It’s not about the food in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The wine rules. Granted, we’re early into the trip, but so far, the food is nothing to write home about. So, let’s talk wine.
These wines are big and adventurous—a bit unruly and that can be a good thing. Dark cherry, blueberries, juniper and licorice – earthy with lots of layers of flavor. They’re a nice departure from our usual pinot noirs and cabernets back home. Perhaps Chateauneuf-du-Pape is the ‘wild child’ of French vino.
One of our fav finds here is the Chateau La Nerthe. The estate dates back to the 1500’s….the massive limestone vat once used to age the wine is also from the 16th century.
I’m amazed at the giant juniper trees that are scattered throughout the region– if only they could talk. Centuries old…what stories they could tell!
The soil is nothing like you’ll see in our wine regions back home. Here it’s clay and sandy and covered with lots of stones, big ones, which help keep the vines warm throughout the delightfully cool nights.
I’ve always liked Chateauneuf-du-Papes but have never really spent a lot of time tasting a lot of them. The white wines in Chateauneuf-du-Pape (very small production) are worthy of your time, but it’s the reds that will command your attention. We latched onto the Chateau La Nerthe Cuvée de Cadettes…an ’05 vintage. The nose aroused my curiosity – roses, violets and dark fruit leapt right out of the glass. The taste sealed the deal – 4 bottles actually!
We tasted a number of other wines today, and our second fav was the Vieux Telegraph – easy to find at home, but less expensive here, even with the Euro exchange. Unlike Napa, vineyards in Chateauneuf-du-Pape don’t charge to taste their wines, so it’s easy to compare and hone in on what you like.
The biggest stress so far – we only brought two boxes to ship wine home in. Which wines will be worthy?? Thankfully, we brought a corkscrew!