Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a historic village within the Provence area of southern France that’s well-known world wide for its wines. The village, a half-hour drive north of Avignon, is totally worthwhile to discover. Surrounded by vineyards for so far as the attention can see, the hillside village is a mesh of picturesque lanes, topped by the ruins of a medieval fortress. Over a thousand years in the past, monks who settled on this space began to domesticate vines, a convention which was continued by the Popes of Avignon within the 14th century. Most guests as of late come on day journeys to go to one of many many wineries for a wine-tasting. Nevertheless, there are quite a few issues to do in Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Begin your tour with a pleasing stroll across the village.
The origins of the title
“The place are the 9 chateaux of the Popes?”. Our information turned to the girl who requested the query with a puzzled look. “Ha! that’s query”, I believed. The information didn’t appear to know the query so the girl elaborated, “Châteauneuf? 9 châteaux?”. Our information understood it this time and smiled. As we continued our tour of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, our information defined the origins of the title. The village can hint its roots again to the eleventh century when it was referred to as by its Latin title, Castro Novo or Castrum Novum. On the time, the time period castro or castrum meant a fortified village versus fortress, the later definition.
In French, the village got here to be generally known as Châteauneuf Calcernier; Châteauneuf was a reference to the early-Latin title and Calcenier, to the limestone within the village. Within the 14th century, the Popes of Avignon constructed a fortress atop the hill and spent their summers there. The village quickly grew to become generally known as Châteauneuf-du-Pape, in reference to the Popes. Briefly, there’s no such factor because the ‘9 châteaux of the Popes’!
A stroll round Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Châteauneuf-du-Pape (map) lies about 18 kilometers north of Avignon, making it a straightforward day journey in the event you’re within the space. My go to to Châteauneuf-du-Pape was a day tour from the Avalon Rhône River cruise after we docked in Avignon. As we approached the village, I instantly observed the various wineries and vineyards, and the fortress ruins on the hill.
Among the best issues to do in Châteauneuf-du-Pape is clearly a wine-tasting, and there are numerous locations to do that. Earlier than you do, I recommend exploring the village and visiting one of many varied wine shops.
Begin your stroll at Rue de la Republique and proceed uphill in the direction of the fortress. It’s a beautiful stroll previous quaint homes with their blue doorways and window shutters. One focal point is the Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Church.
You’ll go quite a few wine shops or ‘caves‘ the place you may have interaction in a wine-tasting with locals. The wine-tasting is free (Degustation Gratuite) in most caves whereas some ask for a small charge, which incorporates an introduction and small bites. I like to recommend Les Caves Saint Charles (advance reserving required) situated additional up the highway from the Notre-Dame church.
The fortress was constructed within the 14th century for Pope John XXII, who used it as a summer season residence. When the Popes left Avignon, the fortress was deserted, and later partially destroyed throughout WWII. The fortress ruins are nonetheless a formidable sight and the views of the Rhône valley are merely breathtaking.
Go to a vineyard
From the fortress, return to the village on a unique route by way of the maze of alleys. After your stroll, you may select to go to the Musée du Vin (Wine Museum) and/or go to one of many many wineries for a wine-tasting. I visited the grand Bouachon vineyard, which supplied a enjoyable and insightful wine-tasting.
Different wineries within the village to go to embody Domaine Bois de Boursan, Château Fortia and Domaine de Beaurenard. Ask for suggestions on the native vacationer workplace (map). As well as, simply outdoors the village, Chocolaterie Castelain presents scrumptious chocolate and wine-tastings.
The wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape
The wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are well-known the world over, and rightfully so. The wine categorised as Châteauneuf-du-Pape Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) is produced from grapes grown in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and components of 4 neighbouring communes. The manufacturing of the wines is strictly managed and will encompass a mix of 13 grape varieties, although the dominant number of the mix should be grenache.
The AOC rules state, amongst others, that the wines must be produced organically. The pebbly terroir (or galets roulés) retains the vines heat throughout chilly nights and helps to ripen the grapes sooner.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape wines are fruity, fragrant and full-bodied. Although many of the wines produced are crimson, there are additionally white varieties, and not too long ago, some rosé. I left Châteauneuf-du-Pape with a field stuffed with crimson wines. The wines aren’t low cost however they certain make for a wonderful memento!