B-21 Top Recommendation
The Avril family is more than just an important part of Chateauneuf du Pape; the family patriarch – Paul Avril – was a member of the group who established the appellation. Born in 1873, Paul Avril began estate bottling and marketing Clos des Papes in 1896. By the turn of the century, in 1901, Régis Avril joined the family business, delivering Clos des Papes to two French presidents: General de Gaulle and Georges Pompidou. The first Paul lived to be 89 years old and would be the influence for a new Paul Avril, who joined the estate in 1963, the man most of us know as the face and spirit of Clos des Papes; the man who elevated the estate to its current position, passing away in 2009. Taking over for his father, the current Paul Avril – Paul-Vincent Avril (who goes by the name Vincent) – worked with his father from 1988, studying in Burgundy for a spell and bringing even more finesse to a set of wines already at the top of their game. The estate's first vintage was their 1976, but it would be the 1999 "Cuvee Lucile Avril" – named in honor of the matriarch – which would elevate Domaine Durieu to the elite status. Based on the estate's finest, oldest Grenache, it has gained a world-wide, cult-like following. Parker, Jeb, just about anyone who loves the most important wines of Chateauneuf has written extensively on it. I have the 2007 and 2010 in my limited collection – impossible to resist.