TN: 2004 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape

  • 2004 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (1/5/2015)
    Most of a bottle drunk over two nights, including with evening meals. A glossy, attractive nose of garrigue, Provençal herbs, kirsch, red and dark cherries, crème de cassis, new leather, bull’s blood and cherry cola. However, this was marred, on the first night, by a strong, off-putting note of ethanol, although this was largely gone on the second evening. On palate, a very sweet entry, followed by a super-concentrated, very dense mid palate. Very ripe, perhaps overripe and over extracted. The tannins are very soft, sweet and a little gloopy. The flavours are red and black cherries, garrigue, blackberries, cherry cola and red liquorice. But, for me, there was no escaping, on either night, the alcoholic burn on the back palate. The label states 15% alcohol but I believe it has been rounded down, it certainly tastes that way. The alcohol, again to me, throws what could potentially otherwise be a nice table wine totally out of balance. I found the wine best to drink with heavy food, which could offset some of the alcohol. Having scanned some of the hundreds of favourable reviews here on CellarTracker I appreciate that mine is very much a minority view. (85 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Hi Howard
I am sure it is in a dull state right now. It will improve

Wow. I’m sorry to hear that as I own some of this.

That doesn’t sound very 2004-ish. I liked a lot of 04 Southern Rhones precisely because they weren’t overripe.

I’m curious, Howard – did you taste it on release? I can’t remember if I did or not.

Hmm…one bottle of the 2004 in the cellar. Might have to put it in the queue. I know I hated a recent bottle of the 2003, but I was hoping the 2004 was a horse of a different color.

Interested in readingng more data points about this wine. I too purchased at release because it wasn’t over ripe when I tasted and my 2 magnums are currently in my offsite, where it costs a finger-and-a-toe to have bottles pulled and delivered.

I’ve had mostly the same experience with the 04 Clos des Papes. It was when I decided that it had gone over to the dark side. Those who like overextracted CdPs (or for them, properly ripened), will like the wine and give it good notes. I mourn the old Close des Papes of the 90s up through 01.

Of course, I haven’t tasted anything really since 05–which I did not buy and which was part of my giving up on the wine–so maybe they have changed back by now. Given how expensive they’ve gotten, I won’t know, though.

A recent 1998 Clos des Papes exceeded my expectations. No crème de cassis or glossiness here. Of course, a delightful, rustic wine like this couldn’t command more recent vintages’ prices. Went GREAT with beef brisket. Drink now.

Claus, I really hope the 2004 does improve but I fear that alcohol won’t go away …

John, I bought this 2004 on release without tasting it and have cellared it since. I was actually looking for a 2005 in my wine locker but could not find one, so tried this instead … I have a few bottles from a number of vintages in the noughties. I’ll try a bottle or two of these in the next year or so to see whether the rest are worth my holding …

Peter, thanks for your comment about the 1998, I have a magnum of this. A relatively old fashioned Chateauneuf sounds good …

Cheers, Howard

I decanted the 04 as notes 5 plus hours so if you didn’t decant that could be part of your issues. The 98 to me was quite boring and had little character.

•2004 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (12/26/2014)
Annual CDP Tasting (Edina Country Club, MN): From a mag. Decanted 5 hours with a few Vinturi’s throughout that time. In fine form with red fruits, funk, spices, Garrique and still firm tannins. Plenty of flavor and medium to long finish.
Day two has improved and offers a wonderful balance and intense finish. Drink or hold. (94 points)

•1998 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape - France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Châteauneuf-du-Pape (12/26/2014)
Annual CDP Tasting (Edina Country Club, MN): Earth, subtle funk, raspberries and spice. A light wine with short/medium finish. Do not wait another day on these. (90 points)

No heat showing on the 04?

John G, I decanted and because I was drinking the bottle all myself and found it hard going I ended up drinking it over three nights, so it saw plenty of air. As my note says, the alcohol on the bouquet reduced, but not, significantly, for me, on the palate. I think the difference is just palate variation, so, in an odd way, your note on the 1998 makes me more hopeful about by 1998 mag.

I think it’s on the other John, who has 2004s, to break the tie …

Cheers, Howard

No heat showing on the 04?

Probably up front but after decanting I and the other six tasters detected none. On day 2 the wine was even better.

Howard, going to have to revise my offer, how about $43
Or may be 1 x Bell Hill Pinot or Chardonnay for x 5. ??

Yes, still quite young IMO

Yikes! I see the differing opinions but if my bottles match your notes, I will be sad. Time to dig one out.


I’d be interested to read your take Jason. In the worst scenario I can at least commiserate …


I’ll be on the hunt to actually find one in the locker. I have a few. Daughters birth year and was hoping it would end up on the pretty side. I didn’t recall the 15% alc.

Stand by.


I was at Clos des Papes in November and by Paul Avril’s generosity my wife and I tasted the 2004 after both the 2011 and 2012. Looking at the shiner bottle when he walked out of the cellar, I would say it had been opened prior as it was half gone at 10:30am and we were clearly the first tasters of the day.

After tasting the young stuff the 04 really stood out for depth while still being clean… I did not think it at all overextracted or hot. It definitely had some age compared to the babies, but the red fruit left the impression that it certainly had more to go.

I was so stupid to not take the Wine Check on my vacation. Clos des Papes rouge was 52 euro at the source… conservatively add 25% USD conversion and you get $65… just under half the US price. Not to mention the blanc. I would happily take a mixed case of the 2012 rouge and 2013 blanc, but alas I brought home only a couple bottles. It was a great visit. [cheers.gif]

Not to derail the thread, but how was the '11, Eric?

Not Eric, but I had it a few weeks ago. I didn’t find it beyond the pale in terms of extraction. It was quite ripe in the context of the vintage. From a value perspective (selected from the other wines tasted), I would be far happier owning two bottles of Pierre Usseglio 11 and pocketing the change.