This Clos des Papes is for me the best of the recent trio of classics from the 2005, 2004 and 2003 vintages. It combines
terrific fruit with superb structure, and should rival the 1990 when it reaches maturity. It’s really tight now, but it’s packed with dark fig, currant, espresso, licorice and chocolate notes. Superfleshy but seriously structured, there’s layer after layer of sweet spice, fruit and minerality pumping through the finish, with lots of latent depth and power. Far more backward than the 2003 and 2004 on release, but considering this typically puts on weight as it ages, it should be a monster when it reaches its peak. Best from 2009 through 2030.
The 2005 chateauneuf du pape has a deep ruby/purple color, identical alcohol to the 2006, and the same ph, but it is a much more tannic wine and the acids seem slightly more elevated, even though the analysis says they are not. a complex nose of resiny pine forest notes intermixed with black raspberry, sweet kirsch, licorice and lavender jumps from the glass of this deep ruby/purple-colored wine. full-bodied, powerful, rich, and tannic, this wine begs for 4-5 years of bottle age and should keep for 25+ years. in short, you can’t go wrong with either of these vintages, although the 2006 will provide more up-front charm, and the window for drinking it will be just as long as the 2005. patience will be required for the 2005. this remains one of the irrefutable reference point estates for traditional chateauneuf du pape. the wine is always aged in a battery of foudres in the air-conditioned and humidified cellars. vincent avril told me that yields have been very low since 2003 at clos des papes, with 24 hectoliters per hectare in 2003 and 21 hectoliters per hectare in 2004, 2005, and 2006. alcohols have consistently been above 15%, with the highest in 2003, and lower but still above 15% in 2004, 2005 and 2006. this estate has produced one of the great chateauneuf du papes of the 2006 vintage, and to my taste, it is a sexier, more hedonistic, and compete wine than even the 2005. of course, the classic blend is 60% grenache, 20% mourvedre, 10% syrah and the rest very small percentages of vaccarese, counoise, and muscardin.
The 2005 Chateauneuf du Pape (15.3% alcohol) has a deeper color than the 2004 and 2003 that I tasted side by side, and with its dense ruby/purple color to the rim, the wine has a fabulous bouquet of kirsch liqueur, raspberries, licorice, and a combination of spice and Provencal herbs. It is rich, full-bodied, with high but sweet tannin, good acidity, and a blockbuster finish of close to 45+ seconds. This is a knock-out wine that will probably need 4-5 years of bottle age and last for 20-25 years.
This exquisitely run estate continues to turn out wines of great fragrance, richness as well as flavor authority and integrity. The yields are always among the lowest in the appellation. While they have 87 acres and can produce as much as 8,000 cases of Chateauneuf du Pape, the yields in 2003 were 23 hectoliters per hectare, in 2004, 22 hectoliters per hectare, and in 2005, 21 hectoliters per hectare. Their best value, and it’s one heck of a bistro wine, is the non-vintage concoction of Grenache, Syrah, Merlot, and Carignan actually cropped at an amazingly low 32 hectoliters per hectare.