Visit to Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Grapes of Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Châteauneuf-du-Pape is situated about 3 km east of the River Rhône, between Avignon and Orange. It
One of the vineyards near the castle ruins of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
literally means “the Pope’s new castle”, and the Avignon popes were said to be great lovers of the local red wine. The wines produced in this area came to be known as “Vin du Pape”.

In 1936 Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines became the first French appellation contrôlée wines. Some minor changes were made in later years. The main grapes are Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, and the large majority of the wine is red. They do not produce any rosé.
Vineyards east of Châteauneuf-du-Pape

The good Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines are now expensive, and many are now interested in the Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC area. Producers for these wines must obey stricter rules than those prescribed for Côtes du Rhône AOC wines. Eighteen villages are now allowed to use their village name on the
Rhône seen from the castle ruins of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
label by obeying even stricter rules.
One of the many wine tasting caves in Châteauneuf-du-Pape

We visited Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the end of September. The grape harvest season was in full swing, and the village was bustling with activity. Tractors drove with great speed through the village transporting the picked grapes from fields into caves, wine cellars, where they were first macerated, then pressed and maturated. The French like to say “September makes the vintage”.

It was a beautiful and warm late September day. We first took a leisurely walk to the Château ruins and the panorama. After that we explored the village to decide where to have lunch. We opted for a nice and relaxing lunch in the back garden of Le Pistou.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape bottle shape invented be Charles Brotte in 1952

After lunch we visited the wine museum and cave at Brotte Père Anselme. We first made a tour in
their museum which was a very informative audiovisual introduction to Côte du Rhône wines. After the tour it was time for wine tasting. We were especially interested in tasting some Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC wines around 10 € per bottle. They had wine from several villages such as Gigondas, Vacqueyras, Laudun and Cairanne. We first tasted Château de Bord Laudun 2012, and as a comparison a Châteauneuf-du-Pape blend in a traditional Brotte bottle and finally a good but expensive Châteauneuf-du-Pape vintage wine. Château de Borde Laudun was gentle and delightful, and as Brotte even had a promotion at the moment we opted for it.
In the wine museum of Brotte Père Anselme


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