Clos des Papes is one of the Rhone Valley’s most venerable estates. The Avril family, now headed by Paul Avril and his son Vincent, have been making wine in Chateauneuf-du-Pape for 300 years. The name of the estate comes from the fact that the original vineyard was part of a papal estate located inside a chateau. The Avril family now owns parcels through the Chateauneuf-du-Pape appellation, giving the estate a total of nearly 90 acres of vineyards planted mostly to Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah. Some 10% of the estate is planted to the white grapes that make up the classic Chateauneuf-du-Pape Blanc. About 100,000 bottles of red are produced annually. Robert M. Parker Jr. has called the estate’s wines “brilliant,” and notes that they are especially long-lived. The estate produces just one red and one white wine, selling any cuvees of lesser quality to negociants.