Parker-Joe Czerwinski 95, 2020-2030,
Bursting with striking red-fruit aromas and delicate cinnamon, clove and star anise notes, the 2018 Chateauneuf du Pape is another terrific vintage from this estate. While certainly full-bodied and powerful, it's also lithe and silky, with an almost airy feel on the palate that translates into great elegance on the lengthy finish.
One of only a few major estates in Châteauneuf du Pape to continue making single cuvées of red and white, Clos des Papes is a marvel of consistent quality, although the volumes bottled in any given year can vary considerably. Proprietor Paul-Vincent Avril uses the flexibility that provides to constantly vary the blend from year to year, using different parcels and grape varieties according to what works best. The relatively small amount of 2018 red features an unusually high proportion (roughly 50%) of Mourvèdre. It replaced much of the Grenache, which suffered in the spring mildew attack, yet the finished wine retains the identity of the domaine.
Deep magenta. Intensely perfumed, mineral-tinged raspberry and cherry preserve scents are complicated by garrigue and Moroccan spice nuances. Juicy and appealingly sweet, displaying fleshy red fruit liqueur, spicecake and lavender pastille flavors that deepen steadily on the back half. Smoothly balances richness and energy and finishes extremely long and sappy, with smooth, harmonious tannins and a strong echo of candied flowers.
Jeb Dunnuck,95-96+, Review While I’m normally able to taste the Châteauneuf Du Pape from multiple foudres and varying blends, due to the dismal yields, the final blend of the 2018 was already made and resting in foudre. The 2018 Châteauneuf Du Pape will be a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Mourvèdre, and the rest Syrah and other permitted varieties, which is a lot more Mourvèdre than normal, and it shows in the wine. Beautiful red and blue fruits, spice, ground pepper, and cured meat notes all emerge from the glass, and it’s medium to full-bodied, with notable concentration (especially in this vintage), terrific balance, and ultra-fine yet certainly present tannins. It’s not going to match the 2016 or 2017, but it’s an elegant, beautiful, classic Clos des Papes in the making. Clos des Papes remains one of the true reference point estates in Châteauneuf du Pape and is a safe buy in just about every vintage. I’ve yet to see the estate put a foot wrong, and even in more difficult vintages, they produce a beautiful, age-worthy wine, both with their white and red. The 2017 Châteauneuf du Pape is a profound wine that flirts with perfection, and comes in just behind the magical 2016 and 2007, and maybe the 2010, but time will tell. Regardless, comparing these great vintages over the coming two decades will be an incredible joy for any wine lover out there.
Wine Spectator 96, A very refined, silky style, with subtle bitter cherry, damson plum and raspberry coulis notes racing through, flanked by garrigue and sandalwood notes and ending with graceful rooibos tea and mineral threads. This offers understated luxury. Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre. Best from 2022 through 2038. From France. —J.M.