Clos des Papes vertical (white)

Note: The white wine here sees no oak and does not undergo malolactic fermentation.

2005 Clos des Papes white – stony, bright, very fresh, with lots of mineral. Seems clean cut, but it’s really deep and long on the finish. 94 points (consistent with my official review).

2004 Clos des Papes white – Slightly plumper than the ’05, with a hint of anise, but still very floral and minerally on the finish. Lovely mouthfeel. Showing a little better than when I tasted it officially. 91 points.

2003 Clos des Papes white – really ripe, shows the heat of the vintage (but not acidified, stresses Vincent Avril), with citrus and peach flavors followed by melon and pineapple preserve. Long, creamy finish. 93 points.

2001 Clos des Papes white – Gorgeous acacia, lime and star fruit aromas and flavors. Very open and expressive. Long, creamy finish has a great stony persistence. A real eye-opener. 94 points.

2000 Clos des Papes white – fat and forward, with lime and melon, hint of nectarine, cherry pit. Soft, but pretty finish. 91 points.

1998 Clos des Papes white – mature, with notes of kiwi, lychee, lime and honey. Creamy and long – very Meursault-like, with acacia flower and stony notes adding definition to the finish.

1996 Clos des Papes white – Starting to smell like a mature Riesling, with dried pineapple, acacia, petrol, lemon zest and mineral notes all buried in a fat, creamy texture. Long finish. 92 points.

1993 Clos des Papes white – This keeps the freshness with its minerality, but starts to show more persimmon, chamomile, lemon verbena and sweetened butter notes. Plenty vibrant on the finish. 93 points.

1990 Clos des Papes white – this cuvée was the only one that ever saw any wood, as Vincent Avril made one barrel to see its effect, but never released it commercially. Lots of petrol, butter, melon, pineapple and kiwi, with a buttery feel to the finish. Shows good acidity and range, but is very old Riesling-like. 89 points. I much prefer the non-oaked version.

1990 Clos des Papes white – this is the normal vinification version, which was commercially released. Much fresher and livelier, with acacia, orange blossom, quince, cherry pit, lemon verbena and mineral notes. Long finish just caresses the palate effortlessly, and sails on with fruit and mineral notes. 95 points.

1986 Clos des Papes white – Lots of persimmon, honey, quince, bergamot and fig aromas and flavors, with green apple and pineapple chutney notes chiming in too. Great, stony, long finish. Still holding on great. Wow. 95 points.
Original Post
I'm looking forward to James' response here also. I have had some terrific and dissapointing experiences with my 99 Vieux Telegraphe blanc. When I asked our host on the VT tour a couple of years ago, he said (in French well beyond my capabilities!) to either drink them young (under 3 years) or else wait for 10 years from vintage. This is consistent to notes I've read from folks such as Coates, etc. I did bring one to a Rhone tasting here this past spring, and it was interesting. The nose (I thought) was rather retched...almost corked like. But the palate was rather lovely...lots of apricot by my taste buds.

James, what say ye about CdP Blancs?

Originally posted by Board-O:
I'm flattered that you follow my posts troll, but where have I chided anyone for opening white Rhones too early? Roll Eyes You are a very unhappy person. I pity you.

You change your story to suit your rant so take a look in the mirror.
Great question re: the whites.

The most prominent white CdP is probably the Roussanne VV from Beaucastel, which has a notoriously long dumb period, usually between ages 2 and 9+, and that has probably led to the perception that all white CdPs behave this way. But in reality, there is a lot of variation among white CdPs in terms of style.

There are those that are meant to age, and those that aren’t. The Vieux Tele white, Pegau white, St.-Prefert white and Vieux Donjon white for example, are wines that I prefer to drink up in the first year or two of life. The Vieux Tele can age, and it does have a dumb period similar to the Beaucastel, but not as long. The older ones I’ve had (after their reemergence) are nice, but I prefer this wine when young.

Clos des Papes white and the whites from Coulon, Beaucastel and Rayas are some that I think benefit from age. And to my experience, these whites do not have a long dumb period – they age in a very linear manner as we see with this particular vertical.

It’s a bit of a mine field, because of all the variation - Rayas is 50/50 Grenache Blanc and Clairette, while Clos des Papes is equal parts of all 5 white varieties (with Bourboulenc, Picpoul and Roussanne as well). Some see wood, others don’t. Some see malo, others don’t. Roussanne is prone to oxidation while Picpoul and Clariette are tight, acid driven varieties. The combinations are numerous, to say the least.

CdP vignerons basically admit that as a group they’re still finding their way with the whites, which don’t forget only make up about %5 of the appellation’s production.

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