Clos des Papes
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Clos des Papes is one of the great established names of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, aptly named since a parcel of the land there is nearby the Pope’s castle and has been surrounded by walls (clos). The family has been living in the village for centuries and were among the people who created the appellation for the village, the first in France to do so. It is currently run by winemaker Paul-Vincent Avril who attended wine school in Burgundy in the 1980’s, and after working abroad (with a stint at Mount Mary with Dr. John Middleton) returned home to work with his father in 1988. Since then, he has succeeded to make what many regard as the best single example of the appellation producing just one red wine and one white wine–no special cuvees! They hand harvest all the grapes and allow natural yeast ferments, de-stemmed for the red varieties with all parcels vinified separately mostly co-fermented. Aging of red wines takes place in large wooden foudres of various sizes and ages for 18 months. White varieties are whole bunch co-fermented at cool temperature and aged on lees for 5 months with no malolactic fermentation before bottling. Yields are kept very low, frequently about a half or a third of what the appellation permits.
These wines are very limited and always in high demand.