AOP Châteauneuf du Pape

Châteauneuf du Pape: a blessed land!

The first French AOC, created in 1936, but whose history dates back to the 14th century, is one of the most prestigious French appellations. From Pope Clement V to… Robert Parker, many are the apostles who valued this great terroir.

In my position as oenologist- wine creator, Châteauneuf du Pape gives me an extraordinary range of opportunities, because of its unique mosaic of terroirs and grape varieties that provide a framework conducive to creativity.

Alchemy of the Grands Terroirs
Following the narrow roads that cross through the vineyards you begin to understand the riches of Châteauneuf du Pape: round pebbles, sand, safre, Urgonian limestone… these are the facets and singularities that forge the character of the wines.

I’m often asked the question « Which is the best terroir in Châteauneuf du Pape? ». Some of these terroirs are mythical, and a straight answer isn’t easy. The vintage, and notably the climatic conditions, are important factors to consider when answering this question. In dry years, the clay-marl terroirs on the plateau limit the hydraulic stress. Whereas in wetter years, the sandy terroirs offer a better compromise.

What is certain is that the richness of the Châteauneuf du Pape terroirs counts for a lot in the complexity of the wines, and in the diversity of expressions that can be found in wines from different domains.

When I’m creating my wines, I can play with this diversity to obtain the right balance in my blends.

Exceptional amelographic heritage

Châteauneuf is known worldwide for its thirteen grape varieties. Its richness also comes from the incredible genetic heritage of the Châteauneuf vineyards. Favouring massal selection * of the vines, the winegrowers have continued to develop, over the centuries, an exceptional genetic heritage. Today, we can still find parcels of hundred-year-old vines, called « collection vines » grouping together these different grape varieties.

*the winegrower selects his grafts by cutting a cane from the best vines.

Papal bubble

If the history of the appellation is impressive, so are its regulations, especially those concerning the use of the grape varieties which allow the wine makers to fully express their identity, and even style. It is possible to create mono or multi-varietal wines, resulting in wines that range from 100% Grenache, to a blend of the thirteen grape varieties, via the classic GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre for those in the know)…

Over the years there has also been some development in the way wine is aged: small concrete tanks and sometimes amphorae are beginning to replace barrels and casks. The appellation naturally evolves towards the genuine expression of its most valuable resources: its terroirs and grape varieties.