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Facts about wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Southern Rhone, France

July 20, 2011

Philippines Wine Shop Clark Wine Center is pleased to share with you articles, news and information about wine, wine events, wine tasting and other topics related to wine and the appreciation of wine.

Chateauneuf-du-Pape is an historic town of the southern Rhone valley in France. Famous for its rich, full-bodied, spicy red wines, it also produces a small amount of weighty, flavorful white wine. The name means New Castle of the Pope and refers to the fact that the town, just north of Avignon, was chosen as the new home for the Pope’s court in the early 14th century. The Pope in question (Pope Clement V) also gave his name to the ancient, and equally prestigious, Chateau Pape Clement in the Graves district of Bordeaux.

The history and prestige of the Chateauneuf-du-Pape wine appellation is much less ancient (although of equal historic significance) than that of the town, going back less than one hundred years. For many centuries the wines were grouped with other wines from around Avignon, until the 1920′s when a particularly quality-focused wine producer, Baron Le Roy, created a set of rules by which Chateauneuf-du-Pape’s wines must be made. These rules were a precursor of what is now the widely imitated French appellation system, and eventually made Chateauneuf-du-Pape one of France’s first official wine appellations, on 28th June 1929. Chateauneuf-du-Pape stands out among the appellations of France for the unusually long list of grape varieties permitted for use in its winemaking. There are 13 sanctioned varieties in total, in stark contrast to the northern Rhone appellation of Hermitage, which allows only three.

Grenache is the king of these grapes, and arguably produces better wines here than it does in any other part of France. Syrah and Mourvedre, the two other principal southern Rhone grapes are the next most important red varieties, the first growing most successfully in the cooler spots of the hot Chateauneuf-du-Pape terroir, the second flourishing only in the hotter, drier spots. Counoise is one of the few lesser-known varieties to be grown here in any measure, but is still used by only a small number of producers. Carignan, Cinsaut, Muscardin, Vaccarese, Picpoul Noir, Terret Noir are the remaining red wine varieties, and are planted only in a few Chateauneuf-du-Pape vineyards. Bourboulenc, Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Roussanne are the three rustic white grapes which are used in the production of Chateauneuf-du-Pape white wines, and are used in a wide variety of ratios to produce tangy, weighty wines with deeply perfumed floral aromas.

The soils of Chateauneuf-du-Pape are pebbly and sandy, as is common in the southern area of the Rhone. They are formed mostly of ancient riverbeds of various ages – the town and its vineyards are located just to the east of the Rhone river.

The climate here is Mediterranean, and very dry (Chateauneuf-du-Pape is technically the driest of all Rhone appellations), which makes it all the more significant that arrosage (irrigation or watering) is strictly forbidden during the growing season. In extreme cases, viticulturalists must apply for special permission from the French government to water their vines.


Clark Wine Center was built in 2003 by Hong Kong-based Yats International Leisure Philippines to become the largest wine shop in Philippines supplying Asia’s wine lovers with fine vintage wines at attractive prices. Today, this wine shop in Clark Philippines offers over 2000 selections of fine wines from all major wine regions in the world. As a leading wine supplier in Philippines, Pampanga’s Clark Wine Center offers an incomparable breadth of vintages, wines from back vintages spanning over 50 years. Clark Wine Center is located in Pampanga Clark Freeport Zone adjacent to Angeles City, just 25 minutes from Subic and 45 minutes from Manila.

Wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone, Loire, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Alsace, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, South Africa, Chile and Argentina etc. are well represented in this Clark Wine Shop.

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