Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the largest and most important wine appellation in the southern Rhône. There are over 300 hectares of vineyards and over 80 growers and more wine is produced in Châteauneuf than the whole of the northern Rhône put together. The vineyards are bounded to the west by the Rhône and to the east by the A7 autoroute.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape was the first ever Appellation Contrôlée established in France in 1932. Small drift boulders (galets roules), rounder rocks from the ancient river bed are a key aspect of what makes Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines so distinctive with the rocks reflecting heat back into the vines at night thus increasing ripeness and reducing acidity.
The gloriously rich red wines, redolent of the heat and herbs of the south are enhanced by the complexity which comes from blending several grape varieties. Fourteen are permitted for reds; Grenache, Mouvedre, Syrah, Cinsault, Vaccarese, Counoise, Teret Noir, Muscadin and Picpoul Noir, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Rousanne, Picpoul Gris and Picardin. With red Châteauneuf-du-Pape Grenache typically dominates with Syrah and Mouvedre in support.
White Châteauneuf-du-Pape is becoming increasingly sought-after even though it represents less than 10% of the total production.. Five grapes are permitted; Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Rousanne, Bourboulenc and Picardin.
Recommended Producers: Beaucastel, Clos de Papes, Vieux Télégraphe, Rayas, Charbonnière, Sabon, Nerthe, Domaine Perrin
Best Vintages: 2007, 2006, 2005, 2001, 1998, 1995, 1994, 1990, 1988, 1985