A little history :
Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine comes from the Rhône Valley wine region in southeastern France. The origin of this wine dates back to the ancient history of the region and is closely linked to the papacy and the history of wine in France. Here is an overview of the origin of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine:
- Papacy in Avignon: In the 14th century, the papacy was based in Avignon, a city located in the Rhône valley region. The popes played a key role in the development of local viticulture. Pope John XXII, in particular, showed a particular interest in wine and helped promote quality production in the region.
- Palace of the Popes: Pope John XXII built a new palace in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a small village located near Avignon. The popes encouraged the cultivation of vines and the production of wine in the region.
- Production rules: In 1929, Châteauneuf-du-Pape was the first French region to receive the appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC), thus establishing strict rules for the production of wine in the region. These rules define the authorized grape varieties, viticulture and winemaking practices, thus helping to guarantee the quality and authenticity of the wine.
- Authorized grape varieties: Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine is often a blend of several grape varieties, with Grenache predominating. Other permitted grape varieties include Mourvèdre, Syrah, Cinsault and several others.
- Unique terroir: The Châteauneuf-du-Pape terroir is characterized by rolled pebbles which absorb the heat of the sun during the day and release it at night. This contributes to the optimal ripening of the grapes.
What are the famous 13 grape varieties of Chateauneuf du Pape?
The rules of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation d'origine contrôlée (AOC) establish the authorized grape varieties. Here are the 13 grape varieties authorized in the production of Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine:
- Grenache: This is the dominant grape variety in the region, generally representing a significant portion of the blend. Grenache brings aromas of red fruits, warmth and roundness to the wines.
- Syrah: Syrah brings notes of black fruits, spices and structure to blends. Although not as predominant as Grenache, it plays an essential role in many Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines.
- Mourvèdre: This grape variety brings depth, complexity and tannins to the structure of the wine. It also contributes to the aging capacity of the wine.
- Cinsault: Cinsault adds freshness, aromas of red fruits and a certain suppleness to wines. It is generally used in smaller quantities.
- Counoise: This grape variety brings spicy characteristics, aromas of red fruits and contributes to the aromatic complexity of the blends.
- Vaccarèse (or Vaccarèze) Terret: This grape variety is used in small quantities in certain blends, often providing spicy notes and structure.
- Muscardin, Picardan, Clairette, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, Picpoul: These white grape varieties are authorized in the production of white wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The region's white wines are less common than reds but offer complex aromas, lively acidity and a pleasant texture.
The specific use of each grape variety can vary from one producer to another, which allows for a great diversity of styles within the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. The key often lies in the subtle art of blending, where each grape variety contributes to the wine's distinctive personality. Nowadays they are mainly blends of the three main grape varieties: Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre.
But what should you pair a Châteauneuf du Pape with?
Its rich aromas of red and black fruits, spices and hints of garrigue make it a versatile wine that can accompany a variety of dishes. Here are some recommended food and wine pairings for a Châteauneuf-du-Pape:
- Roasted or grilled red meats:
- A well-structured Châteauneuf-du-Pape will go perfectly with red meats such as roast beef, grilled lamb or game.
- Lamb chops with Provence herbs:
- The aromas of Provence herbs present in Châteauneuf-du-Pape will harmonize well with lamb chops with Provence herbs.
- Provençal stew:
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape goes well with regional dishes like Provençal stew, a meat stew simmered with herbs, tomatoes and wine.
- Mediterranean cuisine:
- Mediterranean dishes, such as grilled lamb, moussakas, or dishes based on Mediterranean herbs, can be good combinations.
- Aged cheeses:
- Opt for hard cheeses like Comté, Parmesan or aged cheddar. Goat cheeses can also go well with white Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
- Roast or confit duck:
- Châteauneuf-du-Pape can deliciously accompany duck, whether roasted, confit or prepared in other forms.
- Cassoulet :
- Cassoulet, a traditional dish from southwest France made with beans, sausages and confit meat, can be a great pairing with a Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
- Spicy dishes:
- Rich and spicy Châteauneuf-du-Pape can cope with spicier dishes, like mild curries or spicy Mediterranean dishes.
It's up to you to find the best associations.
Happy Holidays to all…