The wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape (CDP) vary from full-bodied reds to rich and mouth filling whites and even some light–hearted Rosés. The CDP AOC is the largest single AOC in the southern Rhone valley in France. Bordered to the North by the northern Rhone Valley (CDP is equal in size to the total vineyard area in the northern Rhone); to the east is Gigondas and Vacqueryas; to the South is Provence and to the west, the Languedoc.
Although Châteauneuf du Pape is producing white wines, it’s best known for high quality full-bodied red wines. The white wines are made from a blend of a number of white grapes that are native to the Southern Rhone valley. White CDP stands out from the other white wines of the region for their age ability and high quality.
Châteauneuf du Pape Wine Grape Varieties
The red wines are like the white wines blends of which the Grenache grape is usually the highest proportion, followed by lesser amounts of Syrah and Mourvedre. Grenache is a relatively thin-skinned grape contributing soft tannins, red fruit and alcohol which is given depth and backbone from the thicker skinned Syrah with flavors of blackberry, cassis and pepper to which Mourvedre adds savory and gamey flavors and textures.
Interestingly there are up to a total of thirteen different grape varieties that are permitted in the CDP blend including, Cinsault, Terret Noir, Vaccarèse, Muscardin as well as some of the native white varietals that help to explain the incredible complexity and diversity of CDP.
What makes these wines stand out? –“C’est le terroir.” A combination of natural factors, wind and sun together with centuries of wine making tradition make these wines the most highly sought after, richest and complex wines not only of the region not only France but of the entire world.
Originally posted on Sommelier Q&A