JEB DUNNUCK 96-99 POINTS: "The 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape looks to be a huge success and reminds me of the 2007. As is normal, Vincent keeps multiple foudres with different blends (as well as a foudre of the final blend), and it's always incredibly educational tasting through the different barrels. The final blend has a classic, sweet bouquet of kirsch, spices, and garrigue, and it's full-bodied, deep, and thrillingly concentrated on the palate. The blend is shifted more toward Mourvèdre due to the tiny quantity of Grenache in the vintage, which makes me think this cuvée might close down shortly after bottling, but it's upfront and incredibly expressive today."
DECANTER 96 POINTS: "There's 10% less Grenache in the blend this year, topped up with extra Mourvèdre which certainly makes itself felt. The final assemblage has a lovely depth and concentration of fruit, and is relatively tannic and structured in this vintage. It has plum and violet lift to the aromatic profile, and perhaps sacrifices a little elegance for power and potency in 2017 - not necessarily a bad thing, depending on your taste. A Clos des Papes for the depths of the cellar."
ROBERT PARKER 94-96 POINTS: "Paul-Vincent Avril and I tasted from several foudres of the 2017 Chateauneuf du Pape. Foudre #17 was Syrah-heavy, with plenty of blueberry and blackberry fruit tinged with licorice. Full-bodied and rich, it was also silky and long (93 - 95 points). Number 19 was 55% Grenache and 45% Mourvèdre, more floral, herbal and spicy, with black cherry fruit and ample concentration (95 - 97 points). From #18, an approximation of the final 60,000-bottle blend, the wine was full-bodied and velvety, ripe and concentrated without going over the top, with cherry and blueberry fruit that lingered on the finish (94 - 96 points). According to Avril, the 2017 will be approximately 45% Grenache and 40% Mourvèdre, with the balance mainly Syrah, and a finished alcohol of about 15.3% (less than in 2016) Tasting in the cellar at Clos des Papes with Paul-Vincent Avril is an experience not to be missed, as he drops winemaking facts and philosophical nuggets into every discussion. With the focus on crafting only a single cuvée of red and white Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a visitor inevitably misses out on many of the decisions that led to the blending of any given foudre's contents, but it is easier to see a picture of the overall vintage, at least as seen through the lens of Avril's winemaking. Grenache yields in 2017 were approximately 15 hectoliters per hectare, versus 25 hectoliters per hectare in 2016, so there is much less wine, and the 2017 Clos des Papes will have a higher proportion of Mourvèdre."