 2010, the property was certified “Agriculture Biologique.”


Grape(s) Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre
Farming Biodynamic