Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine region – exclusive tours of the finest vineyards in the Cotes du Rhone

The Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine region is undeniably the most recognisable appellation in the Rhone Valley of France, the second largest producer in the country known as the spiritual home of France.

The Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine region is undeniably the most recognisable appellation in the Rhone Valley of France, the second largest producer in the country known as the spiritual home of France.

As part of the Cotes du Rhone wine region situated between Avignon and Orange, the historic mediaval village of Chateauneuf-du-Pape is clustered at the foot of a ruined castle that was once a 14th century Papal residence.

The name literally translates as ‘The Pope’s New Crib’, and its history is littered with several former Popes – including Pope John XXII who ordered the construction of the castle and bestowed the wine with the prestigious title ‘Vin du Pape’.

Despite resting in the south, apart from the far more illustrious northern region of the Rhone Valley, Chateauneuf-du-Pape and its neighbouring small villages arguably produce the Cote du Rhone’s finest red wines, which are apparently used as a blueprint for others to aspire to.

While there are traditionally 13 grape varieties approved in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine region, it is the powerful, full-bodied red wines made predominantly from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre that have brought international acclaim.

Grenache is virtually omnipresent in the Cotes du Rhone and is used in every Chateauneuf-du-Pape red wine to some extent, contributing to the juicy, red-fruit flavours and high alcohol content (wines must contain at least 12.5%). Syrah is often blended to add colour and spice, while Mourvedre brings structure and elegance.

The vineyards also produce white wines (between 5-7% of total production), primarily using rustic southern varieties – Grenache Blanc, Roussane, Clairette and Bourboulenc – that create zesty and intensely perfumed wines.

Another characteristic of the wines produced in the Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine region is that they can be enjoyed on release without need for ageing, although some do fare well with time. And, they can be paired incredibly well with food; red wines can accompany beef, pork, game, duck, lamb, sausage, veal and Asian dishes; white wines are better suited to fish, seafood and even sushi; and both complement hard and soft cheeses.

The official Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation title was created in 1936 as one of the country's very first granted and France’s highest classification, which remains one of the most prestigious to this day – while more wine is produced here than in the entire northern region of the Rhone Valley.

It is little surprise that the Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine region attracts wine and food tourists from all over the world. However, with so many unique wineries to choose from it can be overwhelming to decide on a particular wine route to explore during a visit to France.

At Wine Paths, our close relationships with leading wine travel agencies and the country’s most revered wineries allow us to design bespoke trips to meet your exact needs. Our local experts can organise a range of exclusive tours, luxury stays and incredible gourmet cuisine experiences.

These include a private tour  of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine region where an expert guide will share the history of local wines and wine tasting techniques while exploring three or four vineyards of the celebrated region.

As well as tasting some world class wines, there is an opportunity to visit the houses where they are stored and produced and have any wine-related questions answered before being returned to your accommodation in luxury transportation.

 

Visit our France destination page for more inspiration and start planning a tour of the famed Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine region.

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