is the largest, oldest, and most famous wine zone in the Côtes du Rhône. In the 14th century the papacy moved to Avignon, and Châteauneuf-du-Pape was chosen as the papal summer residence. The popes residing here—and John XII in particular—fostered wine production in the area and developed the vineyards. Production conditions are a constant throughout the history of winegrowing here, and they served as a model for certain rules in the modern appellation system, which recognized Châteauneuf-du-Pape with an AOC in 1936.
With 3,200 hectares (7,907 acres) of vineyards, Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the biggest appellation in the Rhône. Located between Orange and Avignon, the city of Châteauneuf-du-Pape overlooks its vineyards, which stretch out from the ruins of the old town fortifications and along the Sorgues River. For a long time the wine produced here was known only to a small group; it began to build wider renown in the 18th century and really arrived starting in the 1930s. Under the impetus provided by Baron Le Roy de Boiseaumarié this region became the first to establish very strict production regulations. The vineyards sit on the old bed of the Rhône River on a soil of clay, limestone, and sand covered by the famous galets roulés, stones that were smoothed and rounded by the river in the Quaternary Period, which store up heat from the sun during the day and radiate it back to the vines at night. The vineyards draw all their power and richness from this exceptional, windswept terroir. Everything here contributes to the greatness of the wines. The appellation permits the use of 13 different grape varieties, allowing winegrowers to work with each of their distinct personalities. These are long-aging wines that shut down after about a year in bottle and start to unfurl again about four or five years later.
Many great estates contribute to the stellar reputation of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, including Château de Beaucastel, Château Rayas, Château de La Gardine, Domaine Tardieu Laurent, Domaine de Beaurenard, E. Guigal, Le Clos du Caillou, Domaine de la Janasse, Clos des Papes, Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe, and Maison M. Chapoutier, to name just a few.
More informations on the website of the wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape