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Key wine facts you should know about the Famous Chateauneuf-du-Pape French wine appellation of the Rhone Valley in the South of France: grape varieties, top producers, terroir, climate, moet expensive wines, reds and whites, History and more.
Video about the 18 grapes of Chateauneuf: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozCtRVpfLxU
Some images in the video curtesy of Chateauneuf official website: https://www.chateauneuf.com/
Video Content & Transcription:
Like it’s pretty much always the case with French wine, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a village before it is a wine and a wine appellation or an AOC.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is in fact a charming little historic village located between the cities of Orange and Avignon, in Rhône Valley of South Eastern France.
The name Châteauneuf-du-Pape itself literally translates from French into “the new castle of the Pope” because in the early 14th Century, the Pope of the Catholic Church was relocated from Rome to the South of France, to the City of Avignon which is next to Châteauneuf du Pape.
Little wine anecdote: the pope at the time was Clement V, that same Clement that gave his name the famous Chateau Pape-Clement in Pessac-Leognan are of the Bordeaux region that is so dear to Bernard Magrez but that’s another story.
So how about the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape?
First you have to know that the wines of Châteauneuf have been enjoyed by the Popes and the locals for all those centuries. But their fame on the international or even national wine scene is not that old.
The Châteauneuf-du-Pape AC, the appellation was one of the first to be recognized by law, by the INAO, the French wine authorities back in 1920 so it is one of the oldest official appellations in France. Not a small feature.
Yet the global reputation of Châteauneuf wine didn’t really take off before WW2 and even more so under the modern influence of global wine critics lead by Robert Parker, starting in the 1980s.
RP loved the somewhat big, dense and bold style of wines that Châteauneuf delivers.
So Châteauneuf wines are mainly red, although the whites of Châteauneuf are also excellent and rather famous, but there’s less of them produced, they’re even rarer.
The powerful, rich and full-bodied red wines are made mainly from the 3 classic southern Rhône grapes that are: Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, the famous GSM blend.
Although, a total of 18 grapes, red and white are allowed to be blended in Châteauneuf wines which is somewhat of an oddity in French wine regulations. I made a whole video about the 18 grapes of Châteauneuf if you want to learn more…
As you expect, the climate in Châteauneuf du Pape is Mediterranean: dry, warm in winter, hot in summer, somewhat harsh and rough for the vines, which gives wines their concentration, in combination with the soil of course. The terroir.
Soils vary a little around Châteauneuf depending on where you are like everywhere. But they’re always variations around sandy and pebbly-dominant soils. The archetypal Châteauneuf soils that everyone has in mind are those incredibly covered in round pebbles deposited by the Rhone river that the French call the ‘galets roulets’, understand rolled river pebbles.
What else do you want to know? Top producers include:
Chateau de Beaucastel, Chateau Rayas, Clos des Papes, Domaine du Pegau, Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe and Henri Bonneau.
Prices start around $40-$50 and easily creep up to $200-$300 or more especially for small single vineyard cuvées.
The most expensive Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a wine called ‘Chimère’ made by California star-winemaker Manfred Krankl of Sine Qua Non made with local winery Clos Saint Jean that sells for about $1000 for a Magnum.
If you found this video useful, please give it a quick thumb up before you go to support my work and share with your fellow wine loving friends who also love to learn about their vino.
If you too like to learn about wine, have a look around my YouTube channel where I share the passion and knowledge as a French winemaker with 20+ years’ experience in the global wine industry.
And I will see you soon, in the wonderful world of wine. Au revoir! Santé. Cheers…
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