Avignon is renowned as being the place where the popes fled when leaving the corruption of Rome in the 14th century and the city consequently attracts cultural enthusiasts, but its proximity to the most renowned wine appellation in the Rhone Valley brings wine lovers.
The Chateauneuf-du-Pape AOC is recognised around the world for producing world class red wines redolent of the heat and herbs of Provence in the south of France, making Avignon wine tasting tours popular among visitors to the region. From Avignon, it takes only 20 minutes to reach Chateauneuf-du-Pape and the surrounding villages of Bedarrides, Courthezon and Sorgues – where more wine is made than the entire northern section of the Rhone Valley wine region.
At Wine Paths, our local expert can organise exclusive Avignon wine tasting tours to Chateauneuf-du-Pape vineyards, which can include elaborate tastings, luxury stays, fine dining experiences and some unique opportunities.
Our private Avignon wine tasting 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 wines. 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 appellation is peerless in its production of internationally renowned 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.
The complexity of the full-bodied reds, which have been promoted by the popes since they arrived in this area many centuries ago, comes from 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 tasting tour, 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.
The town of Avignon itself is worth a visit if only to see the Les Palais des Popes, which was built by the escaping pontiffs all those centuries ago. Most of the statues and frescoes inside were destroyed during the French revolution, but the imposing building remains the world’s largest Gothic building.
Another sight of interest when not enjoying Avignon wine tastings is Le Pont Saint-Benezet, a ruined bridge from Middle Ages that legend claims was built by a shepherd inspired by angels. When the town folk would not listen to his appeals, the shepherd, Benezet picked up a vast stone and hurled it into the river to form the foundation – with his act of divine strength convincing the people to build the bridge.
Avignon also boasts an impressive food market at Les Halles d’Avignon where you can find local produce including olive oil, tapenade, local wines, cheeses, and pastries – while a flea market at Place des Carmes every Sunday is fun way to while away the hours.
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