The prestigious AOP Châteaneuf-du-Pape is located in the Southern Rhône Valley in France.
How many varieties in Châteauneuf-du-Pape?
Thirteen grape varieties are permitted in this AOP, but some of them are found in different colours (e.g. picpoul blanc and picpoul gris for picpoul). This brings the total of grape varieties allowed in reality at eighteen. Here is the list:
13 grape varieties: grenache, syrah, mourvèdre, cinsault, terret noir, counoise, muscardin, vaccarèse, picpoul, picardan, clairette, roussanne, bourboulenc
18 grape varieties, including colour variants: grenache noir, syrah, mourvèdre, cinsault, terret noir, counoise, muscardin, vaccarèse, picpoul noir (blacks) ; grenache blanc, grenache gris, picpoul blanc, picpoul gris, picardan, clairette blanche, clairette rosé, roussanne, bourboulenc (whites)
From there, you can find a diversity of possible options. Château de Beaucastel is famous for using the 13 varieties in its red wine, while Château Rayas produces a 100 % grenache cuvée.
In practise, the majority of wines are produced from a blend of the three emblematic black varieties: grenache noir, syrah and mourvèdre (GSM).
Close to the Mediterranean Sea, it has a warm mediterranean climate, with cooling and drying influence of the strong northerly mistral wind. It is famous for its free-draining pebble soils called "galets roulés", that reflect sunlight and provide additional warmth to the vines during the day, also accumulating warmth to radiate it at night.
Three training methods are allowed: gobelet (bush vine, head-trained and spur-pruned), cordon de royat (single cordon-trained and spur-pruned) and guyot training (head-trained and replacement cane-pruned). Some varieties are restricted to only gobelet training.
It is forbidden to irrigate vines, except during extreme drought episodes, with specific authorisations, and only for the purpose of improving quality and not quantity.
Maximum yield is 35 hl/ha, but in practise it is usually lower.
Minimum alcohol level required is 12.5 % ABV.
Both whites and reds can be produced, no rosés. However, reds make up the majority of the wine produced (90 %). It is allowed to blend red and white grape varieties before fermentation.
Have you ever visited Châteauneuf-du-Pape? There is a beautiful medieval village overlooking vineyards, making it a great place for wine tourism!