Châteauneuf du Pape – the “Pope’s wine”

Châteauneuf du Pape - the "Pope's wine"

I often find myself being questioned by friends about wines Châteauneuf du Pape. The questions range from “Is he really good, or is he just a name?”; “What does the Pope have to do with this wine?”; “What region is this wine from?”; and the most common: “What is the grape made of?”… So how about “starting at the beginning”? lol
The expression “Châteauneuf du Pape ” it is French, and means “The Pope’s New Castle”, or “The Pope’s New Fort” and its origin is related to the arrival of the Popes in the city of Avignon, in the south of France at the beginning of the 14th century. Between the years 1315 and 1333, Pope John XXII, the second Pope elected in Avignon, ordered the construction of a castle to the north of the city to be used exclusively as a summer home for the Popes. The castle was built in a strategic region, far enough from the headquarters of the papacy, guaranteeing its rest, however, close enough to maintain communication with the headquarters. On its rocky terrain, vines were planted for the production of drinking wine from the castle, and thus the story of “vin du Pape”Or“ Pope’s wine ”. Unfortunately, today there are only ruins of the castle, however, the destination of the wines produced there was just the opposite!
Chateauneuf du pape 1
The Châteauneuf region is considered to be the heart of the southern Rhone, and has fertile and flat terrain on which more “serious” and highly alcoholic wines are produced (these are the wines with the highest minimum alcohol content of all French wines – 12, 5%). Per year, they are produced around 10 million liters of these very juicy and spicy wines, the grapes are harvested manually. Most (95%) wines are red, and are usually composed of the Grenache grape, whose increase in proportion adds a light color to them, and allows their consumption to take place in one or two years after being bottled.
However, the wines produced in the Bordeaux Châteaux area are darker and deeper, and support a longer shelf life (15 to 20 years) and are made with different (and particular) cocktails made up of 13 grape varieties responsible for the differences between the wines , some being more spicy, others more tannic or softer. In general, the “classic grape” and the highest concentration of Châteauneuf is the Grenache, which can be accompanied by Mourvèdre and Shyrah, a little Cinsault, Counoise (typical of the region), Vaccarèse, Picpoul Noir, Terret Noir, and the white Grenache Blanc, clairette, Bourboulenec, Roussanne (more common in wines from region of the southern Rhône that of the northern Rhône) and to Picardan. (Aff how much name! This sequence of varieties I took from the book “World Atlas of Wine” by Johnson and Robinson).
Chateauneuf du pape 2
Most are good wines, with a wide range of aromas and flavors, with rich, opulent and sumptuous texture. However, one of the things I like most about these wines (besides the experience of tasting them … lol) is the fact that they are one of the easiest to harmonize with gastronomy. Both whites and reds are very flexible, and can be enjoyed with birds and fish in general! In the post photos, our dear columnist Fernanda Flaiban was delighted with a Châteauneuf du Pape accompanying a lobster ravioli and cream cheese with parmesan. She kindly donated the photos to me (and of course, she made my mouth water !!!)!
Santé!

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