The strategically placed city of Avignon is encircled by ramparts that guard a warren of cobbled streets, lantern-lit passageways and marvels of medieval architecture bathed in beautiful Provencal light.
The city is renowned as being the place where the popes fled when leaving the corruption of Rome in the 14th century before building ‘Le Palais des Papes’, which remains the world’s largest Gothic edifice. Avignon also falls within the Cotes du Rhone wine region – the second largest wine growing area in France with a reputation enhanced by one of the most recognisable names in French wine-making. The city’s close proximity to the world renowned Chateauneuf-du-Pape AOC, which can be reached in 20 minutes, has made Avignon wine tours a popular pastime for visitors to the Rhone Valley.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape is peerless in its production of world class red wines, which account for 90% of the appellation’s entire vineyards – with an excellent white wine making up the remainder since no rose styles are made here. Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and the surrounding villages of Bedarrides, Courthezon and Sorgues, are unsurprisingly prime destinations for Avignon wine tours – with more wine made in this one area of southern Rhone than in the entire northern section.
At Wine Paths, our local expert can organise exclusive Avignon wine tours to Chateauneuf-du-Pape vineyards, including elaborate tastings, luxury stays, fine dining experiences and some unique opportunities. Our private Avignon wine tours can be tailor-made to your own specifications, ensuring every detail is taken care of so that you can relax and enjoy the matter at hand – sampling some of the world’s finest red wines. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is underscored by full-bodied red wines redolent of the heat and herbs of the south, which have been promoted by the popes since they arrived in this area many centuries ago. The wine’s special properties and colour are a consequence of up to 13 different grape varieties being used in its production – primarily Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah.
The unique stony terroir also contributes to the wine’s distinctive style – the large rounded stones preserve heat from the Provencal sunshine during the day before slowly releasing it after night falls. During typical Avignon wine tours, you will be taken to several leading vineyards around Chateauneuf-du-Pape accompanied by a professional guide to explain the region’s characteristics and the wine making process before sampling a range of premium vintages – often paired with local produce such as cheeses.
Chateauneuf-du-Pape, which translates as ‘The Pope’s New Crib’, is undeniably the most renowned red wine from the Cotes du Rhone and is so remarkably consistent that the wines from here are supposedly used as a blueprint for other Rhone Valley regions to follow. The village itself, which is crammed with so-called wine ‘caves’ where local makers welcome guests for tastings, is also worth a visit to wander during an Avignon wine tour for its quaint medieval lanes and picturesque squares with tumbling flowers.
Among the sights to see are the 12th century Romanesque church Notre Dame de l’Assomption, the chapels of Saint Pierre de Luxembourg and Saint Theodric, and the castle ruins. Only a couple of walls and a tower remain, but the views stretching over vineyards and the Rhone river from the top of the valley are stunning.
If you're interested in one of our Rhône Valley Wine Tours, please visit this link.
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