The best wines of the southern Rhône - from Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Châteauneuf-du-Pape, also known as C9dP, in the southern Rhône valley is considered by wine connoisseurs to be a legendary wine-growing region, which produces some of the greatest wines of France. It is therefore natural to belong to the highest quality level, the Cru. In the largest single appellation within the Côtes du Rhône, only 13 grape varieties are permitted for Châteauneuf-du-Pape red and white wines.
In addition, there are numerous regulations that determine the harvest, facets and work in the cellar. What ultimately emerges from these regulations is in the expert hands of the winemakers. But one thing is certain: only the best wines make it from Châteauneuf-du-Pape into the cellars of wine lovers.
Character and taste of wines from the AOP Châteauneuf-du-Pape
A universal statement about the typical character of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines cannot be made due to the varied maturation. Traditionalists understand themselves on strong and strongly aromatic red wines, which are full of dark berries and balanced acidity. New interpretations often experiment with Syrah or Mouvèdre as the main variety, which bring no less fruit and structure into the glass. Cherry, pepper, liquorice, black berries - each Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wine scores with distinct aromas that vary in strength from plot to plot and cellar to cellar.
The only things they have in common are the guidelines for an AOP Châteauneuf-du-Pape, for example the alcohol content, which must be at least 12.5% vol. - the highest in France. The so-called garrigue, the fine spice of lavender, rosemary and thyme, can also be found in many red and white wines from the appellation, which covers approximately 3,160 hectares.
Apropos white wine. The rare white wines from the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation shine with freshness, which is also gladly added to the red wines in small portions. In the tangy body, hints of apples, summer flowers and peach stand out. The light acidity completes the white wines, which, just like their red counterparts, only get better with age.
Guidelines for AOP Châteauneuf-du-Pape
- In a decree of 1966, the winegrowers themselves agreed on guidelines to ensure the high quality of the wine from the largest growing area of the Côtes du Rhône wine region.
- The ripe grapes may only be harvested by hand.
- Unripe, diseased or damaged grapes must be removed.
- The maximum yield may not exceed 35 hl/ha.
- The vines must be of low density in the vineyard; 3,000 to 3,500 vines per hectare are compulsory. In the past, this served the horses, which could thus move between the vines. Today it serves only the plant and an unhindered development of the vine. The wine must contain at least 12.5% vol. natural alcohol.
- The vines must be cultivated by goblet training.
Only the 13 authorised grape varieties may be used - but in any quantity and composition.
As long as these guidelines are adhered to, the winemaker can carry out all further steps as he wishes. Two types of wine cultivation have become established. In accordance with the long tradition, strong red wines rich in tannin and with a strong structure are pressed. Grenache, Syrah and Mouvèdre are the typical grape varieties for the full-bodied and correspondingly alcoholic wine, which is optimally developed with aromas of red ripe fruits as well as herbs. Still somewhat closed in its youth, Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wine develops strong and full-bodied aromas after years, which provide more depth, more fruit and more pleasure.
With the macération carbonique, the carbonic acid maceration, Châteauneuf-du-Pape develops extremely light and fruity - similar to the wines from Beaujolais.
The authorised grape varieties for Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine
For Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines, a total of 13 grape varieties are authorised. And although almost 95% of the wines from the AOP Châteauneuf-du-Pape are red wines, five white grape varieties are included in the range.
Red grape varieties of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines
- Grenache (leading variety)
- Terret Noir
White varieties of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines
- Picpoul Blanc
- Terret Picardan
It is also permitted to use different varieties of a grape variety, such as Grenache Blanc or Rosé.
The terroir between Avignon, Rhône and Châteauneuf-du-Pape
The old vines in the vineyard are surrounded by thick pebbles, the galets, which bask on the clay and sand banks of the Rhône. Although the climate provides sufficient warmth, the vines enjoy pleasant temperatures, especially at night, thanks to the heat stored in the galets. The rainy grapes are quickly dried by the mistral wind that blows around the vineyards about 130 days a year. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine gets a special spice from thyme, rosemary and lavender, which have spread around the vines. An overall diverse terroir, for a wine that is just as diverse and complex.
The Châteauneuf-du-Pape production area throughout history
Whatever the reasons for the papacy in Avignon, wine certainly had its share. Why else did the first two popes, Clement V and John XXII, force the cultivation of wine around Avignon and especially Châteauneuf-du-Pape. New vineyards were cultivated, winegrowers from Cahors were hired. From 1309 onwards, viticulture experienced an unprecedented flowering, the consequences of which are still evident today. The decorated bottles proudly bear the papal crown, the keys of Petris and the lettering Châteauneuf-du-Pape Contrôle. Pontifical symbolism that comes from a past steeped in history, but which has only left its mark on the bottles since 1937.
The introduction of the AOC quality system
The strengthening of the viticulture was soon accompanied by success. The wines, then known as Vin du Pape or Vin d'Avignon, from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and the communes of Orange, Bédarrides, Sorgues and Courthézon were in demand throughout Europe.
Soon all wines of the Côtes du Rhône bore the melodious name of the small village. In order to be better protected against such machinations and forgeries, the winegrowers agreed in 1894 to found the Syndicat Viticole. However, the Syndicat Viticole had no legal means of protecting the name Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Until 1923, under the leadership of Baron Le Roy Boiseaumarie, a court in Orange established the conditions that defined an original Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation was born and numerous growing regions followed suit. This was the foundation stone for the national organisation Appellation d'Origine Controlle, or AOC for short, today AOP.
The last vintages of wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape all bear witness to the careful work and high quality - with individual strengths, of course. We would also be pleased to inform you personally about the Châteauneuf-du-Pape red and white wines. Our sommeliers and expert staff are available for you or by email.
Mild winter, sunny summer, ideal conditions for the grapes. A fabulous vintage that can also hold its own against the wines of the 2010 vintage. The white wines shine with a wonderful freshness and a bouquet straight from the orchard. The red Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2016 wines, on the other hand, captivate with their accessible aromas - intense yet complex. Raspberry and black fruits dominate the deep taste along with citrus and the characteristic garrigue aroma. The silky texture of the 2016 Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wines is complemented by a very dark colour, so that the eye, palate and nose are equally fabulous.
In 2017, the AOP Châteauneuf-du-Pape celebrated the 80th anniversary of the bottle, which has been decorated since 1937. But not the only reason to celebrate. Despite the early and lowest harvest in 40 years, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines of the 2017 vintage know how to satisfy the highest quality demands. The red wines are lively and fruity, the white wines shiny and flowery. Due to the balanced tannins, the 2017 Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines have very good storage potential.
The year began on the banks of the Rhône with an extraordinary amount of rain, followed by a hot summer, which contributed to the excellent quality of the grapes. While the winegrowers had to struggle with downy mildew in the spring, the thick skins of the grapes ensured special care during the vinification process. Finally, the red wines developed a fruity bouquet, nourished by raspberry, plum and currant. The body impresses with balanced and velvety tannins and is therefore recommended for maximum enjoyment after several years of storage. The Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2018 white wines offer vitalising citrus fruit and a rounded drinking pleasure.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape - good vintages
|Some vintages have truly been convincing. Especially in the recent past the Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines 2016 and also 2015 have distinguished themselves. Before that, the wines of the 2010, 2007 and 2000 vintages were brilliant.
Buy Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines at the VINELLO wine shop
The exquisite wines from the world-famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOP, tested and approved by John XXII and other drinking popes, can be found in our wine shop in a colourful and exquisite variety. Directly from the benches of the southern Rhône we have brought you red and white wines for high quality enjoyment - to store, to drink, to inspire. Order Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines online and benefit from our service.
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