CHATEAUNEUF CLOS DES PAPES ROUGE MAGNUM 2018
PARKER août 2018 : 92-95
The 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape is approximately 50% Mourvèdre, with most of the rest being Grenache and a smattering of other varieties. It's strongly red fruited, with raspberries and cranberries most apparent, accented by hints of orange zest and Asian spices. Full-bodied and silky in texture, it's deceptively easy to drink given what must be substantial alcohol.
Paul-Vincent Avril winced as we discussed the yields in recent vintages. In 2017, his parcels averaged 15 hectoliters per hectare, while in 2018, he only harvested nine hectoliters per hectare. "I've never seen that before," he said. The aim at the estate is 25 hectoliters per hectare. In fact, many of the foudres in the winery held only water during my visit, as it's important to keep the staves in these massive oak vessels wet so they maintain their integrity. At least, said Avril, "The quality [in 2018] is good, because the problems were in May and June. The wines are elegant. Tannins mature, soft and smooth." Avril keeps back a portion of each vintage for direct sales to restaurants, and he'll rely on those sales of mature wines to help make up the revenue. And speaking of older vintages, readers who have the 2009s should count themselves lucky, as both the red and white are drinking well today.