Chateauneuf du Pape, France….with Paula Gilhooley

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Chateauneuf du Paps got its name from the involvement of the Avinon Papacy’s in the vineyards of Chareauneuf which led to its adoption of the name Chateauneuf du Paps
in the 18th century.

img_0961A ruined castle sits at the top of the village and dominates the landscape the south.  It was built in the 14th century for Pope John XXII, the second of the popes who resided in Avignon.  Pope John XXII also initiated several other building projects including the extension of the Palas des Pipes in Avignon as well as defensive castles at Barbentain, Bedarries, Noves and Sorgues.

The commune is famous for its production if red wine and almost all of the cultivable land is planted with grapevines.  In 1866 the vines were destroyed by phylloxera and not replanted until 1923.  Today there are300 vineyards and wine bottled in this area display their papal origins with a tiara and the crossed eye of St Peter pressed into the glass.

From the Papal Fortress there is a wonderful view of the Rhone Valley.  The town itself is very attractive with shops, cafes and restaurants.  The earliest settlement was near the Chapel Saint Theordoric to the east of the center of the present villagimg_0977e.  This Romanesque chapel was built by the monks from the Abbey Saint Theodoric in Avignon.

Thirteen different grape varieties are allowed to be panted in the appellation and used in blending if Chateauneuf du Paps, but the majority must be predominantly Grenache grapes (80%).  Machine harvesting is not allowed and all growers must harvest 100% of their fruit by hand.  Vines are allowed to be irrigated no more than twice a year and is only allowed during extreme drought.  All watering must be done by August 15.  Chateauneuf du Paps must be 12.5% alcohol.  The red wines of Chateauneuf du Paps can be drunk young the majority do not need to be aged.  The entire area is about 8.5 miles long and about 5 miles wide.  There are about 13,750,000bottles produced a year.

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