The Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation is located in the southern Rhône valley, between Orange and Avignon.
It's famous for its powerful, full-bodied red wine, made largely from the classic southern Rhône trio of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Châteauneuf-du-Pape is also distinguished by the use of 13 grape varieties typical of the region, reflecting the richness and diversity of its vineyards. The appellation's specific soils - pebbles, gravel and sand - also contribute to the uniqueness of the wines produced here.
Today, some of the best-known producers in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation include: Château de Beaucastel, Henri Bonneau, M. Chapoutier, Clos des Papes, Domaine de la Janasse, Domaine de La Mordorée, La Nerthe, Rayas, Roger Sabon, Domaine du Vieux Télégraph.
>> See our article "The Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, an exceptional terroir".
The Châteauneuf du Pape appellation is famous for its powerful, full-bodied red wine, made largely from the classic southern Rhône trio of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre.
The Châteauneuf du Pape appellation takes its name from the time when Avignon was the seat of the Pope's court in the 14th century. However, it wasn't until the 1920s that wine from this region became prestigious. Baron Le Roy, owner of Château Fortia, established quality-oriented conditions for wine production, which eventually gave rise to the French appellation system. In 1929, the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation was officially recognized, becoming one of the first French appellations and remaining one of the most prestigious. Initially, thirteen grape varieties were authorized, but this number was increased to eighteen following a review in 2009.
The soils of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation, located in the southern half of the Rhône Valley, are characterized by their stony, sandy composition, typical of the region. These soils were formed from ancient riverbeds, as the town and its vineyards lie to the east of the Rhône.
The vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are famous for their large pebbles, also known as "galets roulés". These stones play an essential role in preventing the evaporation of water from the surface of the soil and reflecting sunlight onto the leaves of the vines.
Despite its Mediterranean climate, the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation is technically the driest in the entire Rhône Valley. This makes the strict ban on irrigation or watering during the growing season all the more significant. In extreme conditions, wineries must obtain special authorization from the French government to water their vines.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is distinguished by its tradition of creating wines from thirteen different grape varieties, each bringing their own unique characteristics in terms of color, structure, fragrance, freshness and longevity. These include Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault... Grenache, of Iberian origin, predominates in most wines, conferring structure, power and ageing capacity. It is often combined with mourvèdre, syrah and cinsault to create balanced wines.
The Châteauneuf-du-Pape bottle, created in 1937, plays an essential role in the promotion and renown of the appellation's wines. It also represents a collective brand. The crest on the bottle symbolizes a papal tiara surmounting the keys of Saint-Pierre, with the inscription "Châteauneuf-du-Pape contrôlé" in Gothic letters surrounding this emblem. This emblematic bottle is widely recognized, helping to promote the appellation's wines and attesting to their authenticity. In legal terms, the emblazoned bottle enjoys collective trademark status and is protected by intellectual property rights.
Today's top producers in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation include: Château de Beaucastel, Henri Bonneau, M. Chapoutier, Clos des Papes, Domaine de la Janasse, Domaine de La Mordorée, La Nerthe, Rayas, Roger Sabon, Domaine du Vieux Télégraph.
The best vintages of the Châteauneuf du Pape appellation are: 1929, 1943, 1945, 1947, 1961, 1978, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2011.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape red wines are often paired with red meat dishes, such as beef stew, steak au poivre, jugged hare, venison jig and veal chop with chanterelle mushrooms. They also go well with mushroom risotto, shellfish, grilled salmon and cod brandade.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape white wines go perfectly with fish and seafood dishes, such as grilled shellfish or salmon dishes. They can also accompany poultry dishes such as roast chicken or turkey escalopes. Their freshness and elegance are particularly enhanced in these pairings.