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VL, Chateau Neuf du Pape

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Clos des Papes

Côtes du Rhône

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CLOS DES PAPESThe Palais des Papes
The Palais des Papes in Avignon, France is one of the largest and most important medieval Gothic buildings in Europe.

The building was enormously expensive, consuming much of the papacy's income during its construction. The Palais Vieux was constructed by the architect Pierre Poisson of Mirepoix at the instruction of Pope Benedict XII. The austere Benedict had the old episcopal palace razed and replaced with a much larger building centered on a cloister, heavily fortified against attackers. Its four wings are flanked with high towers. The popes departed Avignon in 1377, returning to Rome, but this prompted the Papal Schism during which time the antipopes Clement VII and Benedict XIII made Avignon their home until 1408.

Clos des Papes, BurgundyClos des Papes
The inviting Avril family has owned Clos Des Papes for more than 300 years. From 72 acres of vines scattered over the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation, present master of ceremonies Paul Avril is able to produce super-concentrated reds and traditional whites. He is not too keen on the use of small barrels for aging, as he believes that this gives the wine a too-rapid maturation, and prefers instead to use the large, traditional foudres of the region. Reds have a high proportion of grenache in the blend, while the whites (which make up some 10 percentage of production) are unusual in Chateauneuf, in that they have up to 20 percentage of picpoul in the blend. Today Paul Avril runs the property together with his son Vincent Avril. As early as in 1896 Paul Avril's grandfather started bottling wine under the mark Clos des Papes The property has today 32 ha. 3 ha. is with white varieties. 24 different parcels are spread around the town. A parcel is nearby the pope's castle and has been surrounded by walls (clos). From here came the name of the domain. A white Chateauneuf du Pape is made from equal parts of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Clairette, Bourbolenc and Picpoul. Drink young.

Clos des Papes 2004
A deep red, bright and with a very clean nose. It showed the candied fruit of young grenache with a little extra licorice and cinnamon from the other varieties. The palate has the same lovely intense, pure fruits. The Grenache is very upfront with sweet edges that break out to give the ripe berry flavors of shiraz with a licorice finish.
Chateauneuf du Pape
The Chateauneuf du Pape is one wine which best captures the sunny Mediterranean climate of the Southern Rhone Valley of France in a glass and definitely best enjoyed when warding off the winter's chill. They are produced in and around the town of the same name which was the summer residence of the popes during their exile to Avignon in the 14th century. And Clos Des Papes happens to be one of the premier producers of Chateauneuf du Pape.
Côtes du Rhône
The Rhone Valley, by its very nature, has always been the ideal route between the Mediterranean and northern Europe and the Atlantic. The Ancient Greeks used the Rhone to travel into the heart of Gaul to carry out trade. Wine production continued apace with the arrival of the Romans in 125 BC. During the first century AD, the competition between Italy and the Rhone area of Gaul became fierce. It is around this time that the Gallo-Roman villa of Molard, at Donzère, was built, along with many of the region's amphora workshops. It was only in the middle of the 19th century that Côte du Rhône became Côtes du Rhône, by including the vineyards on the left bank of the Rhone. This notability, which had been steadily accrued over the centuries, was given official recognition by the High Courts of Tournon and Uzès in 1936.

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